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It is impossible not to be struck by the epistle from today’s Mass:

Brothers and sisters:

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice.
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.

Ephesians 4:30-5:2

St. Paul gives us quite a tall order, and he frames it in our relationship with the Holy Trinity: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit,” “be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us.” We are all children of God, and naturally, how we treat each other is an integral part of how we relate to God–and vice versa. For if you love God and have a strong and true relationship with Him, you will be much more cognizant of how you treat other people, and all other things that He has created.

Probably the most difficult thing in the above scripture is to “[forgive] one another as God has forgiven you.” This is not a new idea, for it is part of the Lord’s Prayer: “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  It is also in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.”  And in other places in scripture, the point is made very clear: mercy comes to the merciful, and those who receive mercy are obliged to show mercy.  No Christian can claim ignorance of this teaching.

And yet, to forgive and to show mercy… I find it extremely difficult sometimes!  Even though I know how merciful God has been to me, and how merciful other people have been to me many times, and even though I know my obligation to forgive others… I often find it much easier said than done.  Fortunately, the priest spoke to this difficulty during his homily.  He said that forgiveness will almost always be willed long, perhaps very long, before it is felt–but that the will to forgive is the more important of the two, and that God will always accept and work with a willingness to forgive.  It might take a long time before the heart catches up with the mind–but that is often true.

So, we should not worry nor fear nor be anxious if we don’t immediately “feel like” forgiving somebody, or even feel like we can forgive them.  God in His wisdom has made a point of drilling it into our minds that we need to forgive others, and that forgiving others is the best thing for us.  Even if we feel a great aversion to forgiving, we should offer it up to God, saying, “Lord, you know how greatly I am suffering from what so-and-so did to me, and that I’m having a very hard time forgiving them.  But I want to forgive them.  Please help me do so, and to heal from the sufferings they’ve caused me.”  I pray this way often.  And gradually, I do find healing and find that I am able to move beyond whatever injury I’ve suffered.

It’s not easy, but it’s far better than allowing “bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling … along with all malice” to dwell within us and fester.  Those things are the raptor claws of the devil that inject poison into us and seek to tear us from God’s side forever.  It’s far better to just try your best to forgive–no matter how feeble you may think your efforts are.  God will not let them go to waste.

This is one of my favorite quotations ever.  My mind comes back to it frequently, as I learn the truth of it again and again:

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, 1596.

Just as the Saints pray for us, we on earth can pray for the poor souls in Purgatory.  And more than that, we can also obtain indulgences for them that can partially or completely free them from their purgation!  This is a tremendous act of mercy that can nourish the sainthood within each of us.

1 – 8 November:

An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed.

The indulgence is plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; on other days of the year it is partial.

2 November:

A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who on the day dedicated to the Commemoration of all the faithful departed, piously visit a church, a public oratory or — for those entitled to use it — a semipublic oratory.

In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, according to Norm 16 of the same Apostolic Constitution, that “one Our Father and the Creed be recited.”

Here is more information about plenary indulgences and how they may be obtained.  Let us revive this tradition and partake in the rich graces of our Lord and Church!

Just think of all the poor souls who have nobody to pray for them after they die… perhaps they have no family or friends left… perhaps their surviving loved ones do not believe in Purgatory and in praying for the dead… perhaps their surviving loved ones simply haven’t been educated about Purgatory and praying for the dead.

Remember that the poor souls cannot pray for themselves (they can, however, pray for us, and especially for those who pray for them).

For their sake and the sake of our own souls, let us pray and obtain those indulgences!  If you don’t think you are in a state of grace to obtain a plenary indulgence, ask for it anyway!  Something I always say to God when I am asking for indulgences for the poor souls is:

Lord, I know I am not worthy to obtain such a blessed gift, but I pray that You may overlook my unworthiness and look instead to those poor souls who are suffering and yearning so greatly to be in Your presence at last!

If you are seeking a plenary indulgence for yourself, of course, then you want to make sure you have fulfilled all the requirements.

Note that you cannot obtain indulgences for other living persons.  Only for yourself and for the poor souls in Purgatory.

