Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"Reconciliation and Penance"

Penance Service tonight, 7:30 p.m., SAA Church.
Here are some excerpts from Pope John Paul II's beautiful apostolic exhortation, "Reconciliation and Penance" (1984), # 29-31:

"In the fullness of time the Son of God, coming as the lamb who takes away and bears upon himself the sin of the world appears as the one who has the power both to judge and to forgive sins, and who has come not to condemn but to forgive and save.

Now this power to 'forgive sins' Jesus confers through the Holy Spirit upon ordinary men, themselves subject to the snare of sin, namely his apostles: "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" (John 20:22-23). This is one of the most awe-inspiring innovations of the Gospel! He confers this power on the apostles also as something which they can transmit-as the church has understood it from the beginning-to their successors, charged by the same apostles with the mission and responsibility of continuing their work as proclaimers of the Gospel and ministers of Christ's redemptive work.

Here there is seen in all its grandeur the figure of the minister of the sacrament of penance who by very ancient custom is called the confessor.

Just as at the altar where he celebrates the eucharist and just as in each one of the sacraments, so the priest, as the minister of penance, acts 'in persona Christi' The Christ whom he makes present and who accomplishes the mystery of the forgiveness of sins is the Christ who appears as the brother of man, the merciful high priest, faithful and compassionate, the shepherd intent on finding the lost sheep, the physician who heals and comforts, the one master who teaches the truth and reveals the ways of God, the judge of the living and the dead, who judges according to the truth and not according to appearances...

The truths mentioned above, powerfully and clearly confirmed by the synod and contained in the propositions, can be summarized in the following convictions of faith, to which are connected all the other affirmations of the Catholic doctrine on the sacrament of penance.

The first conviction is that for a Christian the sacrament of penance is the primary way of obtaining forgiveness and the remission of serious sin committed after baptism. Certainly the Savior and his salvific action are not so bound to a sacramental sign as to be unable in any period or area of the history of salvation to work outside and above the sacraments. But in the school of faith we learn that the same Savior desired and provided that the simple and precious sacraments of faith would ordinarily be the effective means through which his redemptive power passes and operates.

It would therefore be foolish, as well as presumptuous, to wish arbitrarily to disregard the means of grace and salvation which the Lord has provided and, in the specific case, to claim to receive forgiveness while doing without the sacrament which was instituted by Christ precisely for forgiveness. The renewal of the rites carried out after the council does not sanction any illusion or alteration in this direction. According to the church's intention, it was and is meant to stir up in each one of us a new impulse toward the renewal of our interior attitude; toward a deeper understanding of the nature of the sacrament of penance; toward a reception of the sacrament which is more filled with faith, not anxious but trusting; toward a more frequent celebration of the sacrament which is seen to be completely filled with the Lord's merciful love."


At 12:27 PM, Anonymous MORTAL SIN? VENIEL SIN? said...

I have been a Catholic for a long time, but I have trouble with mortal and veniel sins? Okay, I get that a drive by shooter is committing a mortal sin. I am talking about mortal sins of ordinary law abiding citizens So many sins seem to fall in the gray zone. For instance, missing Sunday Mass.....I know that's a mortal sin. What if unexpected events happen on that day? Kids get sick or extended family requires your time. You plan all day on getting there, but it just doesn't happen.

Does any one else have this issue? What about the Holy Spirit? Should we pray to the Holy Spirit to show us our sins?

At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like going to confession because I am afraid I am going to get yelled at.

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anon,

From a personal perspective, the sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament of mercy & forgiveness. Yet we all need some direction on how to avoid our sins. I have never been yelled at in confession. Don't worry! Most people are nervous. Just think of all the junk priests hear in confession. I have never heard any of the them yelling. Receiving absolution is absolutely awesome and worth overcoming our fears. Don't let fear keep you away. Regular reconciliation will change your life. Praying for you!

At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all bloggers,

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!


At 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do some say that despair is a sin? It doesn't make sense to me. A person does not will or intend it.

At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

The feeling of hopelessness isn't a sin. Feelings can't be sins.

But people can also choose to believe that there is no hope God will forgive them. As the Catechism says, this "is contrary to God's goodness, to his justice - for the Lord is faithful to his promises - and to his mercy."

