February 21, 2007

Growing Closer to Him

And We're Off! Today it begins.

Since my reversion, two years ago, I like to start Lent with a clean slate. I seek out a Confessional before Ash Wednesday. It does not mean I won't fall on my face again before the First Sunday of Lent but, at least, this year I'm trying. There were many years I was, supposedly, a Catholic but could not have cared less about the "old stuff" like Repentence and Absolution.

I'll be at Confession again before Lent is over. At least one more time. Last year, I went to Confession four times during Lent. Including twice in 24 hours.

I really LOVE Confession. Some of you reading that think I'm crazy. I can hardly wait to get there. Sometimes, it's difficult to get the words out. Sometimes, I don't always feel all the weight has lifted afterwards. Why? Probably because I'm not repentent enough. I'm not always fully conscious of how my sins have hurt Him.

I have found 2 items that really help me. You can buy both of them at Leaflet Missal Company

An Examination of Conscience: A Preparation for the Sacrament of Penance by Fr. Robert Altier
My Prayer Book by Fr. Lasance

Fr. Lasance has a wonderful section on Confession. The following has really helped me develop true contrition.

CONSIDERATIONS TO EXCITE IN OUR HEART TRUE CONTRITION FOR OUR SINS

CONSIDER Who He is, and how good and gracious He is to you, Whom you have so often and so deeply offended by these sins. He made you -- He made you for Himself, to know, love, and serve Him, and to be happy with Him forever. He redeemed you by His blood. He has borne with you and waited for you so long. He it is Who has called you and moved you to repentance. Why have you thus sinned against Him? Why have you been so ungrateful? What more could He do for you? Be ashamed, and mourn, and despise yourself, because you have sinned against your Maker and your Redeemer Whom you ought to love above all things!

Consider the consequences of even one mortal sin. By it you lose the grace of God. You destroy peace of conscience; you forfeit the felicity [i.e. the great happiness] of heaven, for which you were created and redeemed; and you prepare for yourself eternal punishment. If we grieve for the loss of temporal and earthly things, how much more should we grieve for having deliberately exposed ourselves to the loss of those which are eternal and heavenly!

Consider how great is the love of God for you, if only from this, that He has so long waited for you, and spared you, when He might have so justly cast you into hell. Behold Him fastened to the cross for love of you! Behold Him pouring forth His precious blood as a fountain to cleanse you from your sins. Hear Him saying, "I thirst," -- " I thirst with an ardent desire for your salvation!" Behold Him stretching out His arms to embrace you, and waiting until you should come to yourself and turn unto Him, and throw yourself before Him, and say, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and am no more worthy to be called your son." Let these considerations touch your heart with love for Him Who so loves you, and love will beget true contrition, most acceptable to God.

Say an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be to obtain true contrition. Say an Act of Contrition.


As a Catholic one of the Five Precepts of the Church is to go to Confession at least once/year. Most go at Easter time so sometimes this is called the Easter Obligation. Another reason for Confessing at Easter is that another Precept of the Church is to receive Holy Communion, at a minimum, during the Easter time.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2nd edition 2041-2043 has information on the Precepts of the Church.

I was in the Confessional last night and someone dropped a kneeler right as I was reciting "the good stuff". I was sure Father could not hear me. Maybe he couldn't, but God could, so don't worry about it. Before he assigned my Penance and gave me Absolution, Father said: "If you have not already selected what you will do for Lent that will enable you to grow closer to Him, please do so"

Hey, wait a minute, how did he know about my agony of this last week on what to "do" for Lent? Father didn't, but the Lord did. The Lord spoke thru the Priest last night. No one will ever tell me differently.

I finally GOT IT. It's not about how much you "do" or even what you do. If it bring you closer to Him, that's the main thing.

I happen to be someone who requires discipline or else I get lazy. I will still do what I said earlier for Lent. However, there may be someone who chooses to simply recite one prayer/day. That person may pack more spirituality and meaning into that one prayer by their careful meditation on each word then I will do for the entire 40 days. More power to them.

Whatever you do this Lent. Make it count. Grow closer to Him. Consider going to Confession-especially those of you who have not been in quite a while. Most parishes have aids to assist you and Lent is the time when those "how to confess" pamphlets are usually out.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jayne said...

C of A: I use the Father Altier book all the time. Actually, I'd be lost without it. It makes for a better examination of conscience.

Great Post...as usual!!!

February 21, 2007 11:41 AM  
Blogger RecoveringCatholic said...

I just love this blog. I started my own today and called it 'Recovering Catholic' although I am not the only person with this blog title and am certainly much less devout than you are! I have a much longer and more difficult road to travel. I love the depth and sincerity of your blog. May God Bless You and keep you close to his sacred heart.

Denis

February 22, 2007 12:25 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Denis: I just wandered over to your blog. My lawyers will be calling you to speak with you about your blog name.

Just kidding.

I'll be keeping an eye on you!

February 22, 2007 1:09 PM  

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