This question, among other things, is raised in the comments at this post.

It is a good question in that it has forced me to articulate ideas that I normally don’t feel a need to articulate because I tend to take them for granted.

As always, you are welcome and encouraged to join in the conversation.  :)

I have of late encountered a great deal of cynicism and argument about an idea I have always considered simple common sense and quite a fundamental principle for life: the idea that we should love people even though we may consider their actions or thoughts or beliefs wrong.  Love sinners but hate sin, to paraphrase St. Augustine.

I lived by this principle when I was not a Christian.  I live by it more  fully now that I am a Christian.  And I am rather at a loss to understand what is so difficult about it.

Sins can always be repented of.

Thoughts and behaviors can always change.

But people are always people.

There is no person alive who is never sinful and never wrong. 

There is also no person alive who is never good and never right.

If we remember these things, then we can very easily know how to hate sins but love sinners.  We can know how to hate certain thoughts and behaviors but still love the thinkers and the doers.

This all seems pretty evident to me.

But perhaps it’s not really a matter of genuine cynicism or difficulty.  Perhaps it is simply a quick and easy defense mechanism to say, “You can’t love me if you think I am so wrong or so bad” or “If you hate what I do/think/believe, then you must hate me.”  Perhaps it is easier than dealing with the apparent paradox of being loved by somebody who also thinks you are wrong.  Perhaps it is easier to resent that love instead of accepting it.

I see it was only a little over a year ago when I last wrote on this topic.  Well, I’m in a similar situation once again.  At a point last week, weakness led me to a state of mortal sin.

At this point in my life, it is always a shocking and painful experience when I realize my bond with God has been severed over some foolish, selfish indulgence of a temptation.  It is utterly humiliating to wake up in the Enemy’s bedchamber and know that I went there of my own free will, abandoning the secure castle of my Lord and Father for some promise of luxury and pleasure–a false promise my mind should have easily seen through, and my love and faithfulness should have easily demolished.  It is an almost unbearable pain to find the dagger of betrayal in my own bloody hand.

But before long, the aftermath of mortal sin brings one to a stark moment of decision: continue to wallow in your own filth, compounded with self-pity and self-hatred, and thus surrender in despair to the Enemy… or rise to your feet to return to your Lord and Father and beg His forgiveness.  At this point, we all become the Prodigal Son in Christ’s parable, and if there is any shred of conscience, intellect, and love left, we know there’s only one correct choice.

We cry to God and place ourselves at His mercy.  We acknowledge how wrong we were and how much we depend on Him for health, sanity, happiness, security, and wholeness.  If nothing else, we do it because we realize how much better we are in His castle than in the Enemy’s infernal palace.  If nothing else, we do it out of base fear of the Enemy.  That is not the best and noblest of motivations, but it suffices for our merciful and compassionate Lord to gather us back into His arms and the safe confines of His castle.

We rightly rejoice in His goodness and love and praise Him. One of the Psalms in this morning’s Divine Office captures the entire experience–both the pleading and the praising–very well:

Psalm 86
The prayer of the poor man in distress
Blessed be God who comforts us in all our trials
(2 Corinthians 1:3, 4).

Turn your ear, O Lord, and give answer
for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am faithful;
save the servant who trusts in you.

You are my God, have mercy on me, Lord,
for I cry to you all the day long.
Give joy to your servant, O Lord,
for to you I lift up my soul.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving,
full of love to all who call.
Give heed, O Lord, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my voice.

In the day of distress I will call
and surely you will reply.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord;
nor work to compare with yours.

All the nations shall come to adore you
and glorify your name, O Lord:
for you are great and do marvelous deeds,
you who alone are God.

Show me, Lord, your way
so that I may walk in your truth.
Guide my heart to fear your name.

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart
and glorify your name for ever;
for your love to me has been great:
you have saved me from the depths of the grave.

The proud have risen against me;
ruthless men seek my life;
to you they pay no heed.

But you, God of mercy and compassion,
slow to anger, O Lord,
abounding in love and truth,
turn and take pity on me.

