• The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ

    Painting by Roberto Quijano

  • “In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.” St. Boniface
  • A witness to Hope.

    There is always Hope.

  • Aid to the Church in need

  • St John Henry Newman…Pray for us.

    “From the age of fifteen, dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion: I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery.” Blessed John Henry Newman

  • Quote from Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman.

    “I sought to hear the voice of God And climbed the topmost steeple, But God declared: "Go down again - I dwell among the people."
  • Unashamedly Catholic

  • Disclaimer

    The views posted on this blog are those of 1catholicsalmon, and not of any other organisation, peoples or person.
  • The POPE app

  • vatican news

  • The Holy Father, Francis I

  • pope Francis I

    ''When we encounter the Cross, we turn to Mary: Give us the strength, Mary our Mother, to accept and embrace the Cross!''

    ''We do not become Christians by ourselves. Faith is above all a gift from God which is given to us in and through the Church.''

  • Francisco I Coat of Arms

  • Franciscan quote of the day

  • The Source and Summit

  • Faith seeking understanding

  • Marian in character. At its Heart Christ – centrered.

  • Pray the Rosary

    call your mother

  • Catholic internet Radio – England

  • Unique for a reason.

  • God’s perfect plan.

  • Favourite pic.

    Doing the Lord's work.

  • Compendium of the CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH

  • St Boniface

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 765 other followers

  • Bending your Ear

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • “From the age of fifteen, dogma has been the fundamental principle of my religion: I know no other religion; I cannot enter into the idea of any other sort of religion; religion, as a mere sentiment, is to me a dream and a mockery.” Blessed John Henry Newman.
  • 1catholicsalmon swimming upstream


    A Catholic eager to discuss the truth about Catholic Christianity.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • This month

    August 2017
    M T W T F S S
    « Sep    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • Goodreads

  • 1Flesh.org BRING SEXY BACK!

  • Recent tweets

    • RT @jhnewman: I wish to deal, not with controversialists, but with inquirers.pressed 5 months ago
    • RT @CardinalNichols: I urge the Government to work with renewed vigour, internationally and at home, to assist vulnerable child refugees h…pressed 6 months ago
    • RT @LBC: Lord Dubs has delivered petition to No 10 and condemns child refugee 'cop-out'. What possible reason is there for not taking in 2,…pressed 6 months ago
  • Awards 1.

  • 2.

  • 3.

  • 4.

  • 5.

  • 6.

  • 7.

  • 8.

    THANX TO BILTRIX!

  • 9.

    A super sweet treat from BILTRIX.

  • 10.

  • 11.

    Reader appreciation award.

  • 12.

  • 13.

    Award

  • 14

Corpus Christi

fef64aa14db4aa03b67d9fb3f4324387

 

 

5f9ca183ab87cee5a9676565ec793a6f (2)

 

As a Catholic I worship God.

602374_474793239208458_1279442040_n

Two years ago I attended a Baptist service celebrating the Dedication of a friend’s baby to God. A  substantial service which consisted of a significant praise and worship segment, prayer, preaching and finally the dedication of little Noah. I was moved by the intense prayer for the baby during this part of the service. Four members of the church community (who seemed to have standing in the community) prayed over the baby. This was followed by tea and then a luncheon.

It was at the luncheon that  my daughter and I got chatting with a couple who were seated at our table. We discussed the service amongst other things and the conversation inevitably led to us discussing which church we belonged to. As soon as we said that we attend St. Joseph’s, an uncomfortable (albeit short) silence ensued and the conversation petered out after that.

On coming across the above poster recently, my mind was taken back to this encounter and yes, I understand now what my Catholicity may have represented to that couple. Their reaction was a plainly visible physical recoiling as they realised that we are Catholic.

This brings me to the sermon at Mass last Sunday. The picture on the bottom right of the poster brought me here, because what I do at Mass is exactly this, listen to the Word of God, and  praise Him in thanksgiving through song and prayer and receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus. We were reminded that the Eucharist means ‘thanksgiving’. That we should  give thanks for everything we have, freely and willingly. We should go to church every week to ‘freely and willingly’ give heartfelt thanks to God, not because we feel that it’s our duty to go, but because we want to thank God  for all He has done for us through Jesus. We were gently reminded too, that often-times Catholics take for granted the Great Gift that  we have in the Eucharist because that is what we’re used to having at Mass. There shouldn’t be an ‘ought’ attached to this weekly Worship. We should respond in true thanks-giving each week. If there is an ‘ought’ attached to our attending Mass, we should stop and think about our motives.

