THE number of responses (CL 1/4/01) to Peter Mullins’ letter (CL 18/3/01) brings into focus a couple of important issues.
Such language as “can someone tell me where I fit into the Church today without reconciliation” (P. Mullins) recalls the past, when as Catholics our purpose in life was fulfilled by abstinence from meat on Friday, confession on Saturdays, Mass on Sundays and prayer morning and night.
But at some stage we must come to the realisation that the object of such cultural practices is God. And God is three persons who are mutually complementary, infinitely lovable and amiable. God has created us out of love for us, and asks us for a loving response.
This love, like our very existence, is already a gift of God to us, and is the basis, purpose and substance of life, which starts now and goes on forever.
The only alternative is to fail to realise this purpose and substance and that is hell – and many walk the wide and winding road (Mt 7:13).
With this realisation, the valid part played by prayer, Mass and sacraments, and their importance, is apparent, But it should be, not so much that it is a right thing to practice or a very good thing to do, but openness to God in love that takes us there, often in spite of ourselves.
We should realise that the Church has always effectively given us the Third Rite, as well as the first.
I refer to the profound public confession we make on that most sacred occasion when we attend Mass.
This confession addressed to Almighty God, all heaven and the Church on earth, has the capacity to affirm the removal of all our usual infidelity and sin.
The fact that we own our need for reconciliation, indicates an attitude of heart – a reaching out to God to which God immediately responds (Lk 15:20).
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