O give your strength to your servant
and save your handmaid’s son.
Show me the sign of your favor
that my foes may see to their shame
that you console me and give me your help.

I have confessed my sin to God and implored His forgiveness, and I believe I have received His forgiveness and had our broken bond mended. That is where I am now.  But as Catholic, I find that my heart still yearns for something.  It longs to make a more formal, mature, and responsible pledge of fealty to its Lord.  It longs to actively re-dedicate itself to Him and His service.  And because it is still human flesh, it also desires a more concrete and more certain expression of God’s healing and restoration.

To quench these yearnings, only one thing will do: namely, the Sacrament of Confession.  To confess my sins in my own human voice to one of God’s ordained priests, and to hear in the priest’s human voice that my sins are absolved–these are necessary for my well-being, as I have found time and time again.  I cannot over-emphasize how salutary this holy Sacrament is!

Moreover, it is a duty and a privilege to which I am bound as a member of the Church.  It must be understood that for Catholics, there is no division, no dichotomy, between God and His Church.  He is the Church’s Head, and the Church is His Body.  Only a gruesome decapitation could cause such a division.  In being bound to the Church, I am bound to God, and vice versa.  In doing my duty to the Church, I do my duty to God, and vice versa.  If the Church requires me to confess to a priest, I do not doubt for a moment that it is because God desires it.

To me, it is absolutely clear why He would desire it–as I said, I have experienced over and over how very good and necessary it is for me.  But God is more than a physician who hands me a prescription.  He is a loving Father who wishes me to possess some of His own freedom and dignity.  Presenting myself to Him in the Sacrament of Confession provides me with that freedom and dignity.  That is why it is not only a duty but also a privilege.  It is a privilege to actively co-operate in re-forging the bond between Him and myself.  It is a privilege to know that God loves me so much and regards me so much as His own child, that He calls me to take action, as well as to be a passive recipient of His grace.

As I always say, it is not an either-or situation, but a both-and situation.  Love can never be one-way or one-sided.  My going to the Sacrament of Confession is a free act of love and obedience to God, just as His granting of mercy is a free act of love and providence to me and to everybody who prays to Him.

I am still in need of going to the Sacrament… like last time, various circumstances have conspired against it.  Hopefully tomorrow evening!  I really, really, really need to receive Holy Communion!  I never realize how much it means to me until I’m in a situation where I cannot receive it.  Please pray for me as I ride out this little interval.

Tomorrow will be 2 months since my father passed away.  It’s been just a little over 5 years since my fiance passed away.  I knew that the two griefs would be very different, just as the two men and the relationships I had with each of them were very different.  But I’ve been pretty amazed by just how vastly different the experiences have been.

The diversity of grief is quite impressive.  I say this in the same way that I say I was impressed and fascinated by the power of the shingles virus as the disease wreaked havoc and pain on my body.  If you can just distance yourself a little from the situation, even the worst, most painful things can fill you with wonder.  I’ve always been rather reflective upon my sufferings.

One thing I’ve been reflecting upon lately is the difference that faith has made in my experiences of grief.  When my fiance died, I was without faith–but in fact, that loss gained faith back to me.  In grieving my father’s death, I have found myself faced with a far greater challenge: maintaining my faith.

The work of grieving can always be likened to walking through a dark valley.  Back then, my faith was like a glowing torch, suddenly burst forth in the darkness.  It was something new.  Now, my faith has grown and matured, and at its center is the Cross.  And it’s heavy.  And Satan is working very hard to get me to drop it.  He’s trying very hard to convince me that God is not with me.  “If He were with you, you wouldn’t be suffering so much.”

What a conniving and sometimes strong temptation that is.  But how false!  How false it is to assume that God exists to take away our pain, and that if He doesn’t then He either doesn’t exist or is a big old meanie.  We are not ourselves without pain.  And the reason for that is not that God is a sadist who created us to suffer.  The reason for that is that we allowed ourselves to be destroyed by Satan.

