These are the Sacraments
arrow002.gif (3348 bytes)(Penance)

The Mystical Press and Christ in Glory - by Marco dal Pino (Marco da Siena) - from the Vatican Museum . . . . . .
Symbolic of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Depicts the Infinite Supply of Merits and Grace accumulated by the Sufferings of Jesus in order to:

Vivify the Seven Sacraments of the Church, Instituted by Christ;
Pay the Debt of Men's Sins;
Reconcile Men to God and Reopen the Gates of Heaven to Mankind;
Deliver Men from the Power of the Devil; and
Restore the Divine Life and Vision of God to Men.

 

eucharist3.gif (9262 bytes) All my Sermons are Prepared-in the Presence-of the Blessed Sacrament. As Recreation is most Pleasant and Profitable in the Sun, so Homiletic Creativity is best Nourished before the Eucharist. The most Brilliant Ideas come from meeting God Face-to-face. The Holy Spirit that Presided at the Incarnation, is the best Atmosphere for Illumination. Pope John Paul II keeps a small Desk or Writing Pad near him, whenever he is in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament; and I have done this all my life I am sure for the same Reason he does, because a Lover always works better, when the Beloved is with him.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

An Insightful Examination of the Seven Sacraments, by a future Saint

 

These are the Sacraments

as described by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D.

angelbar.gif (3645 bytes)

IV. The Sacrament of Penance

The Sacrament of Penance is for Spiritual Wounds received after Baptism. Original Sin was washed-from the Infant in Baptism, and in the case-of the Adult, Personal Sins as-well. But the Lord is Practical. He knows that the White Robe given-in Baptism, is not always kept Immaculate; that the "Just Man falleth Seven times a Day", and that the Offenses against us, should be Forgiven "Seventy times Seven". Therefore, in His Mercy, He Instituted a Sacrament which is a Tribunal of Mercy, for Spiritual Healing.

There have been those who say that there is no difference between the Sacrament of Penance and Psychoanalysis, because, in both, the Human Mind, when Disturbed, seeks to throw-off its Burden. True it is, that as the Hand will go-to the Eye, to provide Relief-from a Speck; so the Tongue will come-to the aid-of the Heart, to secure Relief. As Shakespeare put it: "My Tongue will tell the Anger of my Heart; Or else my Heart, concealing it, will Break". We are not here Criticizing the Psychoanalytic Method, but only the Error of saying that there is no Difference between it, and the Sacrament of Penance. But the Differences between Psychoanalysis and Confession are 'Enormous'.

 

Contrast of Psychoanalysis and Confession

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Body/Inferior Will/
Passions/Emotions/
Sensory Appetite/
**Sentient (sub) **Consciousness/
Memory/Imagination
(Subordinate-Partner)

Soul/Intellect/
**Human Mind
Reason/Grace/
Infused Knowledge/
**Conscience/
Heart
(Dominant Partner)

 

Psychoanalysis is the Avowal-of an Attitude-of Mind; Confession is an Avowal-of Guilt. The First, comes-from the Sub (Sentient) Consciousness, the Other from Conscience. A Person can be Proud-of his State-of Mind; some are Proud of being Atheists, or Immoral, or Gangsters. Many a Patient will tell a Psychiatrist, "Have you ever heard a Case like mine, Doctor?". On the contrary, no one is ever Proud of his Guilt. Even in Isolation, the Sinner is Ashamed. It takes no Courage to admit that One is "Mental", but Guiltless; but, it takes a Tremendous Amount-of Heroism, of which Few are capable, to take the Burden of One's own Guilt to Calvary and lay One's Hands at the Feet of the Crucified and say: "I am Responsible for this".

Psychoanalysis proceeds according-to a Theory, and not always One (1) Theory. Confession, however, is based upon Conformity or non-Conformity to the Absolute Standard of the Law of God. Psychoanalysis does not agree on a Particular Theory, by which a Mental State is to be Judged. There are Three (3) Main Theories:

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) One (1) attributes Mental Disturbances to Sex (Freud);

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) Another (2nd) to an Inferiority Complex (Adler); and

yellowdot.gif (100 bytes) the Third (3rd) to a Drive toward Security (Jung).

The Analyst, because he is guided-by a Theory, is never required-to have any Moral-fitness for his Task; his Personal, Ethical Right to receive Confidences, is never raised. He may be living-with his Sixth (6th) Wife, and yet advise People how to be Happy in Marriage.

confession-1.gif (55695 bytes) But in Confession, it is different. The deliverances-of the Penitent, are always on the Moral Plane -- not on the Psychological. The Penitent knows that he is before a Judgment, not a Theory; and that the Confessor who hears his Sins, stands in the place-of God. Because the Priest is the Mediator, between God and Man, the Church always asks that the Priest who Absolves the Penitent, be himself in the State of Grace; that is to say, a Participant-in Divine Life. The Avowal-of Guilt, therefore, on the part-of the Penitent, is not subject-to the Individual Whims, Theories, Idiosyncrasies, and Kinks of the One who hears it, but to the Divine Law, and to the Order and the Moral Standards of Christ, Who Taught that One must-be Holy, to-make Holy.

A Third (3rd) difference is that in Psychoanalysis, there is the Probing-by an Alien, or Outside Mind; in Confession, it is the Penitent himself, who is his own Prosecuting Attorney, and even his own Judge. In Analysis, there is often a seeking-out of Attitudes, to bolster-up a Theory; but in a Spontaneous Confession, the Penitent Analyzes his own Faults, and Confesses them, without having them Wander and Riot, in "Free Association", and then be submitted-to "Private Interpretation of the Subconscious", which took the place-of Private Interpretation-of the Bible. Man, naturally-accords Pardon to others who have done Injury, by a simple Avowal-of Faults, without someone else dragging them out. One Indispensable Condition of receiving Pardon in the Sacrament, is this Open Avowal of Guilt, such as the Prodigal Son made, when he returned again to the Father's House.

Another difference is that, what is told-in the Confessional is absolutely-Secret, and may never be-Divulged, or made part-of a Book, or turned-into a Case History, such as is often done with the Material that is brought-out in a Psychoanalytic Examination. The Offenses Man commits-against God, do not belong-to any Man; hence, he may not make-use-of them. The Material-of Confession belongs-to God, and Sins may never be-revealed-by the Confessor, until God does so, on the Day-of Judgment. The Confessor's Ears are God's Ears, and his Tongue may never speak what God has heard, through his Ears.

