Monday, April 5, 2010

The Catholic Company Review: Encounter with Mercy

Encounter with Mercy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation

I received this lovely little booklet from The Catholic Company in plenty of time to prepare for my most recent confession (a far too infrequent event). It's very small, so can easily slip into a pocketbook or back pocket, perfect for taking along and skimming as you wait in line.

This little book begins (after the forward) with a few inspiring stories of those returning to the sacrament of reconciliation. It includes reason to go to confession, what you can expect from confession, what's expected from you in confession, seven objections to the practice of confession and the Biblical response (one of my favorite sections!), and a variety of resources to help aid in making a full and meaningful confession. My favorite way to prepare for confession is to go through the ten commandments and examine my life in terms of each of them. This booklet provides a brief list of questions to get you started in just that way.

The booklet also explains exactly what will happen in confession - what the priest will say and how you should respond. I carried the booklet with me to confession, open to this section, and followed along as I confessed and prayed with the priest. I've been to confession many times (though not often enough) and still loved having a little guidance from the booklet. It was nice to be able to concentrate on my sins and the priest's suggestions without trying to remember how to recite the Act of Contrition.

I think this booklet is a wonderful brief look at the sacrament of reconciliation. It's not complete, of course, but it highlights some important aspects and would be perfect for someone as they begin to explore the sacrament or as a refresher for those who want to return to the confessional but feel a little nervous about what to expect.

Too often, I let confession slide, thinking I can always go some other day. I loved one of the quotes from the personal stories in the first section as they reminded me of the important place confession should hold.
"I couldn't believe my ears. I thought my sin was unforgivable. Confession was my road to healing."

She describes her restoration this way: "I climbed on the Cross with Christ, and instead of the suffering we see when we gaze upon him crucified, I saw in him the only love capable of taking away my pain."
This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. I have not received any payment for this review, but I did receive a free copy of the book Encounter with Mercy. Learn more about joining the reviewer program here.

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