Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH Lk. 15: 1-10 ” I tell you there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Seek me Lord, I need you! by Saint Ambrose
The shepherd in the Gospel left the ninety-nine sheep and went after the one that had strayed… There are grounds for preferring the stray sheep to the others. The truth is that it is a greater thing to turn back from one’s sins than scarcely to have committed any! When souls are steeped in sin, not only do they need perfect human virtue to mend their ways, but heavenly grace is also necessary!
When the shepherd has at last found the sheep, he places it on his shoulders. The symbolism represents humanity, worn out and exhausted, incapable of restoration to health except by the mystery of the Passion and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am your servant, Lord; come in search for me, for unless the shepherd seeks out the stray, it will die. Return is still possible for the one who is lost; he can still be recalled to the right path. Come, then Lord Jesus, seek your servant, seek your exhausted sheep. Come as shepherd of the flock, seeking your sheep that went astray. Leave your ninety-nine sheep there and come in search of the one that is lost. Come, not with rod in hand, but in a spirit of love and gentleness.
Seek me, Lord; I need you. Seek me, find me, lift me up, carry me. You are expert at finding what you search for; and when you have found the stray you stoop down, lift him up, and place him on your own shoulders. To you he is a burden of love, not an object of revulsion; it is no irksome task to you to bring justification to the human race. Come then, Lord, I have gone astray, but I still hold on to the hope of healing. Come, Lord; none but you can bring back your erring sheep.
ALL YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CONFESSION by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
One of the greatest gifts that Jesus, our Merciful Savior, gave to the Church and to each and every one of us personally, is the Sacrament of Confession. If we really understood this great Sacrament, then we would have recourse to it with greater faith, trust, frequency, and preparation.
The purpose of this catechetical work is to heighten our awareness of really what the Sacrament of Confession is, how better to receive it, and consequently derive spiritual fruit in abundance from the reception of this wonderful Sacrament instituted by Jesus, our Lord, God, Savior, as well as our Divine Physician.
LITERARY STYLE. The literary style that we will follow and develop will be that of a brief but concise and clear catechesis on the Sacrament of Confession. We hope and pray that all will profit immensely by this work, and hope that many souls will be drawn back to the Merciful Heart of Jesus who beckons all to come to Him: “Come to me all of you who are weary and I will give your rest..” (Mt 11:28)
50 THINGS YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION!
1. WHO instituted the Sacrament of Confession? As is true with all of the seven Sacraments, it was Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who instituted the Sacrament of Confession.
2. WHEN was the Sacrament of Confession instituted? How wonderful and providential is God’s love for us! Jesus actually instituted the Sacrament of Confession on the day He rose from the dead—Easter Sunday evening.
3. WHERE was this Sacrament instituted? That first Easter Sunday night the Sacrament of Confession was instituted in the Upper Room that we call The Cenacle.
4. WHAT CONTEXT? The Apostles were locked in the Upper Room filled with fear of the Roman soldiers when Jesus came through the door and breathed on them the Holy Spirit.
5. WHAT WERE THE WORDS OF THE INSTITUTION? Upon breathing the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, Jesus said these words thereby instituting the Sacrament of Confession: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive, they shall be forgiven; whose sins you bind, they shall be held bound.”
6. WHERE IS THIS TO BE FOUND IN THE BIBLE? This short episode can be found in the fourth Gospel of Saint John—Jn 20: 21-23.
7. WHO HAS THE POWER TO FORGIVE SINS? It is only Jesus who has the power to forgive sins, and all sins, because sin is an offense against God.
8. THE PRIEST. However, in His infinite wisdom and Divine Providence, Jesus chose men that we call priests to be the ministers and the instruments through which Jesus forgives sins.
9. BUT THE PRIEST IS A SINNER HIMSELF! It is true that the priest is himself a sinner and has to go to confession to another priest to have his sins forgiven. However, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and the permission of the local Ordinary, the Bishop, the priest is given the power to forgive sins in the name of Jesus and the Church, His Mystical Body.
10. WHO SHOULD GO TO CONFESSION? All should have recourse to the Sacrament of Confession and the reason is as clear as the sunshine at midday: all are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God
11. THE PLACE? The name of the traditional place to confess is simply called The Confessional.
12. CAN WE CONFESS DIRECTLY TO GOD??? No, this is wrong! Jesus wants us to confess our sins through the person of the priest, as evident when He instituted the Sacrament of Confession that first Easter Sunday night.