No, God does not rid us of pain.  But He does free us of it.  There’s a big difference between those two.  We each carry our cross because God has given it to us.  Not because He’s a big old meanie, but because He first carried His for us.  That we must carry our crosses, that we must experience pain and suffering, are simply a matter of justice.  He willingly experienced pain and death because of our wrongs.  But justice demands that we each also bear the consequences of our wrongs.  There is nothing mean or unfair about this demand.  Understanding this simple principle of justice can take a lot of bitterness out of our sufferings… if we let it.

But what really frees us from pain is the perfect mercy that balances out God’s perfect justice.  He is never more merciful to us than when we attempt to suffer pains patiently and humbly, as He did.  How do we suffer well?  First of all, we don’t give into that dreadful temptation to blame or to dismiss God.  Rather, we spit in Satan’s eye and tell him we’d much rather suffer under our crosses than to lounge beside the lake of fire!  (Note: getting angry at Satan and telling him where to go is a great stress reliever.)

We simply have to refuse to reject God.  That’s all we may be able to do during painful times.  And it is enough.  God doesn’t ask more.  He is never unfair, never unreasonable, and certainly never cruel.  He never exploits our weaknesses nor demands the impossible, but rather understands and has compassion for our weaknesses.  He always bears the brunt of our burdens–here and now as much as at Calvary all those centuries ago.

So, while I am undeniably experiencing pain, I am also experiencing God’s mercy and love.  While I sometimes feel tempted to reject God, I am blessed with the freedom to say no to Satan.  Really, why on earth would I go groveling after the one who brought ruin upon our race in the first place?  I much prefer to walk through the dark valley with God.

Related Post:

Suffering well

The incredible thing about the Divine Office is that it never grows stale.  No matter how many times I may cycle through the weeks and the liturgical seasons, the prayers never cease to touch me and speak to me.  Sometimes they comfort me.  Sometimes they convict me.  Today, it was a little of both.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the Invitatory Psalm, Psalm 95.  And yet this morning, it really struck me.

“Do not grow stubborn as your fathers did in the wilderness,
when at Meriba and Massah they challenged Me and provoked Me,
although they had seen all of My works.

They are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know My ways.”

These familiar words really panged my heart.  Heaven knows that I have been known to be stubborn, even before God.  My heart has gone astray more than once.  And despite knowing how good God has been to me, I have doubted.  Perhaps some of the pangs I felt were personal remorse.  And then, there is the remorse I feel on behalf of the culture in which I live.  Talk about stubbornness and going astray, challenging and provoking.  It’s the Western way these days, I’m afraid.

This evening, Psalm 46 made me think of the horrible suffering in Haiti, after that devastating earthquake, while also being a fervent expression of hope and trust:

God is for us a refuge and strength,
a helper close at hand, in time of distress:
so we should not fear though the earth should rock,
though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea,
even though its waters rage and foam,
even though the mountains be shaken by its waves.

I know that’s pretty easy to say here where I am, where the earth has not in fact rocked and quaked and engulfed and trapped and killed. If I were in Haiti right now, I might find no comfort or hope at all in those words. I might not feel that God was with me at all in my time of distress.

More than anything, I feel that this is a call for me, and for all of us, to do everything we can to let our suffering brothers and sisters in Haiti see and feel and hear God and His love through us.   To let them know that they are not alone or abandoned.  Most of us cannot be there in person, but we can support and supply the people who are there giving assistance in person.

I feel this calling very strongly.  To give prayers, to give money.  My local bishop is calling for special collections to be taken for relief in Haiti; I think the same is true in dioceses across the country and around the world.  I’m sure that non-Catholics are finding ways to help too.

It’s a tragedy that such catastrophes must occur and cause so much suffering.  But tragedies can also break us from our stubbornness, our pride, our blindness.  They can shake down the walls of complacency and self-centeredness.  They can bring forth wellsprings of mercy and charity.  They can bring us closer to God and His ways than ever.  They can inspire us to imitate Him, to make His presence known and felt in the world.

To do so is a tremendous privilege.  In helping bring Him to others, we can become closer to Him ourselves.  We can also make amends for our failings as individuals and as nations.

