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Freedom and Forgiveness by Father Paul Farren is for anyone who is hesitant about Confession. "Our understanding of the sacrament reveals our image of God. If our image of God is one of an uncompromising judge, then the sacrament can fill us with dread," Father Paul begins. Instead of coming to Confession to avoid judgment and hellfire, Farren paints a picture of the sacrament that has a loving God behind it who longs for a restored relationship with his children. There are two who confess: God and the penitent. In fact, God is the primary confessor when he confesses his forgiveness for and trust in the one who is celebrating the sacrament. Confession is about God's great love for us!
Number of Pages: 112
Vendor: Paraclete Press
|Dimensions: 7.00 X 4.50 (inches)|
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Confession is somewhat daunting for many of us; yet Farren argues, "Our understanding of the sacrament reveals our image of God. If our image of God is one of an uncompromising judge, then the sacrament can fill us with dread." Instead of coming to confession to avoid judgment and hellfire, Father Farren paints a picture of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which presents a loving God who longs for a restored relationship with His children. It is an inspirational picture and one that is presented compellingly.
In Father Farrens short book, he explores how confession brings us into the realm of freedom and forgiveness, reveals the nature of God and of ourselves, and produces in us a proper sorrow for our sins. Father Farren also gives practical instruction for those who wish to enter deeper into the practice of Confession, both in its formal parish celebration and in the preparation for it.
The Most Reverend David L. Ricken, DD, JCL, Bishop of Green Bay
Fr Patrick Dooling, San Carlos Cathedral
Two very simple words yet profound in their implications, freedom and forgiveness offer the human race a way forward in dealing with the problems and conundrums of life on Earth. Father Paul Farren in his book, Freedom and Forgiveness takes a hard look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation and looks at from the angle as God the Confessor. He writes, "What does God confess? He confesses his love, his forgiveness, his gratitude, his confidence, his trust, and his belief in us" (1). We often go around seeing God as unyielding judge who cant wait to tally up our rights and wrongs, but fail to see the pursuing God of love for his creation.
Father Farren brings to the forefront a concept of beliefs surrounding Gods love that is worth mentioning, especially for myself, steeped in Reformational Protestant theology. Farren writes,
"Do many of us really believe that we are terrific? What is mean to be terrific? Does it mean that be perfect and able to do anything? Does it mean to have no weakness? I dont think so. Are we not terrific when we accept that we are originally good and also that we have original sin? Our beauty comes from the whole truth about ourselves. That whole truth involves all that is good in us and all that is broken in us. We are a mixture of both. However, the power of our brokenness decreases when we realize that we are the beloved of God" (20).
We err on the side of condemnation when we focus on the brokenness and not speak of the children of God that we are, and yet when we fail to mention the brokenness of our hearts and minds we miss part of the truth about ourselves.
Seeking forgiveness is a difficult matter altogether. Farren mentions that forgiveness frees that other person from the paralyzing force of anger and violence, seeing the other person as a wound to be healed and not as an enemy (32). And yet, as Jean Vanier point out, forgiveness is never a one-time deal where we seek reconciliation and go on our merry way. No, forgiveness is a process, sometimes life-long that is always moving from hurt, hate, and rejection towards acceptance, love, and forgiveness.
I cannot say how much this book was a blessing that points myself and others towards God and others in forgiveness. The foundation of forgiveness is Gods love for his children, even in the death and resurrection of his Son. This book will surely challenge you to see forgiveness through the lens of Gods love and move you toward a life of forgiveness.
Spencer Cummins, For All its Worth
Jean Vanier writes in the foreward to Freedom and Forgiveness that the sacrament of reconciliation has become the forgotten sacrament, perhaps because the conceptual meaning of reconciliation may be taken as more like a "tribunal" than "an encounter of friendship."Father Paul Farren helps guide readers to a place where they want to re-examine this neglected sacrament so it becomes the mode of deeper relationship with God. In this precise book, he discusses this sacrament by looking more closely at the gift of freedom; who is God; who am I; forgiveness; sin; the sacrament; and celebrating the sacrament. His style is gentle yet persuasive as he invites Christ-followers to come closer to the God they love through introspection and outward lifestyle change.Catholic readers will find Farren's work helpful, as they are knowledgeable of the terms and phrases he uses.Michele Howe, CBA Retailers and Resources
- The sacrament of Reconciliation is primarily the sacred place and moment when God confesses. The primary confessor in the sacrament is God. What does God confesses? God confesses his love, his forgiveness, his gratitude, his confiedence, his trust and his belief in us. It is God's confession that enables us to confess. (p.1)
- The sacrament of Reconciliation, then, is an intense moment of prayer - an intense moment of awareness that God is looking at me lovingly and humbly. This is an incredible reality about our God. (p.13)
- Forgiveness then brings us peace and frees us to love. This is at the heart of of the sacrament of Reconciliation. It is a celebration of our freedom to love. (p. 16)
Freedom and Forgiveness is an excellent resource for all those who teach the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for personal enrichment, and for small group and parish-wide presentations and discussions. Over the summer, I had the opportunity to read and re-read Freedom and Forgiveness. It has enriched my understanding and experience of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and offered new insight.eCatechist: Ideas, Inspiration, Resources