‘What is our calling as Christians? To thanks God. When all our worldly goods are removed from us and we are faced with the essential nature of our lives, the most important ‘thing’ that we are left with is God. We need to thank God for Him, because He is everything. We are totally dependant of God’s divine mercy. He gave Himself to us, and as an act of worship, we give thanks to Him for this.’ 

This is why I go to church.

Fr. Peter at Mass.

download

Before Mass started I smiled to myself, knowing that Father Peter finds the noise and the fidgeting at the children’s Mass ‘challenging.’

Today, Father kept us a little longer as we had to complete the parish census forms. A good idea, because he wanted them back straight after Mass. Helpers were stationed in the narthex with collection baskets at the ready. So, to the tune of baby squalls and very restless toddlers, we dutifully filled in the forms before we left the building to the rousing sound of percussion instruments being played as accompaniment to the hymn by those very same toddlers and children. (I attended the 9:30 this morning, always packed to the the rafters.)

I love Father’s homilies and always come away with something to think about, and this morning as I left Mass I asked if he would mind me taking notes during his homilies, because my memory is just not co-operating. I always wish that I did have a pen and paper at the ready, because I know there will be something I’ll want to share and never remember what it is. I will be suitably armed with pen and paper from now on.

Father spoke about faith today as I’m sure all priests did, and his message to the parents of the children who are about to start  the Holy Communion course was about prayer. Teach them ‘arrow prayers’.  Prayers that are sharp and to the point. Such as the prayer that reminds us of St. Thomas, ‘My Lord and my God.’ This we say as the body of Christ is held up for veneration after the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of or Lord Jesus Christ.

The other one he mentioned, ‘Lord increase my faith today.’ He made reference to St. Augustine for this one one…I forget the link he made with St Augustine(hence the need for pen and paper!) Both of these little ‘arrow prayers’ are pretty powerful in themselves as they serve to increase our faith and worship our God as all-powerful at the same time.

Meditative singing….a formula of calming repetition…

During Adoration of the Eucharist yesterday we sang this beautiful song of praise and worship. The first time I’ve heard it, and one that I’ll be including in my prayers in future. Eucharistic-Jesus-Adoration

Meditative singing

Singing is one of the most essential elements of worship. Short songs, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character. Using just a few words they express a basic reality of faith, quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being. Meditative singing thus becomes a way of listening to God. It allows everyone to take part in a time of prayer together and to remain together in attentive waiting on God, without having to fix the length of time too exactly.

To open the gates of trust in God, nothing can replace the beauty of human voices united in song. This beauty can give us a glimpse of “heaven’s joy on earth,” as Eastern Christians put it. And an inner life begins to blossom within us.

These songs also sustain personal prayer. Through them, little by little, our being finds an inner unity in God. They can continue in the silence of our hearts when we are at work, speaking with others or resting. In this way prayer and daily life are united. They allow us to keep on praying even when we are unaware of it, in the silence of our hearts.

The “songs of Taizé” published in different languages are simple, but preparation is required to use them in prayer. This preparation should take place before the prayer itself, so that once it begins the atmosphere remains meditative.

During the prayer it is better if no one directs the music; in this way everyone can face the cross, the icons or the altar. (In a large congregation, however, it may be necessary for someone to direct, as discreetly as possible, a small group of instruments or singers who support the rest, always remembering that they are not giving a performance for the others.) The person who begins the songs is generally up front, together with those who will read the psalm, the reading and the intercessions, not facing the others but turned like them towards the altar or the icons. If a song is begun spontaneously, the pitch is generally too low. A tuning fork or pitch pipe can help, or a musical instrument give the first note or accompany the melody. Make sure the tempo does not slow down too much, as this tends to happen when the singing goes on for some time. As the number of participants increases, it becomes necessary to use a microphone, preferably hand-held, to begin and end the songs (they can be ended by singing “Amen” on the final note). The person who begins the singing can support the others by singing into a microphone, being careful not to drown out the other voices. A good sound-system is essential if the congregation is large; if necessary check it before the prayer and try it out with those who will be using the microphones.

Songs in many different languages are appropriate for large international gatherings. In a neighborhood prayer with people of all ages present, most of the songs should be in languages actually understood by some of the participants, or in Latin. If possible, give each person a song sheet or booklet. You can also include one or two well-known local songs or hymns.