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

To anon who asks about despair......very few of us live a full life without experiencing despair. Stay close to the sacraments _Mass, Reconciliation, Adoration. Pray..........and then give it all to Jesus. Praying for you. Despair - lack of hope is a very hard place to be. Also people are very busy preparing for Christmas, and a lot of us are guilty of not reaching out to those who struggle especially in this season.
I hope any bloggers who read this will remember those who are grieving, alone, poor, and ill during this season. God bless, Kelly

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for reminding us to remember the poor, ill, afraid etc. We all get so caught up in the excitement of the season we forget those who are unable to celebrate. I have a friend who has Chrone's disease (sp?) and in a very short time had lost 75 pounds. While she was in the hospital (I didn't know her until later) she told me how alone she felt lying all alone with no one to visit her because her little family had passed away when she was still very young and the only person who was left was an elderly aunt who could not drive. Thank god she is doing alright now but there are still countless of people who aren't. Let's not forget them during the season and the rest of next year.

At 8:05 PM, Anonymous don't be scared said...

"I don't like going to confession because I am afraid I am going to get yelled at."


I have never heard of a priest yelling at a person who is confessing.

At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did all the people who used to write early on this blog go? How come they no longer write here at all? I have been wondering this for a long time.

Well its been fun guys but I gotta go buy my last gifts.

At 8:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the title "When is Enough. Enough?" Interesting thing is it can pertain to so many things in life isn't it?

At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am reading a book that has that title.

At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Bob said...

I think it is common to avoid confession due to a fear of being yelled at but if you actually go to confession you'll find that this is a "myth." I have never been yelled at, although I have been challenged to build a stronger union with God. I avoided confession for 20 years but returned when my children began preparing for the Sacrament. At her first Penance service, my 7 year old noticed that I didn't go to confession and asked why I stayed in my pew. I was going to explain why but it dawned on me that I can't expect my child to ever use this great Sacrament if I wasn't an example to her of regularly confession. Into the confessional I went after 20 years. Yes, I feared the Priest. Instead, he was a gentle Father who completely understood my fear and listened as I "came clean" on my prior 20 years. To my amazement, I left the confessional feeling bouyant and happy. A great burden was lifted from me. I had no idea how free I would feel once I got back into God's grace. I now go to confession regularly as a way to return to God's grace and to have a way to examine my conscience. I ALWAYS feel great afterward.

At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Saku said...

I like the title "When is Enough. Enough?" Interesting thing is it can pertain to so many things in life isn't it?

I overheard two kids (under the age of 10 in a store last night) talking about what they were getting for Christmas. One said a television set to put in his room. The other child said "That's all?" The first one answered " I wanted more but I know I won't and it isn't fair!"

All I could think of was "Wow! That is so sad. When is "Enough-Enough?"

Part of our Christmas will be spent in a soup kitchen helping to serve food to the homeless. My neiece and nephews (all under the age of 10) will be there helping where they can and also seeing how lucky they are to have a roof over their heads, food, clothing "and" some gifts.

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally when did confession come about? You don't hear about it in the bible or do you? Just interested from a historical perspective.

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

am sure some of them are around in one form or another or went anonymous. I do like Fr. G's Idea a few weeks ago of typing our names in so that we arn't all Anons. It does seem to build a community. You just click "other" insted of anonymous and type in a name or type your name at the end of the comment.

I like the idea also because all these anons are getting confusing.

At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Should we pray to the Holy Spirit to show us our sins?"

I will be because half the time I don't know what my sins are and if they are mortal or veniel. I know the definition of mortal sins is in the archive post somewhere.

Likes to write on the blog

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, oh, one last thing! I am reading a great book and the author says how the "kids" who grew up in the 70s and 80s really didn't get a good religious formation if they didn't attend Catholic school (so true!!!). My answer to this (if you have the time) is to become a Catechist. In order to teach you have to know what you are talking about.


At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like going to confession because I am afraid I am going to get yelled at.

I went and he basically told me to knock it off in a nice way.

Eek, look at the time!

At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In ancent times confession was a public thing one did infront of everyone."

Oh man talk about embarrassing! At least when we go to confession its in front of "one" person.

At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Notebook to write in to God from the Gathering Space.



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