... I had never been to a Lenten Penance Service before and I had no intention of starting now; however, I found myself in need of the sacrament so I went to a local parish and picked a line. Any line. There were so many to choose from.
As I patiently waited my turn it dawned on me why there were so many lines and so many priests... because there was so much need. So many people in need of Christ's forgiving mercy. The weight of it could almost be felt on your soul. I looked around and wondered how many were seeking forgiveness after decades of living with sin and hurt. I listened to the soft piano playing meant to muffle the whispers of confessions but it just became a backdrop to stifled cries and prayers of penance.
Then it hit me. It was one of those moments. I don't have them often, but there it was. A profound moment where I was moved beyond anything I can express here. Of course I know Christ died for our sins and sacrificed Himself so that we may receive redemption and pardon but to see it played out before me, compounded by the sheer volume of penitents lining that church seeking mercy... the magnitude of all that need and desire for absolution practically crushed me. In a single moment I knew and fully comprehended why Christ had to die. For the first time I fully appreciated it and was humbly grateful, more grateful than I had ever been.