Instruments: a guitar or keyboard instrument can support the harmonic structure of the songs. They are especially helpful in keeping the correct pitch and tempo. Guitars should be played in classical, not folk style. A microphone may be necessary for them to be heard. In addition to this basic accompaniment, there are parts for other instruments.   (Taize)

“Something very interesting at Taizé is that this formula of calming repetition has been taken up in the liturgy; that is, it is not used only in personal prayer, but also in prayer together or common prayer. Some young people, who know almost nothing of mystery, are introduced to it here, and they begin to learn how to pray.”

Olivier Clément

I have put visiting the TAIZE COMMUNITY on my bucket list.

 

 

 

Adoration with Pope Francis.

Each one of us is a co-worker of Christ - we must labor hard to carry Him to the hearts where He has not yet been known and loved...But, unless we have Jesus, we cannot give Him; that is why we need the Eucharist. Spend as much time as possible in front of the Blessed Sacrament and He will fill you with His strength and His power. - Blessed Mother Teresa

Each one of us is a co-worker of Christ – we must labor hard to carry Him to the hearts where He has not yet been known and loved…But, unless we have Jesus, we cannot give Him; that is why we need the Eucharist. Spend as much time as possible in front of the Blessed Sacrament and He will fill you with His strength and His power. – Blessed Mother Teresa

On Sunday June 2, 2013 at 5 pm Rome time, Pope Francis will preside at a special hour of Eucharistic adoration in St Peter’s Square in Rome on the afternoon of the Feast of Corpus Christi. The feast of Corpus Christi celebrates the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist.
adoration_pope-francis

This year the Pope has added a special theme to this day : “One Lord, One Faith”, to testify to the deep unity that characterizes it. “It will be an event, occurring for the first time in the history of the Church, which is why we can describe it as ‘historical’, says Archbishop Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. The cathedrals of the world will be synchronized with Rome and will, for an hour, be in communion with the Pope in Eucharistic adoration.

The Archbishop says there has been an incredible response to this initiative, going beyond the cathedrals and involving episcopal conferences, parishes, lay associations, and religious congregations, especially cloistered ones.”

Because the Year of Faith is meant “to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed and also the source from which all its power flows” the Pope has asked that this initiative be extended to as many parishes as possible throughout the world.

Pope Francis has two intentions for this one hour which are: 

“For the Church spread throughout the world and united today in the adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist as a sign of unity.

May the Lord make her ever more obedient to hearing His Word in order to stand before the world ‘ever more beautiful, without stain or blemish, but holy and blameless.’

That through her faithful announcement, the Word that saves may still resonate as the bearer of mercy and may increase love to give full meaning to pain and suffering, giving back joy and serenity.”

Pope Francis’ second intention is:

“For those around the world who still suffer slavery and who are victims of war, human trafficking, drug running, and slave labour.
For the children and women who are suffering from every type of violence. May their silent scream for help be heard by a vigilant Church so that, gazing upon the crucified Christ, she may not forget the many brothers and sisters who are left at the mercy of violence.

For all those who find themselves in economically precarious situations, above all for the unemployed, the elderly, migrants, the homeless, prisoners, and those who experience marginalization.

That the Church’s prayer and its active nearness give them comfort and assistance in hope and strength and courage in defending human dignity.”

Further information can be found on the Year of Faith website, at www.annusfidei.va. 

Fresco, San Marco, Florence- scene from the Last Supper.

Fresco, San Marco, Florence- scene from the Last Supper.

 

The real question is what CHOICE do each of us make in meeting our spiritual challenges?

I found this quote here that spoke so clearly to me immediately:

I believe the Catholic Church provides many opportunities to focus on the Gospels. Actually being in the pew is the first step. An active Catholic participates, seeks out information, and is engaged in the many activities, including charitable causes.

If a person joins an organization by signing their name, seldom attends the meetings, never volunteers, and is not in sync with the group’s basic principles, would they be considered an active member?

The real question is what CHOICE do each of us make in meeting our spiritual challenges?

