“The confessor, with the humble and faithful exercise of his ministry, shows to the world that the Lord is present: he is present as a merciful embrace, as love and justice, as truth and grace, as consolation and tenderness,” Piacenza continued. “In the disorientation of our time, which generates existential loneliness that at times is dramatic, it becomes urgent and necessary to show, with luminous clarity, the presence of the Lord in the world alongside men, the presence of the Lord as the only Savior.”
The prolonged period of the pandemic means that even more confessors will have to exercise “the ministry of consolation,” itself another name for mercy. At the same time, they must make themselves available for confession, the cardinal said.
“Our being present and available will encourage the faithful who want to approach reconciliation or who, upon seeing us, receive from us some supernatural insight,” he continued. “Someone takes action and converts only for a presence, never for an absence!”
The faithful can also draw spiritual support from the Virgin Mary, he alluded: “The light of the Immaculate Conception, on the path that leads to Holy Christmas, is reflected and renews the fruitfulness of the Advent journey and reassures hearts in a time that is certainly not easy for the life of all men.”
The Christian faith does not proclaim a god who is “alien” or “distant” from human affairs, Piacenza said. Rather, “God has chosen to reveal himself, to enter history, to become a participant in the human story, to save us from within this story itself.” God does this “by remaining in time, through the mystery of the Church and of her identity and sacramental action.”
The “saving uniqueness of Christ” makes salvation possible and real, he said: “if Jesus of Nazareth were not the only one Savior, there simply would be no salvation.”