Another difference is in the Attitude that a Person assumes-in Confession and Psychoanalysis. In one instance, the Mentally Disturbed Person, is on a Couch; in Confession, he is on his Knees. There is a Passivity, about the Admission-of a Mental State on a Couch; but, there is a Humble Activity on the part of one who admits Moral Guilt, while on his Knees. In the Psychological Examination, there is never any such thing as Contrition or Satisfaction. In Confession, Sorrow and the making-up for our Sins, are Integral Parts-of the Sacrament. When One sees a string-of Confessional Boxes in a large Church, with Feet protruding-from under the Curtains, like Wiggling Worms, one realizes that Man has reduced himself, almost-to the Humble State of the Worm, in order that he might Rise-again, Restored to the Glorious Friendship of the Christ, Who Died for him.

A Final and Important difference between Psychoanalysis and Confession is this: in Psychoanalysis, the Admission-of Mental States, comes-from ourselves; in Confession, the Impetus or the Desire-to Confess our Sins, is from the Holy Spirit. The Night of the Last Supper, Our Blessed Lord said that He would send His Spirit "to Convict" the World of Sin (John 16:8). It is only through the Spirit of Christ, that we know we are Sinners, as we see our Lives in relationship-to the Cross. The Holy Spirit Summons the Soul to find its way back-to the Shelter-of the Father's Arms. When a Person is in Sin, he is in Exile-from Home, a Dweller-in a Foreign Land, who looks forward-to the Joy-of Return. It is an Urge, to share-in the Joy-of the Good Shepherd, as he carries-back the Lost Sheep and the Straying Lamb, to the Sheepfold of the Church.

The Reason this Summons must come-from God, is that we are Captives of Sin. Just as a Prisoner cannot release himself from the Chafing Bars or Chains, so neither can the Sinner, without the Power-of the Spirit. To God alone, belongs the Initiative in this Sacrament. It is His Voice which calls us to Repentance. We may make our Confessions because our Conscience urges us to do so, but the Voice that speaks to us is the Voice-of the Holy Spirit telling us of God's Mercy, and Love, and Righteousness. Under the Impetus-of the Holy Spirit, the Soul feels-like Lazarus, risen-from the Dead.

Summary - Contrast of Psychoanalysis and Confession

Psychoanalysis

Confession

Based on Theory
(Freud, Adler, Jung)

Based on the
Law of God

Avowal-of an Attitude-of Mind
(comes-from the Sub-Consciousness)

Avowal-of Guilt
(comes from Conscience)

No Moral Fitness required of Analyst.

State-of-Grace required by Priest.

Admission of Mental States comes
from Ourselves.

Desire to Confess our Sins is
from the Holy Spirit

Done on a Couch

Done on our Knees

May become a Case History,
or made part of a Book.

Absolutely Secret - The Material of Confession belongs only to God

Probing is done by an Alien/Outside Mind

Penitent accuses himself of Sin

Requires no Courage

Requires an Act of Heroism

Contrition not required

Sorrow and Satisfaction/Restitution required

 

Two Basic Requirements for the Sacrament

In order that there might be a Sacrament of Penance, Two (2) things are-required, both of which are, from a Human Point of View, almost impossible to find. First, One must Create the Penitent, and, Secondly, One must Create a Confessor. To Create a Penitent, One must take a Man in his Pride, enveloped-in a Glacial Silence, which refuses to Unburden its Guilt, and say to him: "Thou shalt come to a Man and Kneel before him -- a Man who is perhaps no better than you are -- and you shall tell him what you hide from yourself and your children. You shall tell him that which makes you Blush; and you shall do all of this on your Knees".

However Difficult it may be to Create a Penitent who will Confess Everything, with a Firm Purpose of Amendment, it is even more Difficult to-Create the Confessor. Where find One, empowered-by God with Authority-to Forgive Sins? How train the Human Heart to Heal the Wounds of others, and then Seal his Lips Forever, that what he has learned-as God's Representative, be never revealed-to Men?

Only God could bring these Two (2) Creations together, for outside-of His Power and Mercy, we would say: "Humanity is too Proud, you will never have Penitents"; "Humanity is too Indiscreet, you will never have Confessors". And yet, the Sacrament exists. There are Penitents, because there are Confessors, and there are Penitents and Confessors, because Christ is God.

 

The Sacrament Deals with Sins

Sin causes Dual (2) Conflict of Appetites and Wills
arrow_down.gif (1323 bytes) The Superior Will of Man is made to Lovingly serve the Divine Will of God

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Solely motivated by Love god_is_luv_ani.gif (9754 bytes)

Rational Appetite/
Superior Will

flash5.gif (18939 bytes)
Interior Battle of Wills

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Man's Superior Will being placed, as it were, Mid-Way between the Divine Will, which is above It - and the Inferior Will, or Will of the Senses, which is beneath It, is continually Assaulted in an Interior Battle of Wills by both Appetites and Wills; each seeking in turn to Attract and Subdue, and Bring It into Obedience.
arrow_up.gif (1330 bytes) Because of Original Sin, the Sensual Appetites and Inferior Will tend to serve their own Desires littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Commonly described by the Words: Body-Appetite, Flesh, Five-Senses, and Passion.

When a Baby is born, it is generally Healthy; but as time-goes-on, it becomes subject-to Diseases and Organic Troubles, which Oppress and Torment Life. In the Spiritual Order, too, though the Soul is made Clean and Free-from all Sin by Baptism, it nevertheless Contracts Stains and Spiritual Diseases during Life. These are known-as Sins. If the Sin is serious-enough to Rupture the Divine Life within, then it is called "Mortal", because it brings Death to the Life-of Christ, in the Soul. If the Wrong done, does not Destroy the Divine Life, but only Injures it, it is called "Venial".

A Serious Sin always produces-in the Soul, a Three-fold (3) Effect. The First, is Self-Estrangement. A Sinner feels, in his Inmost Being, like a Battlefield, where a Civil-War Rages. He no-longer is a Unit (1), but a Duality (2), in which Two (2) Forces within him, Struggle-for Mastery.

Serious Sin, estranges the Sinner from his Fellow Man, because a Man who is not at Peace with-himself, will not be at Peace with his Neighbor. World Wars are nothing-but the Projection, into Great Areas of the Earth's Surface, of the Psychic Wars, waging-inside of Muddled Souls. If there were no Battles going-on inside-of Hearts, there would be no Battlefields in the World. It was after Cain's Murder-of Abel, that he asked the Anti-Social Question, "Am I my Brother's Keeper?".

