Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Confessional advice for frequent sinners
So you have been coming to Confession for the last forty-eight years and apart from a few occasions, you could be saying, "Same as last time. Father".
Some sins are like crocodiles, the really do kill the soul: murder, apostasy and adultery, were considered the very worse, for most of us they are easily recognised and avoided and once recognised can be dealt with, the same with other sins which are like rats that gnaw away at our souls given gravity, full knowledge and willing co-operation, they too kill our relationship with God, but they are recognisable. Once we understand how dreadful they are we bring them to Confession and deal with them.
The third type of sins are like fleas or lice, we know they are, we feel them biting, we can recognise the rash or the sickness the bring, sometimes they are the infections of other people, sometimes something that has been growing in the depths of our soul for years. These sins often infect us from childhood, maybe even infections we receive from our parents or from friends or those we associate with. They produce dis-ease but we can't identify them.
The first two types of sin must be dealt with in the Confessional, not only to free us from them but to heal us of the infections they bring, in one sense they are easily dealt with, not dealing with them can cost us our salvation and lead us to eternal separation from God, to Hell. They must be confessed before we receive Holy Communion because they turn Communion into eating and drinking our condemnation, something which should be salvific into something which brings judgement upon us.
The third type of sin, we are not strictly bound to confess, and although the wounds can be quite serious, they tend to distance us from God rather separate us from him. They certainly wound our relationship with him, hence we call the 'venial' rather 'mortal'. They are best dealt with by bringing ourselves into contact with Christ through prayer and penance certainly but also through Christ's healing power in the Most Holy Eucharist and as far as we are able to name them in the Sacrament of Penance. It is worth remembering that the Sacrament of Penance isn't just about the forgiveness of sins but also meeting Christ who heals and who strengthens, so that we can say truly, 'By the help of your Grace I will never sin again'. Confession renews Christ's power in us.
Remember it is by His Grace we pray we will never sin again, we can do our best but for all our efforts we come back with the same old bag of rubbish. The good news is 'Jesus saves'. And it is Jesus, not us who saves us. We are not the Saviour of the world, or even of our families, and certainly not of ourselves, it is blasphemous even to think it. All we have is our weakness, and our history of sin but recognising that and handing it over to Christ is our only strength.
All we can give Him is our weakness, taking it along to the Calvary, the city rubbish dump and placing all our sin, our rubbish before Him, who takes away the sins of the world. He alone can heal us.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake