Monday, January 19, 2015

G-Bear's First Reconciliation

Last week, our sweet G-Bear made her First Reconciliation!

G-Bear's depiction of her First Reconciliation.

G-Bear has been considering and anticipating this special day for months.  In my conversations with her leading up to the sacrament, I was impressed by her thoughtfulness and the honesty with which she approached it.  "I am excited and a little bit nervous, Mom," G-Bear told me the night before.  Children often have a much deeper spiritual life than we give them credit!  "I get a little nervous before I go to confession too," I admitted to G-Bear.  "But, God's forgiveness feels like a big, warm hug, even better than a hug from mom or dad."  To emphasize the special occasion to all the kids, we served shells and cheese for dinner for the kids and made lamb for the adults.  We promised a special dessert after the service!

Our parish does a beautiful job with the second grade First Reconciliation service.  The evening was a beautiful testimony of the love and forgiveness that God offers each one of us through His son, Jesus.  Each second grader sat with his or her own parents in the pews.  We sang an opening song, "Create in me a clean heart, O God," and then read an opening prayer together:

"O God, we trust in you.
No one who waits for you will ever have to feel afraid.
Lord, teach us your ways; 
lead us in your paths.

You, O Lord, can help us.
Because of your great mercy, Lord, forgive us.
Forgive us for the times we have hurt you or our friends or our family.

Help us love you more.
This we ask through Christ our Lord.

Before the children received the sacrament, we all read a Litany of Forgiveness together.  I loved this part, because it was a sort of Examination of Conscience for children, one that I know I can use with my children in the future.  If you notice, it is like a child's review of the Ten Commandments, a good reminder that the commandments can reach into areas of our lives beyond their literal meaning.

Litany of Forgiveness
For the times when I don't pay attention at Mass or bother others who are trying to pray....
Jesus, I am sorry.

For the times I have said mean things to my mom or dad...
Jesus, I am sorry.

For the times I have lied to my parents or teachers...
Jesus, I am sorry.

For the times I have started fights with my brothers and sisters at home...
Jesus, I am sorry.

For the times I have hurt other people's feelings by calling them bad names....
Jesus, I am sorry.

For the times I have blamed others for things I do...
Jesus, I am sorry.

For the times I have hit someone or hurt them in any other way...
Jesus, I am sorry.

For the times I have cheated or been unfair in games....
Jesus, I am sorry.

For the times I have told others they could not play with me for no good reason...
Jesus, I am sorry.

For the times I have done what my friends say to do even when I know it is wrong...
Jesus, I am sorry.

After the litany, with the second grade teachers acting as ushers, each second grader was dismissed from their pew alongside their parents to approach the alter.  When it was our turn, T and I were able to introduce G-Bear to our parish priest and then walk to the back of the church to wait for her to receive her sacrament.  

Each second grader had drawn a picture of something they wanted to confess and talk about with the priest.  G-Bear brought her picture with her and talked for a while with our priest.  Best of all, we were able to watch from afar as a burden was lifted from her shoulders and a smile spread across her face when she received her absolution.  She was practically floating on air as she walked to meet us at the back of the church.  After a big hug, we helped G-Bear light a candle representing herself and the way that our light shines brighter in the world when our sin is forgiven and removed from our soul.  Simply wonderful!

Afterwards, we joined with several of G-Bear's friends for cake and ice cream to celebrate! G-Bear and each of her friends looked simply radiant.  "I am so happy, I don't have words!" G-Bear kept saying.  I felt the same way.  My heart was bursting with joy for my little girl to know the bliss of God's love and mercy.

Happy First Reconciliation, G-Bear!!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

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