Thursday, 3 October 2013

Series on the Sacraments Part 4 - Penance

 Confession is one of the greatest proofs of God's love for us. Even though we crucified Him, denied Him, and didn't follow His laws, He still waits for us every day in the confessional box, waiting for us to repent in order to show us His mercy. He takes into great consideration the fact that we are so weak, and is always willing to bestow mercy upon us. How truly kind Our Lord is to forgive us so many times, even when we willingly fall into sin. I heard one story that will make a good comparison of this: There was a young man who had committed many many crimes, and was put on trial. His father was the judge, and he was proven guilty. The father said to the son, "Out of justice you have been sentenced to death, but because I love you so much, I will take your place and die for your crimes." So also has Our Blessed Lord taken upon Himself the sins of the world in order that we may be saved and one day enter into the Eternal Kingdom. Let's see what the saints have to say about this wonderful sacrament:

"The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works."
--St. Augustine

"Go to your confessor; open your heart to him; display to him all the recesses of your soul; take the advice that he will give you with the utmost humility and simplicity. For God, Who has an infinite love for obedience, frequently renders profitable the counsels we take from others, but especially from those who are the guides of our souls."
--St. Francis de Sales

"In failing to confess, Lord, I would only hide You from myself, not myself from You."
--Saint Augustine

"Confession is like a bridle that keeps the soul which reflects on it from committing sin, but anything left unconfessed we continue to do without fear as if in the dark."
--Saint John Climacus

"To do penance is to bewail the evil we have done, and to do no evil to bewail."
--Pope St. Gregory the Great

"In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick, and unless he takes medicine, he will die. Even so in the spiritual life a man is sick on account of sin. For that reason he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health; and this grace is bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance."
--St. Thomas Aquinas

"Three conditions are necessary for Penance: contrition, which is sorrow for sin, together with a purpose of amendment; confession of sins without any omission; and satisfaction by means of good works."
--St. Thomas Aquinas

"Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin, all hope consists in confession; in confession there is a chance for mercy."
--St. Isidore of Seville

"Our Lord Himself I saw in this venerable Sacrament  . . . I felt as if my chains fell, as those of St. Peter at the touch of the Divine messenger. My God, what new scenes for my soul!"
--St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
"A humble confession displeases Satan and, if he could, he would make you omit Holy Communion."
--Imitation of Christ

There are also five effects to this sacrament:

a. The restoration or increase of sanctifying grace;

b. The forgiveness of sins;
c. The remission of the eternal punishment, if necessary, and also of part, at least, of the temporal punishment, due to our sins;
d. The help to avoid sin in the future;
e. The restoration of the merits of our good works if they have been lost by mortal sin.

 Not only do we receive sanctifying grace back, have our sins forgiven, and receive remission of hell, but God is so kind as to give us the strength not to sin again and give us back all the merits of our good works before our sin! How truly good God is to us! Let us then frequently go to confession, stay away from all sin, grow in virtue, and become great saints! God bless!

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