Also, I would like to remind my Catholic readers that in addition to helping provide material assistance, we can also give our prayers and good works to assist those who have died in this disaster.  We can seek indulgences for those dear souls who may be suffering in Purgatory now.  We can provide real, first-hand aid to them!  A kind of aid that would not even occur to many people, or in which many people do not believe.  Praying for the dead is a very important and much-needed act of mercy!

The first week of November is dedicated in a special way to remembering the dead, and especially the poor souls in Purgatory.  There are plenty of opportunities to seek plenary indulgences especially for the poor souls.  We should take special advantage of this time, perchance to bring eternal peace and joy to suffering souls.

Catholics can do more than simply say, “Rest in peace.”  We can take action.  And to do so is a noble act of charity and mercy.

From the Enchiridion of Indulgences:

1-8 Nov.:  Visit a cemetery

An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed.

The indulgence is plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; on other days of the year it is partial.

2 Nov.:  Visit a church or oratory

A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who on the day dedicated to the Commemoration of all the faithful departed, piously visit a church, a public oratory or — for those entitled to use it — a semipublic oratory.


In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, according to Norm 16 of the same Apostolic Constitution, that “one Our Father and the Creed be recited.”

5 Nov.:  First Thursday during the Year for Priests.  See this post for more information.

And for more information on indulgences in general, see this post!  Recall that there are special conditions to receive a plenary indulgence (if these are not fulfilled, the indulgence will be partial).  Also, it is possible to obtain only one plenary indulgence per day, but if we all unite our efforts, we can make a huge difference!

I attended my first High Mass in the Extraordinary Form (EF) this morning.  It was glorious!  I’ve been wanting to attend one for a while now, but there’s a story behind why I went today.

Basically, I did something really stupid last night, such that I really, really needed to go to Confession before Mass!  The only priest I could think of who offers Confession before Sunday Mass was our FSSP chaplain.  So I dragged myself out of bed before 6, and mustered up my courage to go to a new place, for a new kind of Mass, and to confess to a new priest.

I got to the monastery chapel where the Sunday EF Masses are said, and I got there in plenty of time.  But I couldn’t tell where the confessional was, and I had not seen the priest around.  I finally asked a young man sitting behind me, and he told me I needed to go outside to an adjoining building.  Well, by the time I got there, there was quite a line.  And about 20 minutes until Mass was to start.  The priest had to cut us off.

I stood there, crestfallen and uncertain what I should do.  The young lady who’d been in line ahead of me told me that Father also hears confessions after that Mass.  That was well and good, but I felt I would have to refrain from receiving the Eucharist if I confessed after Mass.  I thought about going somewhere else, in hopes of possibly finding a priest to hear my confession.

But I felt oddly compelled to attend the high Mass.  It was something more than interest or curiosity that compelled me.  Something much more powerful… something supernatural, which came from within me and from without at the same time… if that makes sense.  The phrase I have long used for it is a gravity upon my soul.  An ineffable, external force which also ignites a great longing within my soul, a willingness and eagerness to respond to the force.

So I walked back over to the chapel, which by that time was standing-room only.  I stood in the doorway, not sure where I should go or whether I could possibly find a seat.  I was feeling very uncomfortable and hot and self-conscious.  Honestly, I just wanted to disappear, and in fact, I was about to turn and slink away when a young man came and told me there was a seat up front.  I didn’t like the idea of having to refrain from Communion in front of the entire chapel (as if it were all about me, right?).  But I also didn’t want to be ungrateful for the consideration shown to me.  I hesitated, but again, I felt that compulsion.

I followed the boy to the empty spot, sat down and tried to pray, fumbled around for my missal.  All while being devastated that I couldn’t in good conscience receive Communion.  I felt sort of like there was an earthquake going on inside me.  I wondered if the people around me could tell–it seemed impossible that they couldn’t.

