MARY, OUR MOTHER

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mary TV Daily Reflection 9/11/2013


Confession

"In the Sacrament of Penance, Christ Himself is the priest..." 

J.M.J.
September 11, 2013

Dear Family of Mary!

"...For the sake of Jesus, for the sake of my Son, love those whom He has called and long for the blessing only from the hands which He has consecrated. Do not permit evil to come to reign. Anew I repeat - only alongside your shepherds will my heart triumph. Do not permit evil to separate you from your shepherds. Thank you." (Message to Mirjana, (09/02/13)

Our priests bless us in every liturgical gathering. At Baptisms, Funerals, Weddings, Holy Mass, and especially at the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we receive the blessing of the priest, "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." This blessing carries with it the full weight of Christ's Sacred Heart, which pumps out forgiveness and love for us constantly. We Catholics may be so used to this loving ministration of Jesus, through the priest, that may not register in our minds and hearts with its full force. We are so blessed!

Denis and I just reviewed three new testimonies that will air on "Fruit of Medjugorje" soon, and in each testimony, the Sacrament of Reconciliation figures large. And so I would like to focus on the incredible blessing we receive in Confession, just to help us remember what a grace we receive from the priest in that Sacrament. Here is a short excerpt from a book written by Fr. Alfred Wilson, C.P., "Pardon and Peace". Fr. Wilson's words are like fresh air breathed into our souls. He writes:

Which of us does not know from experience the depressing effect of sin and the harrowing mental torture of the sense of guilt? Sin produces a brooding disposition and unconcealable depression. The sinner may pooh-pooh the idea of sin as much as he likes, yet he cannot stop his natural joyousness from departing with his innocence. Like Cain, the unforgiven sinner develops melancholia, he feels that it is "no use trying," he is "too bad," his past mistakes get between himself and God, and the skeleton in the cupboard of his soul haunts him. Unforgiven sin festers, as it were, in the soul and poisons life and paralyses effort.

Confession is the only adequate spiritual and psychological remedy for unforgiven sin. The remedy may be hard, but the alternative (constant mental strain, spiritual uneasiness and possible derangement) is harder still and infinitely more disastrous....

On the merely human psychological plane, confession is amply justified and its necessity proved. But confession is more than a clinic of psycho-therapy; it is also a Sacrament of Divine Mercy, guaranteeing the pardon of God as well as the pardon of society. It is in no sense an arbitrary imposition, for even the hardest part of it, the obligation of telling out our sins, is medicinal not punitive, and is inspired by mercy, understanding, and a desire to help. The medicine is certainly hard to take and not at all palatable, but it is medicine all the same! A kind Lord could not let us off scot-free - it would not be good for us. In this world, however, all penance is designed to be remedial and is never merely vindictive.

Jesus obliged us to confess our sins for our own sake rather than for His. He took the institution of Confession, which is a natural necessity, and safeguarded, facilitated and elevated it, raising it to the dignity of a Sacrament. He made the inevitably difficult task of confessing as easy as it possibly could be made. We confess in secret, to any priest we choose; if we like, to one who does not know us and will probably never see us again. We confess in secret to a man who is bound to secrecy. We confess, moreover, to a man who is trained, not merely to listen with tenderness and sympathy, but to instruct, advise and heal.

In the Sacrament of Penance, Christ Himself is the real priest. There, in His capacity of Divine Physician, He forgives sin, pours grace into our souls, removes the traces of past sins, and gives us a title to actual graces in future difficulties.

Confession is simply a Hospital of Souls, where the Good Samaritan, through the instrumentality of priests, goes about binding up wounds and pouring in oil and wine: a hospital where the Divine Physician displays His healing art. Object to such a Sacrament is too fantastically good to be true, but please don't object to it as a bugbear.

I don't think the majority of Catholics realize how much they owe to the Sacrament of Penance. One of the greatest of Viennese psychologists, a man bitterly anti-Catholic, had the honesty to admit that, among his cases of serious psychological disorder, he had never had a genuinely practicing Catholic.

Regular Confession prevents our worries and fears and remorse from degenerating into neurosis and melancholia. Test from your own experience what might have happened to you but for Confession. There are few who certainly retain their Baptismal innocence: few who have not, at some time or other, committed mortal sin or had serious doubts of having committed it. Remember that experience and the aftermath - your worry, misery, joylessness: the joy of others merely accentuated your misery and seemed almost to mock you; praise and approval rubbed in your unworthiness. You went to Confession, you put yourself in contact with the Precious Blood, "one drop of which could cleanse a thousand worlds of sin"; you almost felt "the oil of gladness" being poured into your soul. You came out a changed being. You were free, you were pure, once more a child of God. Others noticed the change and wondered what had happened to you. You simply had to indulge your feelings, you bounded along and almost danced for joy, you felt that you could have jumped over the moon and gladly played the clown in any harlequin show. He had restored unto you the joy of His salvation.

Recall those times of huge relief. That relief is being given daily to thousands. (Rev. Alfred Wilson, C.P. "Pardon and Peace". Available from BooksforCatholics.com )

As Fr. Wilson says, "In the Sacrament of Penance, Christ Himself is the real priest." And that is true of all priestly blessings. It is Jesus Christ who blesses us through His priests. Who would not want to stay very close to such shepherds??

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2013

 PS.  We remember today the victims of the 9/11 bombings.  May the peace of God, which passes all understanding be with them all, and with all of us today.   

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