The most Serious Effect-of Sin is not Alienation-from Self, and from Fellow Man; it is the Estrangement-from God. Inasmuch as Grace is the Divine Life within the Soul, it follows-that a Serious Sin is the Destruction of that Divine Life. That is why the 'Epistle to the Hebrews' asks: "Would they Crucify the Son of God a Second Time, hold Him up to Mockery a Second Time, for their own ends?" (Hebrews 6:6). Sin, therefore, is a Second Death. The Merits we Gained, are Lost; but those Merits can be Regained, thanks to the Mercy of God, in the Sacrament of Penance.

 

Instituted by Christ

Supernatural Order
(Resides in the Essence of the Soul)

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Natural
Order

Supernatural
Order

Natural
Body
(Subordinate-Partner)

Natural
Soul
(Dominant Partner)

Supernatural Grace/Infused Virtues and Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Man is born a Rational Creature, with Body and Soul, into the Natural Order.
God first elevates Man to the Supernatural Order via the Sacrament of Baptism, which infuses Sanctifying Grace into the Essence of the Soul. The other Six (6) Sacraments can then elevate the Soul even Higher.
The Supernatural Order is the Ensemble of Effects exceeding the Powers of the Created Universe and Gratuitously produced directly by God for the purpose of raising the Rational Creature above its Natural Sphere to a God-like Life and Destiny.
Mortal Sin destroys/kills Man's entire Supernatural Order/Life. Man is no-longer a Temple of God. God is gone & resides no-longer in the Soul.
Only God can raise the Soul back-to-life from the Dead, via the Sacrament of Penance.

 

The Sacrament of Penance was Instituted-by Christ in the form-of a Judgment, for the Remission, through Sacramental Absolution, of Sins Committed after Baptism and granted-to a Contrite Person, Confessing his Sins.

All through the Old Testament there was a Preparation-for this Sacrament, inasmuch as God Strove-to Induce Men, to Acknowledge their Sins before Him. To Elicit a Confession, God said-to Adam: "Hast thou Eaten of the Tree?". God said-to the First Murderer: "Where is thy Brother?". In Mosaic Legislation, a Sinner brought a Sin Offering, which was burned-in a Public Place, to show that the Sinner was not Afraid-to Admit his Guilt. The Prophet, Nathan, heard David's Confession, after his Sin with Bethsabee, and Assigned-to him a Penance. John the Baptist heard the Confession-of those who came to hear him Preach. These were only 'Types' and 'Figures' of the Sacrament, that was-to-come, because Forgiveness became possible, only through the Merits of Our Lord's Passion.

No one questions the fact that Our Blessed Lord had the Power to Forgive Sins. The Gospels record the Miraculous Cure of the Paralytic at Capharnaum. Our Lord First told the Paralytic that his Sins were Forgiven him, whereupon those round-about, laughed-at Him. In response, the Savior told them that it was just as easy to Cure the Man, as it was to Forgive his Sins; so He Cured the Paralytic: "To convince you that the Son of Man has Authority to Forgive Sins, while He is on Earth" (Mark 2:10).

Our Blessed Lord was saying that God, in the Form-of Man, had the Power to Forgive Sins; that is to say, through the Instrumentality-of the Human Nature, which He received-from Mary, He was Forgiving Sins. Here is an Anticipation-of the fact that, it is through Humanity, that He will continue-to Forgive Sins; i.e., through those who are Endowed-with Sacramental Power to do so. Man cannot Forgive Sins, but God can Forgive Sins, through Man.

Our Lord promised to-confer this Power of Forgiveness, First of all to-Peter, whom He made the Rock-of the Church. He told Peter that He would Ratify in-Heaven, the Decisions which Peter, took-on Earth. These Decisions were explained-in Two (2) Metaphors-of "Binding", and "Loosing". The Power-of Jurisdiction, was given-to the One who had the Keys-of the Kingdom. This Promise, made to Peter, was followed-up a little later-on, by One made-to the Apostles. The Second (2nd) Promise did not bestow the Primacy, for that was reserved-to Peter. Our Lord told the Apostles:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "I came upon an Errand from My Father, and now I am sending you out in My Turn. With that, He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit; when you Forgive Men's Sins, they are Forgiven, when you hold them Bound, they are held Bound" (John 20:21-23).

Our Divine Redeemer, here says that He was-sent-by the Father; now He sends them, with the Power-to Forgive or not Forgive. These words imply "Hearing Confessions", because how would the Priests-of the Church know which Sins to Forgive, and which Sins not to Forgive, if they did not hear them?

One can be very sure that this Sacrament is not of Human Institution, for if the Church had invented any-of the Sacraments, there is One (1) that it certainly would have done-away-with, and that is the Sacrament of Penance. This, because-of the Trials that it imposes-upon those who have to-hear Confessions, sitting-in the Confessional Box for long-hours, while listening-to the Terrific Monotony of Fallen Human Nature. Because it is a Divine Institution -- what a Beautiful Opportunity it is to-Restore Peace to Sinners, and to-make them Saints!

It may be asked, why did Our Lord demand a Telling-of Sins? Why not bury One's Head in One's Handkerchief, and tell God that One is Sorry? Well, if this Method-of being Sorry is not Effective when we are caught-by a Traffic Policeman, why should it be Effective-with God? Shedding Tears in One's Handkerchief is no Test-of Sorrow, because we are then the Judges. Who would ever be sentenced-to Prison, if every Man were his own Judge? How easy it would be for Murderers and Thieves to escape Justice and Judgment, simply-by having a Handkerchief ready!

Because Sin is Pride, it demands a Humiliation, and there is no-Greater Humiliation than Unburdening One's Soul to a Fellow Man. Such Self-Revelation, Cures us of many a Moral Illness. Hurtful Things, often Hurt more, if they are Shut-up. A Boil can be Cured, if Lanced, to-release the Pus; so too is a Soul on the Pathway-to the Father's House, when it Admits-to its own Sin, and seeks Forgiveness. All Nature suggests an Unburdening-of Oneself. If the Stomach takes a Foreign Substance into it, which it cannot Assimilate, it Throws-it-off; so it is with the Soul. It seeks Deliverance-from that which Troubles it, namely the 'Unbearable Repartee' within.

