Well, I did it again…
It’s usually one of the very first things I do on my first full day back in Rome…
Early in the morning, I walk down the Janiculum Hill – where I stay at the North American College – to Saint Peter’s Basilica, there to go to confession and then to celebrate Mass.
Two powerful sacraments, Eucharist and Reconciliation, constants of our spiritual life, at the heart of the church, near the tomb of Saint Peter.
I don’t want you to think that I only approach confession when I’m in Rome!
At home with you in New York I try to go every two weeks, because I need it.
But it does have a special urgency and meaning here in Rome.
Near the tomb of Saint Peter, I can hear Jesus ask Him three times: “Simon, do you love me?” and then examine my conscience to see how I have failed to love the Lord and take care of his sheep.
Near his tomb, I picture myself, like Saint Peter, doubting Jesus and sinking in the waters of the storm.
Adjacent to his burial place, I even admit that, like Peter, I have, in my thoughts, words, and actions, denied Jesus.
So my contrition is strong, my purpose of amendment firm, and I approach one of the Franciscans for confession in the corner of the massive basilica.
Then I say my penance before the tomb of Peter, under the high altar, and go to vest for the greatest prayer of all, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
And then I go for pasta….
Lent begins next Wednesday. I’ll be back to start it with you.
Sometime over those forty days leading up to Easter, take a cue from your archbishop: get back to confession!
My love, prayers, and best wishes from Rome.