Today is the first day of the season of Advent. The season is a fantastic opportunity to remind myself that I must be constantly preparing for the second coming of our Lord Jesus. “His (Christ’s) first coming was to fulfil his plan of love, to teach men by gentle persuasion. This time, whether men like it or not, they will be subjects of his kingdom by necessity.”
The first reading for Matins, for the first Sunday of Advent, is from Isaiah and contains a verse, which, in my mind, gets right down to the nitty-gritty of Advent. “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil.” Since I know that God is coming to us, it is now time for me to get ready.
The best way to prepare for the coming of Christ is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Confession gives an opportunity to do an examination of conscience and to ask God to forgive us for all the ways in which we have offended him. To restore sanctifying grace lost due to mortal sin.
I should really do an examination of conscience on a daily basis, maybe each night before bed. In this time of examination of conscience, I get to consider the ways in which I am being blocked, daily, from drawing closer to our Lord. I get to consider seriously how “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” separate me from Him each day.
“"Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” It is through the confession of my mortal sins to the priest, quickly, without any delay, that I restore sanctifying grace and that I am again washed white as snow, as I was on the day when I was baptised, ready for the second coming of Christ.
This Advent may also be an opportunity for me to begin the habit of frequent Confession, even if only for venial sins. A daily examination of conscience, followed by a weekly Confession, will certainly help in my journey to personal holiness. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, even though I may not have lost sanctifying grace due to mortal sin, God bestows an increase in sanctifying grace on us. What could be more helpful, in the daily journey towards personal holiness, than this increase in sanctifying grace from God our Father.
“Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful.”