Pastor's Corner

2015 03-22 Avail Ourselves to the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent

Written by:

From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy

As we well know our Lenten journey continues. Pope Francis has challenged us to take the season of Lent seriously and to make spiritual progress in our lives. Our Holy Father has called Lent a time for repentance, spiritual renewal, conversion, and transformation. He has urged us to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during this season of Lent, acknowledging that we are all sinners in need of God’s mercy. He has also challenged us to make a daily and thorough examination of conscience during which we quietly acknowledge the wrong things we have done as well as the good things we have failed to do. Catholic News Service reports that Our Holy Father has provided a guide that lists certain key questions to be included in our examination of conscience so we may be able to “confess well.” These questions include the following:
Do I only turn to God when I am in need?
Do I attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation?
Do I begin and end the day with a prayer?
Am I embarrassed to show that I am a Christian?
Am I envious, hot-tempered, biased?
In my marital and family relations, do I uphold morality as taught in the gospels?
Do I honor and respect my parents?
Do I overdo it with eating and drinking, smoking and amusements?
Am I overly concerned with my physical well-being, my possessions?
How do I use my time? Am I lazy?
Do I want to be served?
Do I dream of revenge, hold grudges?
Am I meek, humble and a builder of peace?
Our Holy Father reminds us that Confession is meant to be a sincere time of conversion and spiritual healing, an occasion to demonstrate trust in God’s willingness to forgive his children and to help them back on the path of following Jesus. As we know the Sacrament of Reconciliation is not here to punish us but rather to get us closer to the Lord who loves us. In his Lenten Message, Pope Francis stated, “If we humbly implore God’s grace and accept our own limitations, we will trust in in the infinite possibilities which God’s love holds out for us.” He also challenged us to extend God’s mercy to those around us. He said, “Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart, closed to the tempter, but open to God.” Pope Francis stated “It is my prayerful hope that this Lent will prove spiritually fruitful for each believer and each ecclesial community.”

We are invited to heed the challenge of Our Holy Father and truly make spiritual progress and bear spiritual fruit during this Lenten journey as we await the glory of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior.

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