Furthermore, when a Sin is Avowed and Admitted, it Loses its Tenacity. Sin is seen in all its Horror, when viewed in Relationship-to the Crucifixion. Suppress a Sin, and it becomes 'Buried', and later-on, will come-out in Complexes. It is very much like keeping the Cap on a Tube-of Toothpaste. If one submits it to Great Pressure, the Toothpaste will come-out somewhere; One does not know where. The Normal Place for it to come-out, is through the Top. So too, if we Suppress our Guilt, or Deny it, we put our Mind under-Pressure and it Creates Abnormalities. The Guilt does not come-out, where it ought to be, namely, in the Sacrament. Thus it was, that Lady Macbeth's Guilt came-out in the Washing-of Hands. It should have been her Soul that was-Washed, and not her Hands.

 

Confession to a Priest

It may be asked, why Confess one's Sins to a Priest? Maybe he is not as Holy as the Penitent. That indeed could be. But, though he is not Holier in his Person, he is Holier in his Powers, because Christ gave this Power to His Church -- only the Church claims it, and only the Church Exercises it. The Mayor of a Town may not be as-good-as some of the Citizens, but he has the Power which the Citizens do not; so it is with the Priest.

confession2.gif (11263 bytes) Furthermore, it is not the Priest who Absolves: he is only the Instrument-of Christ. Can Man, of-and-by himself, Forgive Sins? No! Can Man, United-to God, Forgive Sins? Yes! That is the Way, Christ the Son of God, Forgave Sins, through His Human Nature. That is the way He Forgave the Sins of Magdalene; that was the way He Forgave the Sins of the Paralytic; that was the way He Forgave the Sins of the "Thief on the Right". That Power, He gave-to His Church.

Because the Priest acts-in Christ's Name, he is bound-by the Seal of Confession. Not even, under the Penalty of Death, may he Reveal Sins that are Confided-to him, in Confession. As a Person, he has not heard any Sins. They are not a part-of his Knowledge. It was Christ, Who heard the Sin, and He alone, has Knowledge of it. Suppose a Murderer came-into a Rectory, and Confessed-to a Priest. On leaving the Priest, the Murderer shook-hands with him. After the Murderer left, the Police entered, found Blood-on the Priest's Hands, and accused him of the Murder. The Priest could not say: "It was the Man who just went out. I did not do it". He may not make any defense-of himself; nor may a Priest, outside the Confessional, ever speak-to that Person about his Sins. For example, he may not say to a Penitent, whom he meets-on the street, "Oh, did you ever pay back the hundred dollars you stole?". If someone Stole Money, from a Drawer in my Desk, and then Came and Confessed the Stealing of Money; I could Order the Money returned, but I would not be permitted-to Lock the Drawer, because that was Information which I gained-in God's Sacrament.

Another Reason for Confessing Sins to a Priest, is that no One (1) Sin is Individual. We are Members of the Mystical Body of Christ. If One (1) Member is Unhealthy, the Whole Body is Unhealthy. If we have an Earache, the Whole Body Suffers. Now, every Personal Sin has a Social Effect: all the other Cells-of the Body of the Church are Affected, because-of the Defect in this One (1) Cell. Every Sinner is Blameworthy, not only in-regard-to himself, but also in-regard-to the Church, and First and Foremost to God. If he is ever to-Recover, it can only be by the Intervention-of the Church, and by an Intervention-of God.

No Medicine will Act-on a Member-of the Body, unless the Body cooperates, in some way, with the Medicine. Because every Sin is against God and the Church, it follows that a Representative-of God and His Mystical Body, must Restore the Sinner again, to Fellowship. The Priest, acting-as the Representative-of the Church, welcomes-back the Penitent to the Community-of Believers. When Our Blessed Lord found the Lost Sheep, He Immediately Integrated them again, into His Flock:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "Jesus was to Die for the Sake of the Nation; and not only for that Nation's Sake, but so as to bring together into one all God's children, scattered Far and Wide" (John 11:52).

The Priest re-establishes the Sinner in Grace; he 'Restores' the Sinner to his Rights as a Son of the Eternal Father; he 'Reconciles' him, not only to God, but also to God's, Society-of the Church.

Definitions

There are Two (2) Societies which are Perfect the Church and the State:

The State is a Society aimed at the 'Temporal Welfare' of the Community
The Church is a Society aimed at the 'Spiritual Welfare' of its Members

The Social Nature of Penance is seen further, in the fact that the Penitent recognizes the Right-of the Mystical Body to Judge him, since it is through the Mystical Body, he is in-relation-with God. Forgiveness of Sin, then, is not just a matter between God and our Individual Souls. It is the Church, which has been Injured by Transgressions. Therefore, our Sins are not just our concern, they are the concern-of the Whole Church -- the Church Militant on Earth, and the Church Triumphant in Heaven.

 

The Examination of Conscience

Before the Penitent goes-into the Confessional Box, there is the Examination-of Conscience. This used to be a Daily Practice of Christians, and still is among many. It was not even unknown-to the Pagans. The Stoics, for example, recommended it. The Examination-of Conscience, centers not only on the Wrong we have done, but also on the Motivations. Our Blessed Lord, examining the Conscience-of the Pharisees, called them "Whited Sepulchres, clean on the Outside, but on the Inside, full of Dead Men's Bones". He pierced-beneath the Pretensions and Hypocrisies of their Prayers, their Almsgivings, and their Philanthropies; saying they did these things to be seen-by Men, and to-have a Human Reward -- and that is the only Reward they will ever receive. So in the Examination-of Conscience, all the Thoughts, Words, and Deeds of the Soul are Brought-to the Surface, Examined, and Considered, in Conformity-with the Law of God.

One of the differences between Psychoanalytic Examination and Examination-of Conscience, is that in the Former-one, stands in One's 'Own Light'; in the Examination-of Conscience, one stands in the Light-of-God. That is why Scripture says: "Search my Soul, O my God". The Divine Light, looks-into the Mind, takes the Mind off itself and its own False Judgments, and makes things appear as they Really-are; at the End, one does not say, "Oh, what a Fool I've been", but rather, "God, be Merciful, to me a Sinner".

Responsibility for Formation of Conscience belongs to:
Our Priest? No
The Pope? No
Our Parents/Family? No
The Church? No
Our Schools/Society? No
Ourselves? Yes

 

A day comes, when the Abused Conscience, will turn-with Fury and Harass its Victim, Tormenting his Waking Life and making his Dreams a Poison, and his 'Darkness' a Nightmare. When Night gives Inner-vision, Scope, the Guilty Conscience Lies-awake, Fearful of being known in its Ugliness. There is nothing that so much arouses an Unhealthy Fear, as a Hidden Guilt. As the Cock-Crowed, when Peter Denied Our Lord, so our Nature, Rises-in Revolt against us, when we have Denied the Lord of Conscience. Sins have a way of finding-us-out. Just as a Refusal-to Study-in childhood, begets an Ignorance, in Mature Life; so too, Sins which we Rationalize-away, are Thrust-down-into Unconsciousness, but somehow they make themselves felt, in our Health, our Mental Attitudes and our General Outlook on Life.

Alongside every Human Being, there are Three (3) Pools, each of which gives a Different Reflection. We look-into One (1st) Pool, and we are Pleased-with ourselves, because in that Pool we see ourselves as we Think, we are. In the Second (2nd) Pool, we see ourselves as our Neighbor sees us, or as our Press Clippings, reveal-us. In the Third (3rd) Pool, we see ourselves as God sees us, and as we Really-are. It is into this Third (3rd) Pool that Examination-of Conscience takes us, bringing-to the Surface, the Hidden Faults of the Day, discovering the Weeds that are Choking the Growth-of God's Grace, our Sins-of Omission, and Commission, the Good Deeds left undone, the Failure to-aid a Needy Neighbor, the Refusal-to offer a Word-of Consolation to One Burdened-with Sorrow, and Malicious Remarks, Lies, Acts-of Dishonesty, and the Seven Sins, which are the Enemy-of Peace: Self-Love, Inordinate Love of Money, Illicit Sex, Hate, Over-Indulgence, Jealousy, and Laziness.

Examination-of Conscience, also embraces what is called our Predominant Passion. Every Person has One (1) Sin which he Commits more than another. Examination-of Conscience, roots-out all our Self-Deception, for every Person has a little-corner in his Heart, he never wants anyone to Venture-into, even with a Candle. We say we are following our Consciences, when actually what we mean is that we are 'Making' our Consciences, and then following what we 'Made'. It is this kind of Deceit that is 'Unveiled' in the Examination, and, by Curing us of Self-Deception, it Cures us of Depression. Depression comes not from having Faults, but from Refusing-to Face them. What else is Self-Pity, but a total Unconcern with the Interests-of others?

It must not be thought that in the Examination-of Conscience, One concentrates-on his own Wounds; rather he concentrates-on the Mercy of God. A Sick Person thinks less-of his own Sickness, than the Physician who will 'Heal' him. The Examination-of Conscience develops no Complex, because it is done-in the Light of God's Justice. The 'Self' is not the Standard, nor is it the Source-of Hope. All Human Frailty and Human Weakness, are seen-in the Light of God's Infinite Goodness. Sorrow is Arouse, not because a Code has been Violated, but because Love has been Wounded. As an Empty Pantry drives the Housewife to the Bakery, so the Empty Soul is driven-to the Bread of Life. Examination-of Conscience, instead of inducing Morbidity, becomes an occasion-of Joy.

There are Two (2) Ways-of Knowing how Good, God is:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) One (1), is never to Lose Him, through the Preservation-of Innocence;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) the Other, is to find Him again, after He has been Lost.

There is no Self-Loathing, there is only a God-Loving Character, about the Examination-of Conscience. We put ourselves in God's Hand, as we would put a Broken Watch, in the Hand-of a Watch Maker, certain that he will not Ruin-it, but will make it Function-well.

The closer we get-to God, the more we see our Defects. A Painting reveals Few-Defects under-Candlelight, but the Sunlight may reveal it as a Daub. It is True, that we do find ourselves quite Unlovable, in the Examination-of Conscience, but it is this that makes us want-to Love God, because He is the only One, Who Loves the Unlovable.

When one has finished the Examination-of Conscience, there may be a 'Load', to drag-into the Confessional, which is sometimes called the "Box". If it is a "Box", it is not Pandora's, for at the bottom-of it, is Hope. Then we realize that we are bringing it to Christ Himself. It is Wonderful to know that there is One (1) Place where we can Taste the Freedom-of Heaven, where a Man can be-spared the Hypocrisy of Maintaining a Pose. There comes the Joy of knowing that neither the Penitent nor the Priest, ever Recalls the Sin Confessed. A Shutter-drops. 'Something' is put into a Well, and a Cover is laid on it Forever.

In the Early Church, Sins which were Committed-'Publicly', were Confessed-'Publicly'. This survives in the "Roman Pontifical", in a Ceremony called "The Expulsion of Public Penitents on Ash Wednesday"; another Ceremony is called, "The Reconciliation of Penitents on Maundy Thursday"; and still another Special Rite is used for the Absolution of those who have been 'Publicly' Excommunicated. Though Public Sins in the Early Church were Confessed 'Publicly', Secret Sins were Confessed 'Secretly', and under the Seal.

 

Sorrow for Sin: Contrition

The other Sacraments demand that the Subject has 'Proper Dispositions', but they do not Constitute the 'Matter' of the Sacrament. In Penance, Sorrow is not only a 'Condition', it is the 'Matter' itself; for without the Sorrow for Sin, Forgiveness is not Granted.

The Priest gives Absolution from Sins in the Sacrament, provided there is sufficient Sorrow of Mind, or Contrition, which is a Hatred-of the Sin Committed, with the Resolution not to Sin again. The word Contrition is taken from the Latin Word which means to Grind or Pulverize; in an Applied Sense, it means being Bruised in Heart. Contrition is a Sorrow of Mind, not an Emotional Outburst or Psychological Remorse.

The Prodigal Son had gone-through many Emotional Stages-of Remorse, particularly when he was Feeding the Swine, or realizing how much better the Servants in his Father's House were. But the real Sorrow did not come, until it Penetrated his Soul with the Resolution: "I will Arise and go to my Father".

Sometimes it is said that all a Catholic has to do is go to Confession and admit his Sins, and he will come-out White as Snow, and then continue Committing the same Sins. This is a Libel upon the Sacrament, for where there is no 'Purpose-of-Amendment', there is no Sorrow. The Sins of such a Penitent are not Forgiven. The Sorrow for Sin, necessarily-includes a 'Resolution' not to Sin again; this is not merely a 'Wish', which has no Relationship-to Practice. Part of the Act of Contrition, contains this Amendment: "And I Firmly Resolve, with the Help of Thy Grace, to Confess my Sins, to do Penance, and Amend my life. Amen". It means that Here-and-Now, we take the 'Resolution' not to Sin; we 'Resolve' to take all the Means necessary-for avoiding Sin in the Future, such as Prayer, and staying-away-from the Occasions of Sin. The Absolution will not be 'Efficacious', if there is not in the Sorrow, this Essential Element    a 'Purpose-of-Amendment'.

This does not imply an Absolute-Certitude, that no-one will ever Sin again, for that would be Presumption. There are Two (2) Ways to Verify a 'Firm Purpose':

One (1) is to make-up for the Sin as-soon-as possible; for example, if One is Guilty of Sarcastic Remarks against a Neighbor, to seek the Neighbor's Pardon or, if one has Stolen, to-return what has been Stolen.

The Second (2nd) is to avoid the Occasions of Sin, such as Bad Reading, Evil Companions, Drinking Parties, or any Act that previously led us into Sin.

There are Two (2) kinds-of Contrition: 'Perfect' and 'Imperfect'. Both are implied-in the Act of Contrition, which the Penitent says in the Confessional:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "And I Detest all my Sins, because I Dread the Loss of Heaven, and the Pains of Hell", ['Imperfect' Sorrow]; "but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all good and Deserving of all my Love" ['Perfect' Sorrow].

Two (2) kinds-of Fear, serve as the basis-of Distinction between the Two (2) kinds-of Contrition, or Sorrow. One (1) is a 'Servile-Fear', the Other is a 'Filial-Fear':

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) A 'Servile-Fear' is a Fear-of Punishment, which we Justly Deserve, from a Master whom we Disobeyed.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 'Filial Fear' is the Fear that a devoted-Son might have for a Loving Father; namely, the Fear of Injuring him.

Applying this to Contrition, 'Servile Fear' draws us toward God because-of the Dread-of a Punishment for Sin, namely, Hell. 'Filial Fear' is a Dread-of being separated-from God, or of Offending Him, Whom we Love.

Imagine Twins, who had Disobeyed a Mother, in exactly the same-way. One of the Twins runs-to the Mother and says: "Oh, Mommy, I am Sorry I disobeyed. Now I can't go to the Picnic, can I?". The other one throws her arms around the Mother's neck and Weeps: "I'll never Hurt you again". The First has 'Imperfect' Contrition, the Second, 'Perfect' Contrition.

Which kind-of Contrition, 'Perfect' or 'Imperfect', is sufficient-in Sacramental Confession? 'Imperfect' Contrition is sufficient, though it is our belief that most Penitents are Sorry, not because-of the Punishment their Sins deserve-from God, but rather because they Heartily are Sorry for having Re-Crucified Christ in their Hearts.

Suppose, however, that a Person is in a State-of Mortal Sin, and is unable to-go-to Confession; for example, a Soldier who is Ordered-into Battle. Would 'Imperfect' Contrition then, suffice-for the Forgiveness of Sins? No, but Perfect Contrition would, if he had the resolution-to receive Sacramental Confession, at the earliest-opportunity.

That makes a word about Perfect Contrition more Imperative. The usual attitude-of Penitents is to make a 'Personal Equation' between their own Sins, and the Crucifixion. Each One says in his Heart, as he receives the Sacrament:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) "If I had been less Proud, the Crown of Thorns would have been less Piercing.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) If I had been less Avaricious and Greedy, His Hands would have been dug less by the Steel.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) If I had been less Sensual, His Flesh would not be hanging from Him like Purple Rags.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) If I had not wandered away like a Lost Sheep, in the Perversity of my Egotism, His Feet would have been less driven with Nails.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I am Sorry, not just because I Broke a Law: I am Sorry because I wounded Him Who Died out of Love for me".

 

Our Lord had-to Die on the Cross, before the Abysmal Dimensions-of Sin could be appreciated. We do not see the Horror of Sin, in the Crimes paraded-in the Press, nor in the Great Crises-of History, nor in the Wholesale Violence of Persecutors. We see what Evil is, only when we see Goodness, nailed-to the Cross. If any of us says in our Heart, "I am not as Bad, as those who Crucified Him", we are Forgetting that they did not Crucify Our Lord; Sin did. They were our Representatives, our Ambassadors, that day at the Court of Satan. We empowered them with the Right-to Crucify.

One (1) look-at the Crucifix, therefore, is a Double (2) Revelation! A Revelation-of the Horror of Sin, and the Love-of God. The Worst Thing that Sin can do, is not to Kill Children or Bomb Cities in Nuclear Warfare; the Worst Thing that Sin can do, is to Crucify Divine Love. And the most Beautiful Thing that Love can do, at the Moment-of Crucifixion, is to extend-to us Forgiveness in the Priestly Prayer to His Heavenly Father: "Forgive them, for they know not what they do".

In Perfect Contrition, we become Tremendously Impressed-with the Infinite (∞) Endurance-of Our Lord to Suffer the Worst that Evil can Inflict, and then Pardon His Enemies. He certainly did not Teach us to be Indifferent-to Sin, because He took its Full Consequences upon Himself. He Paid for it, but on the other-hand, there was Mercy, with that Justice. He offered Forgiveness, in the Hope that we would Repent out of Gratitude for His Payment of the Debt, which our Sins Created.

 

Satisfaction

Satisfaction for Sins, or what is sometimes called "Penance", is distinct-from Sorrow. Few dwell sufficiently on the difference between being-Forgiven, and Atoning-for the Sin, which was Forgiven.

Suppose I Stole your Purse, in the course-of a Conversation, and then I said to myself: "What a Scandal I am to this Person. I am supposed to bring Justice and the Love of God, and here I Violate God's Law of Justice, Impugn His Mercy, and Nail Him to the Cross, by Stealing the Purse". So I say to you, "Will you Forgive me?". In your Kindness, you would certainly say: "I Forgive you". But you would also say something else, would you not? Would you not say, "Give me back my Purse?". Could I really say that I was Sorry, unless I returned the Purse?

There is a Story told, which is Sheer Imagination, with no basis-in-fact, about a Man who came to Confession, to a Priest. During the course-of the Confession, he Stole the Priest's Watch. At the end-of the Confession, he said to the Priest: "Oh, Father, I forgot to tell you. I Stole a Watch". The Priest, emphasizing the necessity-of Satisfaction, said: "You must return the Watch to the Owner". The Penitent said: "I'll give it to you, Father". The Priest said: "No, I don't want it. Return it to the Owner". The Penitent said: "The Owner doesn't want it". The Priest said to him: "Well, in that case, you can keep it".

scaleslg.gif (10895 bytes) Immediately, One can see some of the Fallacies. First, there was no Real Sorrow in Confession; otherwise, he would not have 'Added' a Sin, while Confessing others. Second, there was Deceit in his Satisfaction. There must always be Satisfaction for Sin, because every Sin Disturbs the Order of God. Sin Upsets a Balance. It is to no purpose to say, "Don't cry over spilled Milk", just because we happen to have spilled someone else's Milk. If we cannot gather-up the spilled Milk, we can at least Pay for the Bottle, or buy some more Milk.

At the end-of the Confession, the Priest gives-to the Penitent, what is called a "Penance"; a certain number-of Prayers to say, or Fasting, or the Giving-of Alms, or Acts of Mortification, or a Way of the Cross, or a Rosary. All of these are to "Make-up" for the Sin, and to-Prove that the Sorrow was Sincere. This is what Catholics call "saying my Penance", or "doing my Penance".

God does not ask us to-make an 'Exact' Reparation for our Sins, but rather to do it in a 'Proportional' Manner. This is because the Sacrament of Penance is less a "Tribunal of Strict Justice", than a "Reconciliation between Friends". The Priest, Representing Christ, is not a Judge, sentencing a Criminal to Prison. The Penitent is not an Enemy. He is a Reconciled Friend, and the Reparation, Penance, or Satisfaction, is the Work-of Friendship between Members-of Christ's Mystical Body. The Penance also has a Medicinal Value, that of Healing the Wounds of the Soul, which is why it has to be performed-in a State of Grace. Our Lord Forgave our Sins, on the Cross, but He Paid for them in Justice. Our Lord Forgave the "Thief on the Right", but, He did not stop his Crucifixion. The Pain the Thief endured, was a Reparation for his Evil Life. Penance is a Sign that we are applying Christ's Death on Calvary, to ourselves.

Here, the Sacrament of Penance, differs-from the Sacrament of Baptism. In Baptism, the Merits of Christ's Passion, are applied-to ourselves, without any Action on our part; but in the Sacrament of Penance, we make some Satisfaction. Power and Efficacy are given-to our Acts, because they are United-with the Passion of Christ. There are Two (2) Debts to be paid-for Sin. One (1), is the Eternal (∞) Debt, which is Hell; and the Other, is the Temporal Debt, or Atoning in our Lifetime, for our Imperfections and our "Want of Charity", after our Sin has been Forgiven. The Eternal (∞) Debt of Hell, is completely Remitted in the Sacrament. The Temporal Debt for Sin, remains.

In Scripture, we find Records-of People being Forgiven, for whom a Temporal Punishment remains:

Adam and Eve were Restored to Grace, but they were made subject-to Death.

Miriam, the Sister-of Moses, gained Forgiveness for her Sin, but she was shut-out from the Camp for Seven (7) Days, and Afflicted with Leprosy.

Moses was Forgiven, but was Punished for his Lack-of Trust in God by being Excluded-from the Land-of-Promise.

David's Sin with Bethsabee was Forgiven, but he had to Suffer Misfortunes for it, and the Child Died as a Punishment.

That is why Saint Paul urges us to take-on Voluntary Penances, that we may "Help to Pay off the Debt which the Afflictions of Christ still leave to be Paid, for the sake of His Body, the Church". Daniel consoled Nabuchodonosor with the words: "Deign my lord king, to be advised by me; with Almsgiving, with Mercy to the Poor, for Fault and Wrong-doing of thine, make Amends; it may be that he will Condone thy Guilt" (Daniel 4:24). And Joel writes: "Time now, the Lord says, to turn the whole bent of your Hearts back to me, with Fasting and Mourners' Tears" (Joel 2:12). Did not Our Lord say-of certain Cities, that they would be Condemned, because in them "were done most of His Miracles, but for that, they had not done Penance" (Matthew 9:20).

Penances given after Confession, are generally Light. Some say they are, too-Light. But we must not-Forget Indulgences. To understand them, we should recall that we are Members-of Christ's Mystical Body. When we do Evil, or commit Sin, we affect every Member-of the Church in some way. This is even done in our most-Secret Sins. It is evident that we do it in Stealing, Murder, and Adultery; but, we do it even in our Solitary Sins, even in our Evil Thoughts. How? By diminishing in some-way, the Content-of Charity and Love within the Whole Mystical Body. Just as a Pain in the Eye, affects the Whole Organism, and makes us Hurt all-over, so, if I Love Christ less, do I Impair the Spiritual Well-being of the Church.

But, because I can Harm the Church by my Sin, so can I be Helped by the Church, when I am in Debt. Saint Paul applied-to the Mystical Body, the Lesson of the Physical Body: "All the different parts of it [the Body] were to make each other's Welfare, their common-care" (1Corinthians 12:25).

Religion is not Individual, it is Social; it is Organic. Look-to the Natural Order, and see how many Benefits I receive-from my Fellow Man. There are a Million (106) Ways, in which they are Indulgent-to me. I did not raise the Cow, that furnished the Leather, that went into my Shoes. I did not raise the Chicken, I eat at Dinner -- but that is a Bad Example; I do not like Chicken! So let us say, the Chicken you eat. Somebody's Work or Labor allowed you to Indulge-in this Luxury. We might almost say that we are surrounded-by Social "Indulgences", because we share in the Merits, Talents, Arts, Crafts, Sciences, Techniques and Needlework.

Now, in the Society-of Christ's People, His Mystical Body, it is possible-to share-in the Merits and the Good Works, the Prayers, the Sacrifices, the self-Denials, and the Martyrdoms of others. If there be an Economic "Indulgence", so that I can ride-in a Plane someone else built; why should there not also be a Spiritual Indulgence, so that I can be carried-to Christ more-quickly, through the Bounty-of some Members-of the Mystical Body.

Go-back now to the distinction-between Forgiveness-of Guilt, and Satisfaction-for Guilt. Every Sin has either an Eternal (∞), or a Temporal Punishment. Even though our Sins were Forgiven, there still remained some Satisfaction to be made in-Time; or else in-Purgatory, after Death, provided we Die in the State of Grace. An Indulgence refers not to Sin, but to the Temporal Punishment. Before the Indulgences can apply, there must have been Forgiveness of the Guilt.

Actually, there are Several-ways of making-up-for the Punishment due, after the Guilt of Sin has been Forgiven. Three (3) are Personal, One (1) is Social:

(1) The Saying or Doing-of the Penance, given-in the Confessional Box, at the end-of Confession;

(2) Any Works-of Mortification which are Freely Undertaken during Life, such as Helping the Poor and the Missions, Fasting, and other Acts-of Self-Denial;

(3) The Patient Imitation-of Our Lord's Sufferings on the Cross, by Enduring the Trials of Life; and

(4) The Social Remedy of applying the Superabundant Merits of the Mystical Body, to our Souls. As we depend-on Intellectual Society to make-up-for our Ignorance, so we depend-on a Spiritual Society to make-up-for our Spiritual Bankruptcy.

It may be asked where the Church gets Power to Remit Temporal Punishment due to Sin? Well, the Church happens to be 'Very Rich', Spiritually, just as some Men are Very Rich, Financially. In a Village there lived a Rich Banker who set-up a Trust Fund in a Bank; he bade all of the Sick, Infirm, and Unemployed to draw-from that Reserve. The Banker told them: "Have no Fears that this Fund will ever run out, for I am Rich enough to care for all of you". If the Banker paid part-of the Hospital Bills, that would be a Partial Indulgence of the Debts-of the Sick; if he paid all of their Bills, that would be a Plenary Indulgence of their Expenses and Costs.

The Church is a Spiritual Banker. It has all the Merits of the Passion of Our Lord and the Blessed Mother, the Merits of the Martyrs, Saints, and Confessors, and the Patient Endurance of Persecution in the Present Time; all of these Merits are far-greater-than those needed-for Salvation of these Saintly and Good People. The Church takes that Surplus, puts it into Her Treasury, and bids all Her Weak and Wounded, who cannot Pay all the Debts they Owe for their Sins, to draw-on those Reserves. The Church lays-down certain Conditions, for making-use-of this Treasure, just as the Banker did. The Users have to be Deserving, they have to be in the State of Grace, they have to fulfill Certain Conditions; e.g., a Prayer, a Pilgrimage, or any One-of a Thousand little-things.

When the Debt of Temporal Punishment due-to Sin, is Liquidated only in-part by an Indulgence, it is called a Partial Indulgence. But, if all the Debts of Temporal Punishment are Paid-for by Fulfilling the Conditions, it is called a Plenary Indulgence.

Suppose I am Standing-in the Center-of the Room, that you have a Right-to Command me, and that I am bound-in Conscience, to Obey you. You Order me to take Three (3) Steps, to my Right. I Disobey, and take Three (3) Steps, to my Left. When I take the Three (3) Steps, to my Left, I say to you, "I am very Sorry. I have Disobeyed you. Will you Forgive me?". You say: "Yes, I will Forgive you". But look where I am! I am actually Six (6) Steps from where I ought-to-be, and I am Three (3) Steps from being in 'Neutral' Ground. Since I have taken Three (3) Steps in-Disobedience, I must put my foot-down Three (3) Times, Humbly and in Penance, in-order-to get back-to 'Neutral', before I can begin-doing Right. Those Three (3) Steps, taken Penitentially, represent the Payment-of the Temporal Punishment due-to Sin.

Now suppose that I just took Two (2) Steps, and someone carried me the Other One (1), I would then have an Indulgence of One (1) Step. If someone carried me Two (2) Steps, I would then have the Indulgence of Two (2) Steps. If someone carried me the Three (3) Steps, that would be a Plenary Indulgence.

That brings up the question of "Days". One often hears-of the Indulgence of "Forty Days", "One Hundred Days", or "Forty Years". The Church has to have some Standard-of Measurement, and "Days" and "Years" are merely Approximations. In the First Several Centuries of the Church, Penances were very Severe, for certain Public Sins. One might have to dress himself in Sackcloth-and-Ashes, and beg at a Church Door for Forty (40) Days, or Three (3) Years, or Seven (7)Years, or sometimes Ten (10) Years, in the case-of Atrocious Crimes. Because these Sins gave Grave Scandal to the Public, the Penitent would be permitted-to assist-at the Mass at the Door, or in a Special part-of the Church.

Later on, there began to be Intercessions-of-Persons of High Merit, that they be given more-or-less extended Remission-of the Temporal Punishment due-to their Sins; these became known as Indulgences. The Church then took, as a Standard-of Measurement, the Severe Penances of the Early Days, and applies them today to Indulgences. For example, for saying certain Prayers, One receives an Indulgence, which is the equivalent-of "Forty Days" Penance in the Early Church, or the equivalent-of "One Hundred Days" Penance in the Early Church, or a "Year", as the case may be.

There is no exact Statistical Relation between the Sin and its Expiation, as there is none between the Money you pay-for a Suit-of Clothes, and the Cooperation-of the Sheep-Herder, the Wool-Gatherers, and the Suit-Manufacturer.

What a Beautiful Doctrine, and how Consoling is this Sacrament! See how it combines the Poor Sinner who is in-Debt, the Mystical Body to-which he is Restored-by Absolution in the Confessional, and the Mercy of Christ, the Head of His Mystical Body, Who gave this Power to His Church: "Whatsoever thou shalt Loose on Earth, is Loosed also in Heaven".

My Prayer is only a 'Drop', but, when it is joined-to the other Cells-of the Mystical Body, when it becomes a 'Bead' in a Rosary, which Unites the Church Militant on Earth, with the Church Triumphant in Heaven and Church Suffering in Purgatory, when it fuses-into the Tears-of Christ on the Cross, and with the Sword in Mary's Heart, at the Foot-of the Cross, then it makes its way to the Sea which is God, where we all meet. Thus, thanks to my Little Drop-of a Prayer, I have the Right to-say, "I, too, am the Ocean".

One feels like singing-for Joy, for here is a Greater Thrill than the Bath that Cleanses the Body. Regular Confession prevents Sins, Worries, and Anxieties, from seeping-down-into the Unconscious, and Degenerating into Melancholy Fears and Neuroses. The 'Boil' is lanced, before the Pus can spread-into Unconsciousness. Our Lord knew what was in Man, so He Instituted this Sacrament, not for His Needs, but for Ours. It was His Way of giving Man a Happy Heart. It is not easy, indeed, for a Man to make his way to the Cross, and to admit that he has been Wrong. It is very hard; but the Penitent knows that it was harder to Hang, on that Cross! We are never made Worse, by admitting we are Broken-Hearted, for unless our Hearts are Broken, how can God get-in?

 

nextCLR.gif (8822 bytes)

[Baptism] [Confirmation] [Eucharist] [Penance]
[Anointing of the Sick] [Holy Orders] [Matrimony]