Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Year or Mercy: Putting Confession at the Center

2016 is the Year of Mercy and Pope Francis has called us to "put the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the center once more." Here are the teachings of the Popes and of the Catechism on (1) the central importance of Confession and (2) the strong recommendation of the Church for frequent Confession.



Touch the greatness of God’s mercy and find meaning in life. So many people, including young people, are returning to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through this experience they are rediscovering a path back to the Lord, living a moment of intense prayer and finding meaning in their lives. Let us place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the center once more to touch the greatness of God’s mercy. (Pope Francis)

Privileged place to receive God’s forgiveness. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the privileged place to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. The Synod Fathers ask that this sacrament be put again at the center of the pastoral activity of the Church. (Synod on the New Evangelization)

Renew the world most powerfully. To a great extent, the renewal of the Church throughout the world depends on the renewal of the practice of the sacrament of Penance and the growth in holiness. (Benedict XVI)

Rejoice in the gift of pardon and healing. Let us then remember always that God never tires of forgiving us. Let us truly value this sacrament and rejoice in the gift of pardon and healing that comes to us through the ministry of priests. (Francis)

Meet with our Father who rejoices. We need to teach others, teach our children, our youngsters to make a good confession. It’s about going to meet with our Father who pardons us, who forgives us and who rejoices. (Francis)

Joins us with God in intimate friendship. The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship” (CCC 1468).

Feel the joy of God who forgives everything. ‘Father, I don’t go to confession because I have committed so many really bad sins, so many that I can’t be pardoned.’  No, this is not true.  If you go to confession repentant, He will forgive everything.  So many times He doesn’t even let you speak! You start to ask for forgiveness and He lets you feel that joy of forgiveness before you have even finished confessing. (Francis)

Stress call to conversion to those who receive communion unprepared. In the face of a widespread phenomenon that many among the great numbers who receive Communion make little use of Confession, we must emphasize Christ's basic call to conversion. We must stress that the personal encounter with the forgiving Jesus in the Sacrament is a divine means which keeps alive in our hearts a consciousness of sin in its tragic reality, and which actually brings forth fruits of conversion. (St. John Paul II)

Most effective for personal growth. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the most effective instruments of personal growth. (St. John Paul II)

Set out again on our journey to holiness. Now more than ever the People of God must be helped to rediscover the sacrament of mercy. Let us ask Christ to help us to rediscover the full beauty of this sacrament…to abandon ourselves to the mercy of God…and with his grace set out again on our journey to holiness. (St. John Paul II)

FREQUENT CONFESSION: STRONGLY RECOMMENDEDhttps://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/ab/df/26/abdf269fa6225c7854027b6dec735082.jpg

Christian leaders’ duty to encourage. The Synod of Bishops recalled that Bishops have the pastoral duty of encouraging frequent confession. All priests should dedicate themselves with generosity, commitment and competency to administering the sacrament of Reconciliation. (Benedict XVI. He went to confession weekly)

Form the conscience, battle evil and move forward. Confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. (CCC 1458 )

Like regular cleaning to avoid build up of dirt. Helps us mature.Even if it is not necessary to go to confession before each Communion, it is very helpful to confess with a certain regularity. It is true: our sins are always the same, but we clean our homes, our rooms, at least once a week, even if the dirt is always the same; in order to live in cleanliness, in order to start again. Otherwise, the dirt might not be seen but it builds up. If I never go to confession, my soul is neglected and in the end I am always pleased with myself and no longer understand that I must always work hard to improve. And this cleansing of the soul which Jesus gives us in the Sacrament of Confession helps us to make our consciences more alert, more open, and hence, it also helps us to mature. (Benedict XVI)

Receive advice. Needed by all.  We are all sinners. Even the pope goes to confession every two weeks because the pope, too, is a sinner. My confessor hears what I say, offers me advice and forgives me. We all need this. (Francis)

Speedy advance in many virtues. For a constant and speedy advancement in the path of virtue we highly recommend the pious practice of frequent confession, introduced by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For by this means we grow in (1) a true knowledge of ourselves and in (2) Christian humility, (3) bad habits are uprooted, (4) spiritual negligence and apathy are prevented, (5) the conscience is purified and (6) the will strengthened, (7) salutary spiritual direction is obtained and (8) grace is increased by the efficacy of the sacrament itself. (Ven. Pius XII. He confessed daily)

Learn to be merciful. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful. (CCC 1458)

Notice strides in spiritual life. It would be an illusion to seek after holiness, without partaking frequently of this sacrament of conversion. Those who go to Confession frequently, and do so with the desire to make progress, will notice the strides that they make in their spiritual lives. (St. John Paul II. He went to confession weekly.)

Keep the desire for perfection alive. When we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation frequently the desire for Gospel perfection is kept alive. Even when one is moved by the desire to follow Jesus, if one does not go regularly to confession, one risks gradually slowing his or her spiritual pace to the point of increasingly weakening and even exhausting it. (Benedict XVI) 

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