Confession… Necessary?

 

Rembrandt van Rijn, “The return of the prodigal son”; c.1662
 

OF course, one can ask God directly to forgive one’s venial sins, and He will (provided of course, we forgive others. Jesus was clear on this.) We can immediately, on the spot as it were, stop the bleeding from the wound of our transgression.

But this is where the Sacrament of Confession is so necessary.  For the wound, though not bleeding, may still be infected with “self”. Confession draws the puss of pride to the surface where Christ, in the person of the priest (John 20:23), wipes it away and applies the healing balm of the Father through the words, “…may God grant you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins….” Unseen graces bathe the injury as—with the Sign of the Cross—the priest applies the dressing of God’s mercy.

When you go to a medical doctor for a bad cut, does he only stop the bleeding, or does he not suture, cleanse, and dress your wound? Christ, the Great Physician, knew we would need that, and more attention to our spiritual wounds.

Thus, this Sacrament was his antidote to our sin.

While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call “light”: if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession. —St. Augustine, Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1863

Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit.—Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1458

 

 

Justice of the Womb

 

 

FEAST OF THE VISITATION

While pregnant with Jesus, Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. Upon Mary’s greeting, Scripture retells that the child within Elizabeth’s womb–John the Baptist–"leaped for joy".

John sensed Jesus.

How can we read this passage and fail to recognize the life and presence of a human person within the womb? This day, my heart has been weighed with the sorrow of abortion in North America. And the words, "You reap what you sow" have been playing through my mind.

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The Bunker

AFTER Confession today, the image of a battlefield came to mind.

The enemy fires missiles and bullets at us, bombarding us with deceptions, temptations, and accusations. We often find ourselves wounded, bleeding, and disabled, cowering in the trenches.

But Christ draws us into the Bunker of Confession, and then… lets the bomb of his grace explode in the spiritual realm, destroying the enemy’s gains, reclaiming our terrorities, and re-outfitting us in that spiritual armor which enables us to engage once again those "principalities and powers," through faith and the Holy Spirit.

We are in a war. It is wisdom, not cowardice, to frequent the Bunker.

Tolerance and Responsibility

 

 

RESPECT for diversity and peoples is what the Christian faith teaches, no, demands. However, this does not mean "tolerance" of sin.’

...[our] vocation is to deliver the whole world from evil and to transform it in God: by prayer, by penance, by charity, and, above all, by mercy. —Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

It is charity to not only clothe the naked, comfort the sick, and visit the prisoner, but to help one’s brother not to become naked, sick, or imprisoned to begin with. Hence, the Church’s mission is also to define that which is evil, so good may be chosen.

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.  —POPE JOHN PAUL II