Sunday, March 22, 2015

(155) How About a Lenten Confession?

St. John Vianney, Patron of Parish Priests and Confessors
        Lent is incomplete without confession.  When Holy Week comes and goes and Easter comes, you might feel as though something is missing.  How much we get out of the Mass every Sunday and Lent depends upon how much we put into it. 

          Lent is both penance and transformation……progress in the quest for holiness, without which we cannot present ourselves at the throne of God.  Each one of us must make a choice:  become holy here on earth; become holy in Purgatory which is much more difficult; or have no desire, even refuse to ever become holy……thus risking our souls.  Then the result may be…….a tragic never.

         Is confession also for those who have not committed any serious sin?  Pope John Paul II went to confession every week and he was canonized a saint.  Frequent confession must have had an important role in helping him become a saint of the Catholic Church.  If this saint felt a need for weekly confession, how much more do we need this sacrament of mercy in our quest for holiness and salvation at least during the twice a year Penance services, first in preparation for the coming of the Messiah and later for His passion and victorious resurrection?  In fact going to confession at least once a year is a Church law.  Reconciliation gives us the opportunity to examine how we are doing on our spiritual journey and focus on things we have to work on and improve in our quest for holiness.  Below Pope Francis shows us the example.  Does he need to confess?  WE ALL DO.

Pope Francis, showing the example and confessing his sins
        Confession is all about God’s contrition, repentance, resolve to conquer our sins with the help of His grace,  mercy, forgiveness, graces to strengthen us against temptation and conquer ourselves during the journey to eternity.  It is an opportunity to ask questions and seek counsel.  The comic strip below is very illustrative.  We are afraid to confess to a priest, strictly bound by the Seal of Confession, but will pay big bucks to a shrink and tell all.  

Repentance: Sincere Contrition and a Firm Purpose of Amendment 
          Although psychiatric counseling and medication may also be necessary, there is no substitute for Confession which gives spiritual direction and counseling and much more……God’s mercy, forgiveness, graces to conquer our sins, etc.  A good confession is also therapeutic and healing.  Ultimately, going to confession is a true act of faith.  By so going we show that we truly believe in God’s unconditional mercy and love.  DON’T MISS OUT THIS LENT.  You’ll have a more meaningful Lent and a happier Easter. 

          The Universal Call to HolinessChapter 5 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church or Lumen Gentium of Vatican II in 1964 emphasizes the universal call to holiness.  In other words every one of us is called to holiness.  Regular confession is essential in that quest.  Most spiritual directors recommend monthly confession as a big help to avoid sin, develop virtue, become holy and thus close to God.  Then victory is ours……Heaven……everlasting happiness with God, His angels, and His saints. 

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