Are you one of the ‘Cafe Catholics’ who has not darkened the door of the church for some time or who has little knowledge about Christ at the centre of His Church? Has your knowledge of Faith stagnated and become fuzzy, so you just add little bits into your ‘faith’ because it feels more comfortable to do so, and fits into your understanding of a relationship of Jesus? Are you unsure about the truth of the Faith? Do you cringe and turn away from those who criticise the Church and end up agreeing with others’ statements about Jesus and what He teaches just to end a conversation? Do you have serious grievances against the Church which have never been heard? Do you generally go to church at Christmas and Easter but couldn’t be bothered to go to Confession or to receive Holy Communion? Do you feel uncomfortable about secular issues but can’t put you finger on why you feel this way?  Do you openly criticise the tenets of ‘church and faith’ as a catholic?

There are so many inactive Catholics who have signed up and call themselves catholic! So many who are missing out on an exciting Spiritual Journey of Discovery:- the discovery of our Loving God and who He is, and how He can change our hearts and minds and make us notice things we’ve never recognised about Him before.  Get active in your parish!… search for our Lord. He is to be found there…in our midst. Search for the answers to your Spiritual Challenges. Be prepared for changes that will most certainly come your way.

What better way is there to do this than by getting involved with a group or setting up a new group in your parish? I have had the pleasure of  meeting many interesting people with many interesting talents with so much LOVE for our Lord. So much love to give. His Love oozes from them and in turn we are moved by His actions in them. We meet Him in them. It is in this way that we broaden our continuously growing knowledge of Love and how we understand this Love more in our giving to others . This well of Knowledge is deep and unending. The breadth and scope of what always seems to remain undiscovered spreads out in vast plains before us the more we search and thirst for our loving Father.

The youth of the parish exude a love for life asking urgent, challenging questions. The elderly preserve precious Traditions of the Church and in so doing, help us to understand those Traditions and grow more in love with our Lord. Our contemporaries support us in our Journey with a shoulder to lean on, prayers and understanding.

Parishes are built up  and made stronger by those who volunteer their talents for the sake of others. It is there that we learn to understand the meaning of humility and tolerance for others that little bit more each and every time we’re involved. It is there that we have the opportunity to share our experiences of the Lord and our love of Him with others in a way that only He can do, and in so doing you can move someone into a deeper relationship with Him. It is there that we are accepted and loved for who we are without any prerequisites or judgement. It is there that we build up the Church on earth. We are the Body  of Christ on earth.images (1)Catholic parishes are full to the brim with a cross-section of cultures and life experiences  with the Lord Jesus. Surely these experiences only work to build links and open invitations to getting to know God in yet again in another way through them? It is only there that you are exposed to the love given and received by your parish priest in ways sometimes most unexpected. You become witness to the many roles that you priest takes on a daily basis. The most important being: bringing Christ to those he is in contact with. Yes, you see Him at Mass and listen to him share the Gospels on a Sunday and hopefully, teaching about the Truth of our Faith: Jesus himself. Have you really listened to the Gospels for a message  pointed straight at you? Have you chosen to listen to the Word of God?

I have been privileged to meet some of the most inspirational priests, religious and lay people who are experts in their fields who can go a long way in answering those burning questions about Jesus that may have simmered for so long. The Journey is slow, gentle and welcoming. Just make the CHOICE to be active in your Faith. Active in your parish and in so doing in the wider the community. Make the CHOICE to get to know Jesus.

What better way to make up your mind about coming back into The Fold: Finding out about what’s new in the Church, how God is working in Her midst, finding Peace and restitution in God’s provision of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and then of course, Christ himself in the  Eucharist. Have you thought about making an appointment with your parish priest to ask questions, ask for guidance or ask your challenging Spiritual questions? I think you may be pleasantly surprised.

10-tips-for-happiness-904x1024

Fancy the idea of making a change for the better? Come back to Church!

What is Casual Catholicism? Its Defining Symptoms and Five Cures

I am re-blogging this from Ascending Mount Carmel. With the Year of Faith looming large, this fantastic post just hit the spot. I know some casual Catholics who pick and choose, condemn and criticize. I find it hard to be around them. This is where practising Catholics need to be strong and courageous enough to continue conversations and ask and answer pertinent questions that will get these ‘Casuals’ to take a closer look at the Faith. In my opinion, the ‘Casuals’ need conversion and straight talking, firing shots straight from the hip!


We all know the term “cafeteria Catholicism” by now – simply put, the one who picks and chooses from elements of their faith and leaves the rest behind.  But what about “casual Catholicism”?  Ever heard of this?

