Why is the Penitential Rite so important that we cannot celebrate Mass without it?
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The Catholic Mass is a celebration of our union with God the Father, God the Son our Savior, and God the Holy Spirit who empowers us to become the saints God designed us to be, the saints Jesus suffered and died for us to become. Because Jesus is present in the community, we need forgiveness for the unloving things that we have done to each other – and “each other” means anyone at all, anywhere – all children of God. Therefore our sins, because they divide us from God and from each other, must first be absolved prior to receiving the Eucharist.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Penitential Rite restore our unity with God and with the Church – with each other – so that we can receive the Eucharist rightly. In other words, so that we can be mystically and fully united to Christ and all that he offers us – all the love of the Father, all the help and all the guidance of the Holy Spirit, all the miracles that Jesus promised when he said in John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
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