We must confess our sins!

Confession

Scripture makes a distinction between two types of sin: mortal sin and venial sin (see 1 Jn 5:16-17). Mortal sin is, as its name implies, the more deadly of the two, for it chokes off God’s life in the soul. Mortal sin kills us spiritually. Mortal sin always involves “grave matter” — the most important things in life. Even nonbelievers will often recognize the gravity of these offences. Thus, for example, murder is a mortal sin, and it is universally recognized as a crime; the same goes for grand theft, perjury, and adultery. Other grave matter, however, can be seen only with the eyes of faith. Thus, for example, it is a mortal sin to miss Mass on a Sunday.

Every time we go to the sacrament of penance, we must confess any and all mortal sins committed since our last confession. We must clearly state the types of mortal sin we’ve committed and the number of times we’ve committed them. If we hold back any mortal sins, then we have not made a valid confession. Indeed, to deliberately withhold confessing a mortal sin is itself a mortal sin. Since a sacrament is an oath before God, such nondisclosure represents a sort of perjury.

We are not strictly required to confess our venial sins — the catechism calls them “everyday faults” — but the Church, the saints, and the mystics have always recommended this (see CCC, 1458).

It’s important to remember, in our confession, that we’re not telling God anything he doesn’t already know. He knows our sins better than we do. He knew Adam’s sin when he invited Adam to confess. He knew Cain’s when he invited Cain to confess. He wants us to confess not for his good, but for ours, because he knows that confession is a necessary step in our process of healing toward holiness.

Confession is necessary, but there are some very limited circumstances in which a priest may dispense with confession and grant absolution anyway. In times of dire emergency, when a number of people are in immediate danger of death — in the heat of battle, or if a plane is about to crash — a priest may pronounce a “general absolution”. Even this requires that penitents must be sorry for their sins, though it dispenses with their need to confess their sins. Even then, the penitent, if he should survive, must go as soon as possible to make an ordinary sacramental confession.

This Excerpt is taken from the book ‘Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession by Scott Hahn. For more information, click me 🙂

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Saint of the Day: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native born American to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

Born two years before the American Revolution, Elizabeth grew up in the upper class of New York society. She was a prolific reader, and read everything from the Bible to contemporary novels.

In spite of her high society background, Elizabeth’s early life was quiet, simple, and often lonely. As she grew a little older, the Bible was to become her continual instruction, support and comfort -and she would continue to love the Scriptures for the rest of her life.

In 1794, Elizabeth married the wealthy young William Seton, with whom she was deeply in love. The first years of their marriage were happy and prosperous. Elizabeth wrote in her diary at first autumn, “My own home at twenty-the world-that and heaven too-quite impossible.”

This time of Elizabeth’s life was to be a brief moment of earthly happiness before the many deaths and partings she was to suffer. Within four years, William’s father died, leaving the young couple in charge of William’s seven half brothers and sisters, as well as the family’s importing business.

Events moved quickly from there with devastating effect. Both William’s business and health failed. He was finally forced to file a petition of bankruptcy and, in a final attempt to save William’s health, the Setons sailed for Italy, where William had business friends.

Unfortunately, William died of tuberculosis while in Italy. Elizabeth’s one consolation was that he had recently awakened to the things of God.

The many enforced separations from dear ones by death and distance served to draw Elizabeth’s heart to God and eternity. The accepting and embracing of God’s will – “The Will,” as she called it – would be a keynote in her spiritual life.

Elizabeth’s deep concern for the spiritual welfare of her family and friends eventually led her into the Catholic Church.

In Italy, Elizabeth captivated everyone by her kindness, patience, good sense, wit, and courtesy. During this time Elizabeth became interested in the Catholic Faith and, over a period of months, her Italian friends guided her in Catholic instruction.

Elizabeth’s desire for the Bread of Life was to be a strong force leading her to the Catholic Church.

Having lost her mother at an early age, Elizabeth felt great comfort in the idea that the Blessed Virgin was truly her mother. She asked the Blessed Virgin to guide her to the True Faith and officially joined the Catholic Church in 1805.

At the suggestion of the president of St. Mary’s College in Baltimore, Maryland, Elizabeth started a school in that city. The school had originally been secular but once news of her entrance to Catholicism spread, several girls were removed from her school. It was then Seton, and two other young women who helped her in her work, began plans for a Sisterhood. They established the first free Catholic school in America. When the young community adopted their rule, they made provisions for Elizabeth to continue raising her children.

On March 25, 1809, Elizabeth Seton pronounced her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, binding for one year. From that time she was called Mother Seton.

Although Mother Seton became afflicted with tuberculosis, she continued to guide her children. The Rule of the Sisterhood was formally ratified in 1812. It was based upon the Rule St. Vincent de Paul had written for his Daughters of Charity in France. By 1818, in addition to their first school, the sisters had established two orphanages and another school. Today, six groups of sisters can trace their origins to Mother Seton’s initial foundation.

Seton’s favorite prayer was the 23rd Psalm and she developed a deep devotion to the Eucharist, Sacred Scripture, and the Virgin Mary.

