"A lay Catholic perspective"

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The Jubilee Indulgence

by Father Egbert Stang, omi

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?UBILEE 2000 is a time of grace in which we are all invited to open ourselves to the mercy of the Father, who in his Son reconciles us.

This year provides precious opportunities for experiencing God's forgiving and reconciling love. God our loving Father offers his mercy to anyone who is willing to accept it. People are tired of mediocrity and false hopes. Jubilee 2000 is a time to set out on a journey that leads to fullness of life.

During this Holy Year, the Church offers opportunities for personal and community reconciliation. The sacrament of Reconciliation offers an experience of the presence of the merciful God, of recognizing our sinfulness in his light, being forgiven, and setting out on a new path — our journey home to our Father's house in heaven.

During this Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 we can gain the Jubilee indulgence. An indulgence reveals the fullness of the Father's mercy, which offers everyone his love, expressed primarily in the forgiveness of sins. The Holy Father said recently, "Having received from Christ the power to forgive in his name", the Church is in the world as the living presence of the love of God, who leans down to every human weakness in order to gather it into the embrace of his mercy. It is precisely through the ministry of the Church that God diffuses his mercy in the world, by means of that precious gift, which from very ancient times has been "indulgence."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "an indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfaction of Christ and the saints."

A plenary indulgence can be gained every day during the Jubilee Year 2000 with sacramental confession of sins within a reasonable time, receiving the Holy Eucharist, praying for the intentions of the Holy Father, and doing acts of penance or charity towards our brothers and sisters. Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased.

Jesus walks with us on our journey to the Father, "I am with you always to the close of the age." Also, Mary our mother journeys with us in this third millennium which the Holy Father calls The Great Springtime.