Casual Catholicism cannot be precisely defined, but it certainly has its trademark aspects.  I’ll list a few hallmark elements of what could be said to define a casual Catholic:

1.  A casual Catholic treats the Eucharist as a light snack, as a symbol and nothing else, as merely a “wafer” and some wine.  Holy Communion is just something one “takes” at Mass out of custom, not because they are in a state to do so, or are desirous of receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  No, it’s just the thing that one does.

2.  A casual Catholic really knows about as much about their faith as one might know about the fine print on a box of Lucky Charms cereal by heart.  Ask them who St. Augustine was, and they’ll shrug. Ask them about the Council of Nicaea and they’ll probably give you the most quizzical look of all time.

3.  A casual Catholic only goes to Mass when they have to – Sundays at best, Christmas and Easter at worst.  Casual Catholics never go out of their way to do anything extra.

Those are just a few observations I have made – of course, not everyone has time to engage in copious study of their faith, nor are they able to go to Mass when they aren’t required to.  People are simply busy sometimes.

Nonetheless, casual Catholicism (one might also all it “nominal Catholicism”) as a phenomena is one of the worst ills plaguing the Church.  The world begins to assume that Catholics don’t really care about what they believe in.  Protestants begin to view Catholics as never picking up a Bible, and simply as being duped by “smells and bells” or as merely being born into something they don’t really believe in.  In effect, casual Catholicism can be summed up as being one giant spiritual shrug.

So how do we cure the haphazard, shrugging nature of casual Catholicism, whose only great manifesto are the words “I guess…yeah…sort of…whatever”?  I’ve come up with some ideas – by your leave:

1.  Go to Confession for venial sins, and not just mortal sins.

From what I’ve gathered from the lives of the saints, they went to confession on a continual and constant basis for even the smallest of faults.  Of course, I’m not encouraging over-scrupulosity; no, I’m encouraging spiritual growth.  If we never approach the sacrament of God’s Mercy, how can we know it in that way?  How can we overcome the scars and little wounds of daily spiritual struggle if we only go to the Healer when a limb has been lopped off?  As St. Francis de Sales writes, “Our Savior gave us the sacrament of penance and confession to His Church so that we may be cleansed from all iniquities no matter how often and how greatly we have been defiled by them.”1

Much of the problems in the Church today, I think, stems from the fact that many view sin in a casual manner, that hell is just a symbol or non-existent, or that God will just forgive us anyway therefore don’t worry about it.  Yes, God will always forgive us – but if we presume upon God’s Mercy, then we become little more than antinomians and sloths.  As Seneca once wrote, “You are living as if destined to live for ever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply – though all the while that very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last.”2

Therefore, cultivate a healthy awareness of sin in your life – we all do it, we are all sinners.  It is recognizing it, repenting of it, and running to God everytime we do sin, that makes all the difference.

2.  Adopt a devotion.

There is nothing quite like the Catholic prayer life – and yet so many seem to make no use of all its splendorous avenues to the Heart of God.  If one’s prayer life is dry, if lukewarmness is filling one’s soul to the brim with stagnant, muddy water, then it’s time to adopt a particular devotion.

Saints abound – which one speaks to you?  Have you studied their life or their spirituality in order to compliment your reading of the Scriptures?  Choose a patron saint – if you’re lucky, one might voluntarily choose you!

Plus, there is much more to the world of Catholic prayer than simply the Rosary, though the Rosary is arguably the greatest prayer in the Christian West.  Understand too that it is a most beautiful, most wonderfully all-encompassing prayer I think in the Western Christian tradition.  But there is so much more – the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Rosary of the Seven Dolors, the Rosary of the Most Admirable Heart of Mary as prescribed by St. John Eudes, the prayers of the Divine Office, the Angelus, and the sweetest prayer of the Christian East – the Jesus Prayer.

I would also add that a great way to invigorate and give extra meaning to your prayer life is to pray for others in some way.  Pray daily for the souls in Purgatory, pray daily for those suffering in other parts of the world, pray Acts of Reparation to the Sacred Heart, pray for whatever group or persons speak to your own compassionate heart the most.


3.  Listen to sacred music.

I am sure this suggestion probably comes off a little out of left-field, but nonetheless, for me, music is a particularly excellent way to be edified and contemplate the things of God and holiness.  Ignore the vacuous modern praise and worship pop songs, and explore instead the beautiful world of Christian music as it existed for hundreds of years beforehand.

