sexta-feira, 14 de outubro de 2011

Um testemunho sobre a Confissão - in English :-)

Gente do Céu,
como fruto da minha experiência no retiro de Yom Kippur eu escrevi um testemunho-artigo que acabou sendo publicado ontem no site da Pastoral Hebraica (
que cuida dos judeus católicos de Israel.
Está em inglês mas espero que o Google translator de uma ajudinha para quem precisa.
E vamos em frente desejando a cada passo a vontade de Deus que é sempre amor, ofertando a nossa vida ao mais amoroso Pai e Senhor que poderíamos ter.
Que graça extraordinária pertencer a Jesus sendo Igreja Católica, como Shalom!
Lembremos de rezar pelos cristãos e católicos que sofrem e são perseguidos, ofereçamos nosso amor, intercessão e pequenos sofrimentos por eles. No Egito há muita dor e nos lembremos que o tão querido amigo e irmão da Comunidade Shalom, Frei Patrício Schiadini, OCD, está vivendo no Cairo e é superior dos carmelitas neste país.
 Ele está bem - recebi um email há pouco - mas seguramente precisa da nossa intercessão pois há muita tensão e a violência contra os católicos do rito copta tem sido enorme.
Basta lembrar o que aconteceu no domingo passado. 
Se viver para o Frei Patrício é Jesus, morrer por Jesus seria lucro, como mas como bom filho de Teresa e de João da Cruz, ele não escolhe: Frei Patrício só quer o que Jesus quer. Que nós aprendamos com ele, sem muita enrolação e desculpas pois o amor de Deus nos espera!

A witness about the sacrament of confession

Thursday, 13 October 2011 22:09

Elena from the Haifa kehilla and a member of the Shalom Community sent us her reflections on the sacrament of confession.

I read with great interest the articles presented on the Vicariate website on Yom Kippur and Christianity and I read even with more interest the subsequent replies and comments made by Fr. David and Fr. Nicola about it. Being a Catholic believer myself I could not miss the opportunity to go a step further in this sharing of point of views and witness the tremendous gift that the sacrament of confession or penitence has been in my life.

Honestly speaking, it is not an easy step to go to confession as one has to decide to be in front of another human being, just like oneself, and admit failures, pain and weaknesses openly. It is very hard for anyone to open up and show his vulnerability as a human being in front of another human being unless one is convinced that this move will bring forgiveness, healing, freedom, hope and peace, not only on the human, psychological level, which can also be achieved in other situations, but to receive this from God Himself, as supernatural gifts.

The sacrament of confession starts before meeting the priest, as one experiences repentance and the desire to turn back, to get closer to God. This move happens inside as enlightenment between God and the person who is touched by God’s personal love. This love is the only reality that can make someone anew from within.

Personally speaking, and reflecting on the hundreds of people I know that go to confession regularly, the experience of the sacrament is closer to what we read in the Gospel of Saint Luke chapter 15, and has nothing to do with judgment, guilt or punishment. Going to confession is a living experience, a salvific event and not a torture, a humiliation or something that causes shame or more hurt. Going to confession is an event that redeems the sinner who is again totally immersed in the new life of Christ, received in baptism, and is able to grow in love and holiness, in union of love with His Lord and the ones who surround him. At least this has been my experience and the experience I see around me.

Coincidently, I had the grace to go to confession on the eve of Yom Kippur and for the first time in my life I was more aware of the importance of this feast for the Jews and what it represented, spiritually speaking. I was bathed in God’s love and wanted very sincerely to live this love and this freedom He offers me over and over in Christ Jesus. I had the experience of being embraced and loved even before ending the confession of my sins, all the shame and the pain of allowing other peoples’ sins into my heart and life… Just like the prodigal son, this prodigal daughter had tears of gratitude very quickly together with the tears of repentance. It was indeed an experience that matched the name of the day: forgiveness.

I have to add that the silent but attentive attitude of the priest that was listening to me this last time, (and it has been always like this), came to my aid in the need for a concrete presence, a voice, a listening heart, orientation. How many times in the context of a confession a priest has given me a word of wisdom that reverses the perspective of a situation, or has helped me to trust and hope in God and in myself again and again ‘because His love endures forever’? How many times I was ashamed of my weakness and the priest was as a living sign of Jesus Christ Himself. How many times my desire for conversion and repentance, my desire to live coherently and radically the Gospel also helped a priest to renew his vocation as priest?

The priests usually are very merciful, it is good to clarify and witness this to all who are not Catholic, and when they give absolution they do that in the Name of God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and in the name of the Church! This amazes me and is truly awesome: the dimension of sin is not only individual and private. Although free and responsible for what I do, the sins I commit hurt the whole Body of Christ, the Church, so I have to confess them to someone who represents the Church in the Name of God and who has authority to forgive me! Every time we live the sacrament of penitence the whole Church is also healed!
I remember that this last time I went to confession I had one question in my mind that the priest helped me to understand was a rhetoric question that would lead me nowhere. The question was: do we have to sin in order to know God the Father as described in the Parable of Luke 15? But thanks be to God I was helped to understand with my whole being that the true question is: how come that being sinners the way we are the Father loves so much? Only repented sinners know the answer, receive the hug and the kisses, accept the new dignity of children and learn how to turn over the page of slavery. Only loved and forgiven children of God experience that in the shade of the Cross – our Tent as Father David explains – there is joy, everlasting joy.

May the Spirit of God attract us to the sacrament of reconciliation more and more. May He attract all: priests, bishops, religious, sisters, monks, fathers and mothers, young and old, lay people, teens, the ones who are far away from home and the ones who live close by. What matters is the Father who is always waiting for us!

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