On my retreat this weekend I had a sort of mini revelation. I just wrote down on a piece of paper: 'Lex Christi est Persona Christi' (probably incorrect Latin) - The Law of Christ is the Person of Christ. After I made a few minor errors during Confession I felt like I had 'done it wrong' and then fears began coming up of Baptismal invalidity, etc. I then remembered St. Ignatius' important warning to discern between the voice of God and the lies of the Devil - Indeed, it's the Scriptural admonition to 'test the spirits'. I was reminded of the theology of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI where he constantly reminds us that the Truth is not a theory or a system, but a person. I remembered that the whole purpose of the sacrament of confession is the God-given grace of contrition - sorrow for one's sins. This isn't something I can conjure up on my own, it's not something that exists in words and formula. It is God's work and my cooperation in the soul. It is a matter of the theology of the heart. I remembered that I was repenting to Christ, not performing a ritual, and that it was as St. Augustine said "heart speaketh unto heart". As ridiculous as it sounds, I need to be reminded daily that God is a person, that Jesus is a friend to me. When I understand that, it becomes so simple, one's reason is amazed at the gap bridged between the unknowable divine essence, and a friend. It reminds me of the whole purpose of the sacrament and the priesthood. To make an invisible reality a visible sign. The most powerful image I remember when I think of this is the embrace between Robert Deniro and Jeremy Irons in "The Mission", when Robert Deniro has finally made peace with God and himself.
Anyway, all of this connected to a quote I found this morning from Papa Benny, so I thought I'd post it:
"Dear young people, the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist. Only he gives the fullness of life to humanity! With Mary, say your own “yes” to God, for he wishes to give himself to you." - Pope Benedict XVI