13. WHEN MUST WE CONFESS? The Easter Duty commands us to confess at least once a year, but this is a minimalist view of this Sacrament. The saints of the past and good spiritual directors encourage the practice of frequent confession.
14. FREQUENT CONFESSION? While it cannot be specified mathematically, it is a good practice to strive to go to confession at least once a month.
15. WHAT ARE QUALITIES OF A GOOD CONFESSION? In the Diary of Saint Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul, three qualities were highlighted that make a good confession: transparency, humility, and obedience!
16. TRANSPARENCY? This means the penitent is as clear, honest, and sincere as possible.
17. HUMILITY? This means the penitent tells the absolute truth without trying to justify, rationalize, or minimize the reality of the sins confessed.
18. OBEDIENCE? The penitent obeys the counsel and advice of the confessor who actually represents Jesus, and faithfully carries out the penance given.
19. NAMES FOR THIS SACRAMENT? There are various names for this wonderful Sacrament? Confession, Penance, Reconciliation, Mercy, Forgiveness. All represent a different dimension of this great Sacrament.
20. WHAT ARE THE FIVE CLASSIC STEPS FOR MAKING A GOOD CONFESSION? Examination of conscience, contrition, firm purpose of amendment, confession of sins to the priest, and carrying out the penance given by the priest.
21. EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE? One of the best ways is to purchase of a good booklet explaining the Ten Commandments, then read and examine one’s life based on the Ten Commandments.
22. CONTRITION? This means that we must have true sorrow for our sins to make a good confession.
23. ATTRITION / IMPERFECT CONTRITION? This is sorrow for serious sin due to Fear of the Lord—one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. It means that one is sorry for their sins due to fear of the punishment of God. This is good, but perfect contrition is better.
24. PERFECT CONTRITION? This should be our aim! We are sorry for our sins because we hurt Jesus who loves us so much that He died on the cross for us. And we want to avoid sinning in the future for love of God. We should beg for this grace before every confession!
25. FIRM PURPOSE OF AMENDMENT? This means very simply that as an extension of true sorrow for sin, we will try to avoid the near occasions of sin.
26. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? It means that we should not play with fire. We should make a concerted effort to avoid any person, place, thing, or circumstance that could lead us into sin. In other words, we should avoid walking on a slippery slope; otherwise, we will fall!
27. CONFESS SINS TO A PRIEST? Once we have examined our conscience thoroughly and elicited with God’s grace true sorrow for our sins, we are ready to confess to the priest, who, as mentioned earlier, represents Christ Jesus the Healer, the Divine Physician.
28. WHAT ARE WE OBLIGED TO CONFESS? To make a good confession, we are obliged to confess all our mortal sins, as well as the number and kind of mortal sin.
29. WHAT IS A MORTAL SIN? Mortal actually means deadly! A mortal sin once committed causes the loss of God’s grace and friendship in our soul.
30. WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS OF A MORTAL SIN? There are three: 1) Grave matter, 2) Full knowledge, and 3) Full consent of the will.
31. PRACTICAL ADVICE ON APPROACHING THE CONFESSIONAL. Upon entering, it is always good to close the door to the confessional. Otherwise, the persons waiting outside might hears your sins!
32. PRAY FOR THE PRIEST BEFORE YOU ENTER. On one occasion, Saint Faustina left the confessional intranquil. When Jesus appeared her, she asked why? Jesus responded by saying: “You did not pray for the priest before you entered the confessional.” So, before you enter the confessional say at least a short prayer for your confessor.
33. BEHIND THE SCREEN OR FACE TO FACE. You have the option! You can either go behind the screen and be anonymous or choose to confess to the priest, face to face. It is your choice!
34. HOW TO START? The traditional way to start off confession is the following: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was (give the time since your last confession), and these are my sins.” Then tell your sins to the priest with humility, trust, and confidence in God’s mercy.
35. NEXT? Listen to the words of the priest: advice, counsel, suggestions, admonitions, encouragement, and at times corrections.
36. PENANCE. This is an important fifth part of the Sacrament of Confession. The priest will give you some form of penance to carry out in reparation for your sins. As soon as possible after you leave the Confessional, you should try to carry out the penance that the priest has given to you.