Also worth checking out are Jocelyn Montgomery’s angelic renditions of the music of St. Hildegard of Bingen, as well as the Georgian Orthodox Choir led by Nana Peradze.  If your heart is not moved by such music…

4.  Study your faith.

“It is very profitable to occupy oneself with reading the word of God in solitude, and to read the whole Bible intelligently…One should likewise nourish the soul also with knowledge of the Church.”3

I am firmly convinced that if more people took even a little time to really know their faith, even on a basic level, the Church would be strengthened by leaps and bounds.  Put away the pop theology books and Christianity-section “bestsellers”.  Read something of substance – if one is nervous to dive in too deep, always begin with the greats like C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton.

Frankly, aside from finding the time in a busy life and schedule, it is inexplicable to me why a Catholic would not want to explore their faith and soak it all in.  Bask in the history and tradition and lives of its members, sponge up all the theology and spiritual writings you can!  Ours is a fascinating faith – enjoy it and learn about it.

5.  Ask Yourself – “Who is Jesus to me?”

By asking this question of yourself, you will find out where your spiritual life is at pretty quickly.  More importantly, however, it will cause the gears to turn in your mind and soul.  St. Bernard of Clairvaux used to ask himself daily in the monastery, “Why am I here?” – so should we all ask ourselves why we are Catholic, why we believe, and what we hold Jesus to be.  Who do you say that He is?

‘Grow in Grace’. Is this simple, straightforward gardening?

I have just read a book called ‘What’s so amazing about Grace?’  I was disappointed to say the least. I am no more literate in my understanding of  Grace than I was before I started reading this book and in fact I disagreed with the author within the first few chapters of the book so much so that I started speed reading through the rest of the book.

Perhaps my perspective on Grace remains infantile but I realise that it’s an area of my Journey with the Lord that I need to investigate further, pray about and unwrap. I then came across the poster telling me to ‘grow in grace’…???

As I understand it, I receive Grace ( a sanctifying/Holy spiritual gift from God) through the Sacraments of the Church, namely Baptism, Reconciliation , Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and the Sacrament of the Sick. Through these Sacraments, my eyes and ears are opened to God’s messages and communication with me through His Living Word, the people around me and through prayer and fasting. Through this precious gift of Grace my soul is open to receive and understand Revelation. I realise that I have to be ‘in tune’ with the Lord in order to recognise this precious gift of Grace thorough the Sacraments.

Some questions about Grace I need to investigate further: (lots of reading to be done!!)

  1. Is Grace something I just get because I say I am Christian?
  2. Is Grace different from a Blessing
  3. Is Grace free to us because Jesus died on the Cross?
  4. Do I need the Sacraments of the Church to receive Grace?
  5. What does a Blessing bestow as opposed to Grace?

Confession 2: The History of Confession

History of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Church

Jesus educated and lived by the message of reconciliation in his parables and in his healings, as we see this through bible stories. We as Christians believe that the life of a Christian is one of reconciliation and with our self, others and God. The Catholic church, from the earliest times, has had a deep understanding and believed profoundly in the mercy and forgiveness of God. The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has been used as an opportunity to reconcile  with their selves, God and the community. Below is information about how Reconciliation was celebrated in the Early Church and how it has developed.

The Sacrament in the First and Second Centuries:

In these early centuries, it was believed that baptism was to the sign of the converted person’s new life in Christ which involved the forgiveness of sin. It was understood that baptised people gained forgiveness through taking the Eucharist and participating in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. When confessing sins, they were said directly to God. For mortal or serious sin, the Church began a process of community penance.

They believed that forgiveness could only be received once in a life time, but a person had fallen into a very deadly sin again, they would be unable to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Anointing. However, the Christian community would pray for the person at death.

The Sacrament in the Third to Fifth Centuries:

In these centuries a formal ritual for forgiveness of sin was gradually developed. This was a public ritual , which was celebrated a s a community, and presided by a bishop, in which the person in need of forgiveness was received into the order of penitents. The sinner would have to start fasting, prayer and works of charity in the community as a procedure of penance and conversion. The bishop, would then bring them back into the community, on behalf of the community in a liturgy which was usually celebrated just prior to Easter.

The ceremony of forgiveness was kept as side for major sins in the community, and forgiveness could be taken out of action for a period of time between three to fifteen years. Sometimes the sins were known to the whole community, and overtime the penitent would sometimes confide their sins to a bishop or priest.

