Sunday, March 24, 2019


The one fact of life is that we will all die. With death will come judgment.  The Church teaches that not only will there be a general judgment on the last day when all mankind shall face God together but that each of us will face a particular judgement at the time of our death.  Those who die in the state of grace (that is without un-repented mortal sin on their souls) and are worthy go straight to Heaven.  Those who die in a state of grace but not yet made amends for their sins or though they have unconfessed mortal sins on their conscience die in sincere repentance go to purgatory.  Those who die unrepentant of their mortal sins go to Hell not because God wants or sends them there but because they have freely chosen to go there. Both Heaven and Hell are eternal and we must choose one or the other.  Purgatory, though the souls there suffer terribly, is only for a time until those souls have made amends and learnt to love as ought to have here on Earth.  We do not know how long we have left so sort things out while you have the chance.  In confession we are like a rotting corpse that by the power of God is raised to life and the fullness of health.  When we confess a sin God chooses to erase it.  It is gone forever.  We still have to try to undo that harm we have done but to God we are innocent.

So while you are here in this life check your conscience daily and go to confession regularly. There may be sins that you’re forgetting or not taking seriously enough. Never intentionally keep back a sin when confessing.  Besides receiving Holy Communion in a state of grace confession is the most effective way to grow in holiness.   Remember that mortal sins must be confessed, what the sin was and how often you did it.  Jesus wants to touch each of our wounds and heal them one by one.  Before confessing something, try to be resolved never to do it again.  A thief who confesses and then goes out planning his next crime has not actually repented.  Though absolved he cannot benefit from the grace of the Sacrament.  Start afresh and look for things that you can change to help you in your resolution!
One reason that people lack a firm purpose of amendment is that they don’t believe they can actually stop a certain sin. They forget that the real battle is between our ears.  If we persist in turning our thoughts away from evil and toward good we will, by the grace of God, eventually be free of even the most addictive sins. Prayer and reading the Bible and the writings of the Saints helps immensely. The sacrament of confession is far more powerful than our human efforts could ever be. 
How many of us give the Lord the respect and honour He deserves? Try to speak of your God, your creator and Saviour with attention and reverence.  Speak about your God as you would about someone you truly love and honour. It should cause us pain when we hear someone take the Holy Name in vain.  You wouldn’t let someone disrespect a family member like that so why let them do it to Jesus who saved you? Remember that in Church you are in God’s house. Here we talk to God and no one else.

Confession is an act of humility and humility is so important that sins against it must also be confessed.  We need to confess and repent of our pride: like taking credit for something without reference to God and desiring that others give you that credit.  Giving credit externally to God for something while actually believing that you earned it and hoping that others will believe that you earned it, too. Desiring to be esteemed above what you really are. Desiring to be better than others. These are sins of pride.
There are many ‘little’ ways in which we are “unjust and unreasonable” to our neighbour.  We may condemn every little thing in our neighbour and excusing ourselves of important things.  We may selling very dearly and buy at bargain prices.  We like to have things we say taken in the best sense but we are tender and touchy about what others say to us.  Preferring one person over another because of their class, wealth or contacts or because they make us appear socially superior is also an injustice. In short, we often don’t treat our neighbour as we would like to be treated ourselves.
We ought not to judge anyone unless required by our position or office. When we are required to judge, then we must strive to pass along God’s judgment without distorting it with our own ideas and passions.  Gossip can lead to slander, that is, falsely imputing sin to another. This sin is doubly bad because it is an offence against truth and it robs another of their good name. “Beware of falsely imputing crimes and sins to another, revealing his secret sins, exaggerating those that are manifest, putting an evil interpretation on his good works, denying the good that you know belongs to someone, maliciously concealing it or lessening it by words.” (St Francis de Sales)
There’s a multitude of chances to serve Jesus by doing good in each day and we should examine our attitude towards these chances because to neglect them is to miss an opportunity to love Christ. To identify where we are going wrong in this area, it can be helpful to pay attention to when we think or say that we hate doing something or that we don’t like this or that. Doing the dishes, filling out forms, talking to a certain person are all opportunities to love and it would be a mistake to avoid them.
The big sin is relatively easy to avoid, but resisting the little desires in our heart that eventually lead to those big sins is very challenging. For example, we would never think of stealing someone’s property, but some long for the property of others, talk about them at every opportunity and hope some disaster will befall the owner forcing them to sell.  Envy is also a sin!

If these sins were not on your radar up until now, take heart! You may feel weighed down by these “new” sins, but your deliverance is near. St. Francis de Sales tells us, “Sin is shameful only when we commit it; when it has been converted by confession and repentance it becomes honourable and salutary. Contrition and confession are so beautiful and have so good an odour that they wipe away the ugliness of sin and purify its stench.”  “In confession you not only receive absolution from the sins you confess but also great strength to avoid them in the future.”  Do not worry about your past confessions.  If you were doing your best trust in the mercy of God. As Padre Pio said, “If we put into our confession all our good will and we have the intention to confess everything — all that we can know or remember — the mercy of God is so great that He will include and erase even what we cannot remember or know.”  So do yourself a favour and go to confession! 


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