37. CLOSING. To conclude you, as the penitent, will pray what is called the Act of Contrition. You should try to memorize the Act of Contrition. If not, the priest can help you by giving you one to read. But try to say it with true meaning and true repentance!
38. ABSOLUTION. These are the words that the priest says after you have finished confessing: “And I absolve you of your sins, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”
39. WHAT HAPPENS THEN? How marvelous! With the words of absolution, the most Precious Blood of Jesus descends into your soul and washes you clean of all of your sins. You are forgiven and set free of all of your sins!
40. GRATITUDE. Thank the priest, who represents Jesus, and then leave. But now you leave the confessional door open so that the next penitent can enter.
41. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF SOMEONE HELD BACK A MORTAL SIN DUE TO FEAR OR SHAME? In this case, the Confession would be sacrilegious. None of the sins would be forgiven.
42. WHAT NEXT TO REMEDY THE SITUATION? The penitent should go back to the priest and mention all of his sins since the previous confession, as well as the sin that he held back; also, he should mention the fact that he is truly sorry for not telling the total truth in the past confession. Once this is done, all the sins will be forgiven and he can start a new life!
43. FORGETTING A SIN OR SINS? The confession is still good, but the next time that the penitent goes to confession, he should mention the sins that were forgotten.
44. SEAL OF THE CONFESSION? The priest is bound to maintain absolute secrecy as to all that he has heard in the context of the Sacrament of Confession. Your confession is between you, the priest, and God Himself.
45. MARTYR OF THE SEAL? Yes, there have been priests who preferred to die rather than break the Seal of the Confession. One of these priests was the priestly confessor of a Queen. The name of the priest is Saint John Nepomucene.
46. EFFECT OF THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION? All of the Sacraments communicate grace. However, each Sacrament confers a specific sacramental grace that differentiates it from the others. The specific sacramental grace of the Sacrament of Confession is that of HEALING.
47. HEALING? Yes, healing! When we commit sin, we wound our soul. But when we make a good confession these wounds are healed by the loving touch of Jesus the Divine Physician.
48. PREVENTATIVE? ANALOGY WITH MEDICINE. Going to confession can be compared to going to make a visit with a Doctor. The Doctor can give you curative medicine—when you are already sick. Or the Doctor can give you preventive medicine—like a Flu-shot, so as to prevent a future sickness. Making a good confession strengthens us against sinning in the future.
49. HOW ABOUT A BIBLICAL PASSAGE TO PREPARE FOR CONFESSION? Reading and prayerfully meditating upon Lk. 15: 11-32 can be of immense value. This is the Parable of the Prodigal Son or if you like, The Parable of the Merciful Father. This Parable will augment in our souls a great trust in the infinite mercy of the Heart of Jesus.
50. HOW ABOUT SOME POSITIVE FRUITS OF A GOOD CONFESSION? There are many!
- FORGIVENESS OF SINS, both mortal and venial.
- FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD. Once forgiven of mortal sin, friendship is again established between us and God.
- SANCTIFYING GRACE RESTORED. Also, sanctifying grace is restored to the soul.
- HUMILITY. It takes humility to confess well. Therefore, as we grow in humility of heart, let us remember that Jesus loves those who are humble of heart.
- CAPTIVES SET FREE. Sin is slavery and confession sets the captive free!
- PEACE OF SOUL. Sin robs our soul of peace. Confession, on the contrary, restores peace.
- JOY IN THE LORD. Another rotten fruit of sin is sadness. Confession fills our hearts with joy in God’s presence.
- SELF-KNOWLEDGE. Furthermore, by frequent confession we increase in self-knowledge and can avoid future falls.
- PURITY OF SOUL. Our soul becomes more pure and our prayer life improves.
- BETTER HOLY COMMUNIONS. Saint Ignatius makes an intimate connection between making a good confessions and better Communions. The more clear the soul, the more abundant the Eucharist sun can shine in that soul!
CONCLUSION. In conclusion, we hope that all who have prayerfully read this short catechism on the Sacrament of Confession will feel motivated to approach the throne of God’s Infinite mercy through this Sacrament and be able to taste and see the goodness and the mercy of God. May Our Lady of Divine mercy pray for us that we will trust totally in the mercy of Jesus in His Church and in the Sacrament of His Mercy, the Sacrament of Confession! Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; His mercy endures forever
Copyright 2020 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA