(c)Mary TV 2012
November 28, 2012
Dear Family of Mary!
"Dear children! In this time of grace, I call all of you to renew prayer. Open yourselves to Holy Confession so that each of you may accept my call with the whole heart. I am with you and I protect you from the ruin of sin, but you must open yourselves to the way of conversion and holiness, that your heart may burn out of love for God. Give Him time and He will give Himself to you and thus, in the will of God you will discover the love and the joy of living. Thank you for having responded to my call." (November 25, 2012)
"Open yourselves to Holy Confession..." This seems to be the challenge for many of us, opening ourselves to Confession. It is the Sacrament that challenges us to holiness, that asks us to reveal our inner selves to the priest and be vulnerable to his scrutiny. Not an easy thing to approach. I received a very honest response to my reflection yesterday from our friend, Olga, from Moscow. She shares about the process she went through in opening herself to Confession, a process made difficult because she lives in post-communist Russia, where the Church is still recovering. She is a hero to me!!
Dear Cathy, thank you for your reflection today. And I thank Our Lady for talking about Holy Confession in Her message! I can relate to many things that you talked about in your reflection... But maybe I can understand those who struggle and have difficulty going to Confession, because I have been struggling myself for many years. I didn't know how to approach this sacrament... I would confess maybe once a year, at best. The Lord in His Mercy bore with me all this time, because He knew I was searching for Him in earnest, but in the desert, too... So I can understand those who wander and struggle. I had no Catechism, and that's one of the reasons I couldn't confess properly.
I simply didn't know the Ten Commandments! Of course I read them in the Bible... but I didn't know how to live them. No one told me I wasn't supposed to miss Liturgy on Sunday, no one told me about having regular Confession and Holy Communion. I was just baptized ... and I know a great many people in Russia are like that, strange though (to say the least) it may sound. Many people believe that to be baptized and to light a candle now and then in some church is enough, and they are quite unsuspecting there is something else to being an Orthodox. They simply don't know... no one told them, no one taught them...
Well after many years journeying in the desert Our Lord and Lady brought me Home... The Lord showed me this Home from the very beginning - His Heart, the Holy Eucharist, but it did take me many years to comprehend it! And even when I was receiving Holy Communion, I still was struggling with confession... I wanted to approach it as a sacrament, but I didn't know how, and no one seemed to be able to explain it to me, to answer my questions and clear my doubts. For several years I was struggling... I thank the Lord for sparing me and being so patient with me. In the end, I just went to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and said: "Lord, I know this is what You want, it is Your desire that I go to confession. You instituted this Sacrament, I want to obey You. Please teach me to obey you! I know of no priest that would need all my burdens... maybe there is one, I'm just blind and don't see. But can a human being Love with Your Heart? Forgive - with Your Heart? Is it not too much to ask of a mere human being? So I'm not asking for a confessor who would be Your image, I'm only asking: please teach me to obey you, please teach me to confess to a priest." ... And the Lord taught me! I can't explain it, but I felt Him say in my heart (these are not the exact words, but the meaning): "You just tell the priest everything you tell me, trust him the way you trust Me, whatever we discuss, you and I, whatever I show you in your soul - just go and tell the priest." And that completely solved my problem!
Since that time, I wouldn't even look what priest there was in the confessional, I'd just go... but first I prepare, I spend much time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. And it is often that after Adoration I need to go to Confession... because the Lord shows me, "slowly slowly", what I hadn't been aware of... We confess just what we see, but the Lord sees much more, although He does forgive ALL of it. I know I need to see His Heart to see the spots in my heart... because good confession is always a Grace. And I always ask Our Lady to intercede for me and help me, because Her Heart is so united with the Heart of Her Divine Son. And I pray for the priest who will receive my confession, always... because we are all very frail, but the priests have such a Cross to carry... and that is for my sins, too. And I also know that if I pray for the priest, the Holy Spirit will work in him and speak through him... and will open my ears, too!
I know that for many it is such a sore subject, going to Confession. And like me... maybe they are struggling in the desert, feeling the lack of fatherhood - the lack of fatherly love... Of course we NEVER lack the Love of our Heavenly Father, but we need our priests to EXPERIENCE this Love. This is the way the Lord Himself instituted it, this was His Desire. It was on the same day that He instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood, sharing this way His Heart with us... making Himself into a Sacrifice for us. So we are kind of invited to receive our priest into our hearts the same way we receive Jesus in the Eucharist... which, I know, is not easy... indeed, it's something we cannot humanly do... but with Jesus, united with His Sacred Heart, we can do everything... just like Our Lady promised on June 2, 2012. We can forgive the lack of fatherhood, whatever hurts we received even in the Church... and experience the Love of our Father, and His Mercy and Forgiveness in the sacrament of Confession!
Always with you, sailing the digital sea!
Thank you, Olga, for sharing with us. Many of us can identify with your journey towards confession. Many of us still struggle with the Sacrament, trying to open to it. But Our Lady tells us: "this is a time of grace." The grace is there for us to open ourselves to Confession, if we ask for it, just as you asked for it when you were with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I think you have taught us a great deal. If we go to Jesus in the Tabernacle, and talk to Him about our confession, He will help us prepare and tell us what to say. He wants us to receive the graces He has prepared for us so much!! He will help us.
So, let's give it a try, renew our efforts! Jesus waits for us in the confessional! He waits to heal us!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
©Mary TV 2012