.- Addressing the participants of a course on the âinternal forumâ organized by the Tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Pope John Paul II said on Saturday that frequent confession is a must to achieve personal holiness.
The Pontiff said that the fruit of the sacrament of reconciliation is not only the remission of sins: âIt also performs an authentic âspiritual resurrection,â restores the dignity and the good of the life of the children of God, the most precious of which is friendship with God.â
âIt would be illusory to desire to reach holiness, according to the vocation that each one has received from God, without partaking frequently of this sacrament of conversion and sanctification,â that, together with the Eucharist, âaccompanies the path of the Christian towards perfection,â he added.
âPenance, by its nature,â he explained, âinvolves purification, in both the acts of the penitent who lays bare his conscience because of the deep need to be pardoned and reborn, and in the effusion of sacramental grace that purifies and renews.â
The Pope stated that âPenance is a sacrament of enlightenment.â âThose who go to confession frequently and do so with the desire to make progress, know they have received in this sacrament, through pardon from God and grace from the Spirit, a precious light for the path of perfection.â
âFrom confession to confession,â the Pope added, âthe faithful feel an ever deeper communion with the merciful Lord, up to fully identifying with Him, that one has in that perfect âlife of Christâ in which true holiness consists.â
The Holy Father underlined that this Sacrament âis also a gift for us priests who, called to exercise the sacramental ministry, also ask to have our sins pardoned. The joy of pardoning and being pardoned go hand in hand.â
âAll confessors,â he concluded, âhave the great responsibility to exercise this ministry with benevolence, wisdom and courage. Their duty is to make lovable and desirable this encounter which purifies and renews us on the path to Christian perfection and on our pilgrimage to our home.â