Our former spiritual director, Fr. Filemon I. dela Cruz Jr., O.P. (fondly called "Fr. Deng"), was assigned to Surabaya, Indonesia last year. In this brief sharing, originally posted on March 15, he speaks about the power of God's love as experienced in the Sacrament of Reconciliation... and he speaks to us from the other side of the confession box.
We concluded tonight our scheduled Lenten confession at our Parish Church, Gereja Redemptor Mundi. For three (3) evenings we administered the Sacrament of Reconciliation and heard confessions of the penitents for 3.5 hours on the average each time.
Tiring, admittedly yes! But always, it is an experience of grace not only for the penitent but for the confessor as well. This is my experience from the time I was a young priest and remains to be true till now, after 25 years. I hope this is true for all confessors.
It is so difficult to capture in words the whole experience of being touched by God's merciful love, a love that is unbelievable for many and baffling to many human minds.
How many times did I hear penitents saying: I want to be a good Christian, I want to be a better person. Sometimes, we just don't know the way or how to proceed. At other times, we need a push and encouragement from others. Certainly, this Sacrament is always a good start. I hope my counsels are of help in anyway. I am just so happy and felt encouraged myself to know the desire of so many people to be good/better.
I had this encounter with this person that after more than 20 years thought that her faith has long been dead only to realize that it is just there inside of her, dormant but not dead. It is that seminal faith that guided her back to the arms of the merciful Lord.
Dear God our Father, continue to strengthen your children and protect them from all evil and harm. Nourish the seed of goodness and faith and bring them to fruition. Thank you for making us priests instruments of your great mercy. When our time comes do not deprive us of the same grace we administer to others in the name of Jesus, your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
About the Author
Rev. Fr. Filemon I. dela Cruz Jr., O.P. is a Filipino Dominican priest belonging to the Dominican Province of the Philippines. Just last year, he celebrated 25 years of priesthood.
Young Thomasian Professionals Lay Dominican Group
Santísimo Rosario Parish, University of Santo Tomás
España Boulevard, Manila 1015 Philippines