St Francis Q&A

Saturday, October 07, 2006

"I don't have anything to confess"

"Once a month is recommended for confession! I don't have anything to confess that often." Last night, I had a great discussion about faith with several SAA parishioners. In particular, they had many questions about the Sacrament of Reconciliation. One of them asked how often we should go to Confession, and I said, ideally, it's once a month. Their response was very similar to the above comment made by one of our bloggers.

The first thing to point out is that in Confession (and all the Sacraments), we receive Sanctifying Grace which is a share in God's Life. We need this Grace in order to live a Christian life on Earth and, thus, enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So, the primary reason for going to Confession is to receive God's Grace. Even if a person is a very faithful follower of Christ and lives a life of virtue, he/she should go to this Sacrament regularly to be filled with Christ's Grace.

Secondly, I would challenge someone who says that they don't have anything to confess regularly to do a more thorough examination of conscience. For example, last night, the same person who made the comment of having little or nothing to confess was unaware that some things were sins - drunkness and gossip, for example. When we properly examine our consciences on a regular basis, we see that we commit many more sins on a daily basis than we are aware.

A good examination of conscience can help to shed light on how we have offended God or neighbor. Here are a sample of questions from "A Guide to Confession" of which I have many available copies:
Do I pray daily? Have I put faith in horoscopes? Have I received Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Have I used God's holy name irreverently? Have I deliberately come late or left early from (Sunday) Mass without a good reason? Do I honor and respect my parents? Have I led anyone to sin through bad example or through direct encouragement (to sin)? Have I deliberately viewed pornographic magazines, videos, or internet websites? Do I share what I have with the poor and the Church according to my means? Have I ruined the good name of others by spreading lies or maliciously revealing their faults and sins? Am I envious of the possessions, abilities, talents, beauty, or success of others?

The last question is under the 9th and 10th commandments, but it concerns one of the seven deadly sins: envy. We all struggle with these seven dangerous vices every day, to one extent or another. Examples of questions relating to the other six might be:

Pride - am I too proud or embarrassed to go to Confession?
Anger - have I been angry with God or someone else?
Sloth - have I been lazy in carrying out my responsibilities?
Gluttony - have I overindulged in food or drink?
Greed - do I have an attachment to money or possessions?
Lust - have I entertained and pursued impure sexual thoughts?


  • This is indeed very beautiful!

    We read in the scriptures
    today “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Gn2:18). From the very beginning man is made for union with another. We understand that the very nature of God is a union, the Trinity. Made in His image and likeness we too are made for union. To be isolated and alone is a description of hell. Marriage is made to be the remedy for hell.

    It is evident to me that marriage, the joining of two people in a bond of love with all that entails, especially the expression of the “two becoming one body” and given the vocation to participate in the act of creation, is the most beautiful gift and sign of God’s love to humanity. Marriage is a sacrament meaning it is a sign of God’s love for us, of Christ’s love for his body, the Church. Spouses also become a sign for each other. In loving each other, in giving of themselves to each other, in sacrificing and changing for each other, they are loving, giving and sacrificing for Christ. In loving each other they love God. Christ takes on flesh in the spouse. This is why Monsignor Giussani has said that every man at some point in his life, being aware of the mystery revealed before him in his wife, should fall on his knees in adoration of her.

    Often, some estimates claim over 50% of marriages “fail”, this is not what married couples experience. Of course there are many reasons for this. People are not conscious of what marriage really means, or do not understand what love is. Today’s culture has succumbed to believing love is nothing more than mere instinct. Sex is seen as a right because it is instinctual. It is never at the service of something greater. In fact sex becomes the prerequisite of marriage rather than the gift given to each other because of the marriage.(I am so saddened by the fact that so many couples coming for marriage prep are living together.) Even in marriage ignorance of the true meaning of sex continues. The place where sex is supposed to be the completion and renewal of the marriage covenant - mutual self giving, it is an act of seeking pleasure from another. Consequently sex becomes isolating for one or both. For these people marriage becomes hell.

    The answer is Christ. He came to destroy hell. Out of love, a spousal love, he died for us. We must be willing to die for those we love. Otherwise it is no love. Marriage can only be the place where two become one when both die to themselves and live for the other. It is a miracle but it is not unreachable. This is why we need the Eucharist. We need to let him impregnate us with his love so that we can love others. Sin separates us; Christ brings us together through his blood. We are made for union with another. This can only happen if we are at union with the Other, Christ.

    God bless all you married couples and thank you for your witness of love.

    Fr. Lee

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:44 PM  

  • Awesome words about marriage from Father Lee. Thank YOU!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:43 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Web Site Counter