The Sacrament in the Sixth to Ninth Centuries:

In England and Ireland, the practice of looking for private spiritual help from monks became popular in these countries. As this spiritual help became more common, it led  to a private ritual of Reconciliation which was then frequently used in the Church . In the late sixth century, when monks from England and Ireland came to Europe, the practice of private reconciliation became typical. After this happening, public penance then shifted to the practice of private confession. This took over that once-in-a-life-time public ritual that used to be commonly practiced. Only in some Eastern Churches have public forms of confession followed by private confession.

The Sacrament in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries:

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, procedure for reconciliation in the Church was made. This consisted of:

  • Confession: this is when the person tells his/her sin to the priest, which represents Jesus in the Church
  • Contrition: this is when the person is genuinely sorry for his/her sin and expresses this sorrow.
  • Absolution: this is when the priest then offers forgiveness on behalf of God and the Church.
  • Satisfaction: under the direction of the priest the person does something to apologize for the damage they have caused by his/her sin. This also can be referred to as a “penance”.

Sixteenth Century

At the Council of Trent, it was said Confession or Penance was now a sacrament of the church. This declaration confirmed the practice that was already in place. The church then suggested that Catholics now had to use this sacrament at least once a year.

Twentieth Century

The Second Vatican council suggested that they call for the revision of the Sacrament of Penance. So in 1973 the revised Sacrament was publicized, which also promoted the three rites in which may be celebrated today. After this, there was a new emphasis on God’s love and mercy and the opportunity of the Sacrament offered for reconciliation. After this the importance of the community dimension was strained. Catholics were then encouraged to also have community celebrations of reconciliation as well as an individual celebration  and acknowledgement of sin.

Read more here.

CONFESSION 1: Forgotten,ignored and definitely underrated.

 


The symbolism in this picture prompts a prayer from me:

I need Your mercy and forgiveness Lord: I reach out for  Your love, to be closer to You, to be reconciled with You;  I admit that I have strayed from Your path and that I have offended You in my thoughts, actions or words; I reach for greater intimacy with You my  Lord God and Saviour; I want Your Grace Lord, to renew me and open my eyes to You and in order to see how You want to use me for Your glory. Amen. 

I still call this Sacrament Confession however, this term is interchangeable with that of  RECONCILIATION. Ever since my first Reconciliation, this Sacrament remains an integral and indispensable  part of my relationship with Jesus. It has always been special because of  the Grace I receive through this Sacrament.

At a prayer group recently the topic of Reconciliation came up and I was surprised to find out that it is looked upon as a daunting experience. Yes, I am nervous at the thought of  confessing my sins to God but  I know that God instituted this Sacrament through Jesus, using His priests as conduits here on earth for the my benefit of my soul and my openness to the Grace which I receive at Holy Communion. I have experienced two Grace-filled times during  Holy Communion after having received absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It was just beautiful, so I continue to seek the tangible peace of the Lord again and again. Reconciliation plays a huge part in this search for me. All Catholics are free to receive this gift of Grace. The good Lord hands it out for free through His Sacraments of the Church.

A direct quote : from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

” I. What is This Sacrament Called?

1423 It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father5 from whom one has strayed by sin.
It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.

1424 It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a “confession” – acknowledgment and praise – of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.
It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent “pardon and peace.”6
It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the live of God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to God.”7 He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: “Go; first be reconciled to your brother.”8 ”

Sacraments are God’s gift to the Church. They both symbolize God acting in the lives of people and they bring about what they symbolize. One way to think about how symbolic action has a real impact is to think of an embrace between husband and wife or between close friends. To those looking on, the embrace is a symbol of the closeness of the relationship between the people. For the people themselves the embrace actually brings them closer together as through it they feel more strongly bonded to each other. Sacraments are a little like that.

When a person is baptized, those observing the symbolic action of either immersion in water or of water being poured  – are prompted to think of wide range of associations that water brings to mind. Examples include water that cleanses, rain that refreshes parched land; the sea, lakes and rivers teaming with life; floods that destroy; and our fear of drowning. For the person who is baptized the experience of symbolic drowning and cleansing has an impact on their interior life of feelings and values. Through God’s grace bestowed in the Sacrament of Baptism a Christian’s life takes on a new meaning and their relationship with God and the Christian community becomes deeper and richer.

All of the sacraments involve people making use of material things acting in symbolic ways. God’s Grace works in the body, mind and spirit of a person as they participate in sacramental action. Sacraments have a real effect on the life of those who accept them as gifts from God. In and through sacraments people, are invited to reflect upon the meaning and significance of their relationship with God, with others and all of creation.