Sister Christina M. Neumann, OSF
Yesterday afternoon, as I headed home from confession at St. Michael’s Church, pretty white snowflakes began to fall around my face. The biblical image of white snow symbolizing restored innocence through God’s forgiveness has resonated with me for years, since the day of my first confession in second grade. Walking out of the church building that day, after receiving this sacrament for the first time, the snow on the ground spoke volumes. It was not just ordinary snow or dirty snow, stained by traffic. It was a dazzling white, sparkling like diamonds.
Now, as I walked away from the church, I was again touched by gratitude for this wonderful sacrament of God’s mercy with which we, undeservedly, are blessed whenever we choose to come. I have found so much grace in this Sacrament to strengthen me in my struggle against sinful tendencies.
As Dillingen Franciscan Sisters, we are to receive this wonderful Sacrament “regularly and frequently” and “in responsibility and freedom” (Constitutions 3:11). We are also advised that “this forgiveness so freely given us must become visible in our communities and in our encounters with others. (3.7) Our gratitude to God for His mercy should flow over into mercy and love for others.