Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  361 / 904 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 361 / 904 Next Page
Page Background

The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

361

1435

Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconcil-

iation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right,

33

by the admission of faults to one’s brethren, fraternal correction, revision

of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffer-

ing, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up

one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.

34

1436

Eucharist and Penance.

Daily conversion and penance find their

source and nourishment in the Eucharist, for in it is made present the

sacrifice of Christ which has reconciled us with God. Through the Eucha-

rist those who live from the life of Christ are fed and strengthened. “It is a

remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal

sins.”

35

1437

Reading Sacred Scripture, praying the Liturgy of the Hours and

the Our Father—every sincere act of worship or devotion revives the spirit

of conversion and repentance within us and contributes to the forgiveness

of our sins.

1438

The seasons and days of penance

in the course of the liturgical year

(Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense

moments of the Church’s penitential practice.

36

These times are particu-

larly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages

as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving,

and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

1439

The process of conversion and repentance

was described by Jesus in

the parable of the prodigal son, the center of which is the merciful father:

37

the fascination of illusory freedom, the abandonment of the father’s house;

the extreme misery in which the son finds himself after squandering his

fortune; his deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed swine, and

still worse, at wanting to feed on the husks the pigs ate; his reflection on

all he has lost; his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before

his father; the journey back; the father’s generous welcome; the father’s joy​

—all these are characteristic of the process of conversion. The beautiful

robe, the ring, and the festive banquet are symbols of that new life—pure,

worthy, and joyful—of anyone who returns to God and to the bosom of his

family, which is the Church. Only the heart of Christ who knows the

depths of his Father’s love could reveal to us the abyss of his mercy in so

simple and beautiful a way.

VI.

T

he

S

acrament of

P

enance and

R

econciliation

1440

Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of

communion with him. At the same time it damages communion

with the Church. For this reason conversion entails both God’s

33 Cf.

Am

5:24;

Isa

1:17.

34 Cf.

Lk

9:23.

35 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1638.

36 Cf.

SC

109-110; CIC, cann. 1249-1253; CCEO, cann. 880-883.

37 Cf.

Lk

15:11-24.

1394

540

2043

545

1850