“Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? . . . No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything.” Pope John Paul II
Reconciliation, unlike Eucharist and Confirmation, is not one of the Sacraments of Initiation. It is one of the Sacraments of Healing which offers us the opportunity to affirm the truth that God loves us without fail and longs to forgive us before we even recognise our need to be forgiven.
The contemporary approach to the Sacrament focuses on the Gospels and the life and mission of Jesus. Jesus always went out of his way to speak to the broken, the lost, the suffering – he called them to tell him about themselves and then spoke openly to them in return. In the Gospel stories, these people always left Jesus feeling good about themselves and prepared to begin life anew.
This is the experience the Church today wants for all the faithful – come to Jesus and be healed.
First Reconciliation for school aged children
In enrolling your child for the Sacrament of Reconciliation Program, you are giving them the opportunity to experience one of the greatest gifts that the Church has to offer.
Reconciliation becomes therefore a celebration: of God’s love for us, of his boundless forgiveness and the joy of “coming home” to a happy, whole relationship with him.
For young children, the actual experience of the sacrament, regularly repeated, is the most significant education they receive in it’s meaning. Their conceptual level is quite concrete; they learn most by doing.
However, your role, as parents, in this process is crucial and the following points may be helpful to consider:
Let your child see reconciliation happening between adults and family members. If your children experience forgiveness, they will more readily understand what it means.
When someone in your home says “sorry” and is forgiven, celebrate in some small way, to recognise the joy that comes with forgiveness.
Encourage your child to pray daily and to “take stock” before they go to sleep each night, to consider things they perhaps could have done better and to give thanks for the things that went well.
Always present God to your child in the light of his great mercy and love
Attend Reconciliation yourself in the weeks before your child’s first Reconciliation and let your child know that you, too, honour the Sacrament.