And then…

And then the music began, organ and choir.  A simple hymn before Mass, but it was so beautiful that I could imagine the angels in Heaven appearing and becoming audible.  Then a bell rang, and the splendidly-attired servers and priest filed in.  The priest began the chanting of the Asperges Me, and the choir and congregation took it up while the priest sprinkled holy water on everybody.  I recognized the text of the antiphon as a passage from that most excellent prayer of penitence, Psalm 51:

Thou shalt sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall become whiter than snow.
(Angelus Press 1962 missal translation)

As I felt a small shower of water come down around me, I felt God’s mercy wash over me.

And I was transported.  Transported out of my worry and discomfort, transported out of my nervousness and the internal earthquake.  Transported out of everything dark and worrisome and into a marvelous light.  The chanting, the Latin language, the incense, the splendor of the chapel and the vestments and the finely choreographed movements… it all transported me.  It wasn’t about me at all, and yet I found myself in a most wonderful place.  “It is good that I am here,” I thought, echoing the sentiments of St. Peter as he stood before the transfigured Christ, dazed but fully conscious of the blessing he had received.

Yes, of course, I found the liturgy a bit strange and hard to follow along with (I still find even the low Mass challenging at times).  But it didn’t matter.  I was aware of what was going on.  A great mystery, to be sure, but a mystery into which we are meant and indeed created to enter, without fear or hesitation.  I had been compelled to do just that, and I was now part of it in some small way.  What my feeble mind didn’t grasp, my soul certainly did.  It resonated with every sound, smell, sight, and motion.

And then there were the Scripture readings and the homily.  As I listened, I thought and prayed:  “OK, Lord, so this is why You compelled me.  This is all exactly what I needed to hear, and what You wanted to tell me.”  We heard Galatians 5:16-24, where St. Paul speaks of the works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit and how we must live in the Spirit and crucify our flesh together with Christ.  Yes… I suppose I needed that reminder.  The Gospel was Matthew 6:24-33, where Christ warns that one cannot serve both God and mammon, and that if we have faith and trust in God, we will not be anxious about provisions for the needs of the flesh, for God knows us and provides for us, as He does for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field–and then some.  “Seek ye therefore first the Kingdom of God, and His justice; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Yes… I definitely needed that reminder!

As part of his homily upon these exhortations, Father encouraged us to pray the Rosary.  It was probably the best and most inspiring preaching on the Rosary I’ve heard!  It really moved me, almost to tears.  My prayer life of late has been… shall we say… a bit weak.  Not because I’ve been unable to pray, but, honestly, because I just haven’t made praying a priority.  (Gosh, maybe that’s why I’ve been falling to pieces lately.  Do you think?)

The Mass proceeded.  I implored the Lord for a spiritual Communion.  After Mass came Adoration and Benediction.  I once again bewailed my sins and begged for mercy.  I was still painfully aware of my separation from Him.  And the fact that it was I, not He, who had caused it.  A hard conviction to pass upon oneself.  But not a death sentence.  God doesn’t hand out death sentences (despite some all-too-popular misconceptions about Him).  Rather, I felt Him say to me, “My child, I know that you came here to be reconciled, and although things have not gone as planned, I have kept you here so that you might receive hope, healing, and encouragement to sustain and re-fortify you.”  I thanked Him profusely and reaffirmed my intention to get to Confession as soon as possible and to do better.  I marveled at how He brought that beautiful morning from the previous day’s pitiful failing.

I tried to go to Confession again after Mass, but again, there were too many penitents and not enough time.  At the time, I was still disconsolate about it.  But I decided that I would wait until Tuesday morning and go to Confession at my parish church, to my parish priest, my usual confessor.  And in the meantime, I would trust in God’s tremendous mercy and providence.

That’s what I am doing now, and with considerable peace of mind, thanks be to God. But perhaps that raises another question:  So, why go to Confession anyway? I’ll address this question in a separate post.  I was planning a similar post anyway, and what happened today provides a good context for it.

Let me just close by saying:

1. Mortal sin IS. NOT. WORTH. IT. So avoid it at all costs and save yourself a whole lot of grief!

2. But if you can’t avoid it, DO. NOT. DESPAIR. Be humble, honest, and contrite before God, and get to Confession ASAP!

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