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Posted July 15, 2014

Book: Freedom and Forgiveness: A Fresh Look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Author: Father Paul Farren
Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA. 2014. Pp. 88

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Confession is the most talked about sacrament in the Catholic Church. There are two who confess: God and the penitent. God is the primary confessor when he confesses his forgiveness for and trust in the one who is celebrating the sacrament

This book helps us understand what happens in the sacrament and how we can celebrate it: Friendship between God and the penitent is renewed. Reconciliation is God's gift to us. god expresses forgiveness and confidence in us. and we have an opportunity to take responsibility for our life.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Jean Vanier says that the whole gospel of Jesus is contained in these words. [Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us].

He goes on to say:

Forgiveness is not, however, just a one-time event where we go up to the person who has hurt us and give them a big hug. Forgiveness is a process. To move from hate to acceptance and love is a long journey. Even when we have been deeply hurt, we can grow into forgiveness.

Jean Vanier then outlines three movements in forgiveness. The first two of these movements he presents in the context of profound and real examples:

Some years ago I spoke with a woman in Rwanda. Seven-five members of her family had been killed. "I have so much hate in my heart," she said, "and everyone is talking about reconciliation!" I asked her if she wanted to kill those people who had killed her family. "No," she answered. "Too many people have been killed already!" I said to her: "Do you know that the first movement in the process of forgiveness is not to seek revenge? You are on the road to forgiveness."

I heard about a woman who had been put in prison because of a man's false testimony. She did not know about Jesus but met regularly for support with a religious sister. One day she met Jesus and discovered the gospel message. It was a revelation for her. The sister asked her if she could look at forgiving the man who had given false testimony. "No," she replied. "He has hurt me too much." "But," she added, "I pray for him each day, that he may be liberated from all the evil in him." The second step in the process of forgiveness is to pray for those who consciously or unconsciously have hurt us.

Table of Contents:

1. The gift of freedom

2. Who is God?

3. Who am I?

4. Forgiveness

5. Sin

6. The sacrament

7. Celebrating the sacrament