For the last three years of her life, Elizabeth felt that God was getting ready to call her, and this gave her great joy. Mother Seton died in 1821 at the age of 46, only sixteen years after becoming a Catholic. She was beatified by Pope John XXIII on March 17, 1963 and was canonized on September 14, 1975 by Pope Paul VI.

A wonderful prayer in Saint Elizabeth’s name is:
Lord God, you blessed Elizabeth Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to your people. Through her example and prayers may we learn to express our love for you in love for our fellow men and women. We ask this through Christ our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Source: Catholic.orgSt_Eliz_ann_Seton

Saint of the Day: St. Benjamin

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St. Benjamin, Martyr (Feast Day – March 31) The Christians in Persia had enjoyed twelve years of peace during the reign of Isdegerd, son of Sapor III, when in 420 it was disturbed by the indiscreet zeal of Abdas, a Christian Bishop who burned the Temple of Fire, the great sanctuary of the Persians. King Isdegerd threatened to destroy all the churches of the Christians unless the Bishop would rebuild it.

As Abdas refused to comply, the threat was executed; the churches were demolished, Abdas himself was put to death, and a general persecution began which lasted forty years. Isdegerd died in 421, but his son and successor, Varanes, carried on the persecution with great fury. The Christians were submitted to the most cruel tortures.

Among those who suffered was St. Benjamin, a Deacon, who had been imprisoned a year for his Faith. At the end of this period, an ambassador of the Emperor of Constantinople obtained his release on condition that he would never speak to any of the courtiers about religion.

St. Benjamin, however, declared it was his duty to preach Christ and that he could not be silent. Although he had been liberated on the agreement made with the ambassador and the Persian authorities, he would not acquiesce in it, and neglected no opportunity of preaching. He was again apprehended and brought before the king. The tyrant ordered that reeds should be thrust in between his nails and his flesh and into all the tenderest parts of his body and then withdrawn. After this torture had been repeated several times, a knotted stake was inserted into his bowels to rend and tear him. The martyr expired in the most terrible agony about the year 424.
Source: catholic.org

Saint of the Day: St. Berthold

St_Berthold_du_Mont_Carmel

Considered by some historians to be the founder of the Carmelite Order. He was born in Limoges, France, and proved a brilliant student at the University of Paris. Ordained a priest, Berthold joined his brother, Aymeric, the Latin patriarch of Antioch, in Turkey, on the Crusades.

During this time he had a vision of Christ denouncing the evil ways of the soldiers. At the time, there were a number of hermits from the West scattered throughout Palestine.

Some accounts hold that in 1185 he came to Mount Carmel, built a small chapel there, and gathered a community of hermits who would live at his side in imitation of the prophet Elijah.

This community has been thought to have given rise to the Order of Carmelites, but this is not supported by evidence and is discounted by historians of the Order. Berthold lived out his days on Mount Carmel, ruling the community he had founded for forty-five years until his death in 1195
Source: Catholic.org, Wikipedia

Saint of the Day: St. Margaret Clitherow

MargaretClitherow

St. Margaret Clitherow, a woman of great beauty and zeal was born in Middleton, England, in 1555, to protestant parents. She married a well to do grazer John Clitherow, with whom she had 2 children. Her charming personality and cleaver mind led her to harbor fugitive priests. Due to this she was imprisoned by hostile authorities.

She was constantly tested and forced to denounce her faith however Margaret was relentless and stood firm in what she believed in. After multiple attempts to make her deny God, she was finally sentenced to death on March 25 1856. Her death sentence was to be carried out in a gruesome manner by getting her pressed top death.

The extent of her holiness and faith in God can be seen when she writes a letter to her friend saying “The sheriffs have said that I am going to die this coming Friday; and I feel the weakness of my flesh which is troubled at this news, but my spirit rejoices greatly. For the love of God, pray for me and ask all good people to do likewise.” Her feast day is celebrated on March 26th.

Verse of the Day: Matthew 6:24

No one can be a slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money Matthew 6-24

One of my favorite verses from the Holy Bible. So often in life we focus on the pursuit of  money and neglect  God. We may not do it on purpose but it is a reality that we cannot ignore. Our thoughts and actions might revolve around the pursuit of materialistic things and at the end of the day, there is a feeling of emptiness.

While it is important to work on your business or daily needs in life,  we should always remember who our creator is. Jesus so rightly says that ” No one can be a slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money”.

The need of the hour is to give your best at what you do but always be focused on God and not get lost in the material temptations of the world.

 

 

Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Enda

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Legend has him an Irishman noted for his military feats who was convinced by his sister St. Fanchea to renounce his warring activities and marry. When he found his fiancee dead, he decided to become a monk and went on pilgrimage to Rome, where he was ordained.

He returned to Ireland, built churches at Drogheda, and then secured from his brother-in-law King Oengus of Munster the island of Aran, where he built the monastery of Killeaney, from which ten other foundations on the island developed.

With St. Finnian of Clonard, Enda is considered the founder on monasticism in Ireland. His feast day is March 21
Source: catholic.org