Wet, wash, rinse (repeat, if necessary)…

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St Peter in Penitence

St Peter in Penitence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After getting out of the shower this morning, these words came to me as a reminder of what it takes to get rid of filth.  I remember reading the side of a shampoo bottle that explained how to wash your hair, and seeing these instructions:  Wet, wash, rinse (repeat, if necessary).  I remember asking myself, who needs to be told how to wash their hair?  I also remember asking myself, if your hair didn’t come clean after the first wash, do you really need to be told to repeat, if necessary?  Finally, I remember asking myself, is the shampoo company trying to convince me to wash more than once, so I will use up the shampoo faster?  Ok, so I have issues with instructions.  As I think back to the label of that shampoo, I realize that God was revealing something to me about the Sacrament of Confession, even before I was Catholic.

As I prepare to go to the Sacrament of Confession again tomorrow, I am looking forward to the dipping of my fingers in the bowl of holy water as I enter the church to WET my body, as a reminder of my Sacrament of Baptism.  I also look forward to the WASH of the recollection of my sins and absolution I will receive from the Priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  It is with joy, that I will dip my fingers into the bowl of holy water on my way out of the church as a RINSE of my soul from the stains of my past sins, in a further remembrance of my Sacrament of Baptism.  However, I will most remember the words, REPEAT, IF NECESSARY, to say that when I fall again, I will be welcomed back into the Confessional to again wash away the filth that I have picked up from my concupiscent self that lives in this fallen world.

This is the formula to combat any sin that we struggle with, but most especially those sins that continue to plague us, even after we have confessed them many times.  I believe it is important for us to remember that everyone, even the Pope uses this formula to fight off the temptation to justify or rationalize sinful behavior, by saying I couldn’t go back to confession to confess the same thing, and maybe it is not as bad as we know it is.  As for Pope Francis, I heard that he has a regularly scheduled appointment for Confession every two weeks and I think if we are being honest with ourselves, we know that we should have an appointment with our Confessor at least that often.  Wet, wash, rinse (repeat, if necessary)

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Is it just me, or is Jesus talking to us too?

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Offertoire en rite tridentin

Offertoire en rite tridentin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Gift:  Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.

 

Reading:  Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.  For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”  (Luke 10:23-24)

 

Observation:  It is possible that I came to this conclusion before when I heard this reading and I may have even journaled on it.  However, I feel like it is important for me to say that I feel blessed to be living in these days where we can know Jesus intimately through all the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist.  In both visible signs of God’s grace, we can see, feel and experience grace in a way that the prophets and kings of the old testament only dreamed about.

 

Personification:  Patience. I came to the conclusion after Mass on Sunday, that I need to show more patience with those that are leading our congregation in worship and in the different ministries in our church.  I was reminded of the fact that it took me 20 years of walking in the faith to come to the conclusions that I have about the importance and necessity of the church in all areas of your life.  That should not be a matter of pride for me that I got to this point in my faith in 20 years, rather I should be thankful that the grace of God has gotten me this far and his grace is enough to get us all to be able to enjoy eternal life with Him.

 

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…Amen!

 

Who has the authority to rid our lives of maleficence…For good?

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SEVEN SACRAMENTS - Penance

SEVEN SACRAMENTS – Penance (Photo credit: Fergal of Claddagh)

Gift:   The Gift of the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints.  (Taken from prayer for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit)

Reading:  The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my servant will be healed.”  (Matthew 8:8)

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When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, And he drove out the spirits by a word, and cured the sick.  (Matthew 8:16)

Observation:  As I read the Gospel this morning, I heard the call to keep reading the Word of God and seeking the salvation from my sinfulness from the truth that is contained in the word, as it says in the two verses that I selected above.  However, when I watched the video reflection for today on the USCCB website, I realized that since today is the Feast the Martyrs of Rome, and the first reading is from the Book of Lamentations, it may just be one specific word that I am looking for to save me from my sinfulness.   The word is “repent”.  To me, it means to be contrite about my past sins, and seek out the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis, and know that it is by God’s grace that I can be healed of my maleficence.

Personification:  Patience  This may sound weird, but most of what I write probably does, but I need to learn to have patience with God and the work that he is doing in me.  In order to display the fruit of patience, I cannot let myself get down about where I have been or the decisions I have made in the past, I must focus on His grace that flows freely from the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Prayer:  Lord, if you remember my sins no more, help me know that you are aware of all of my sinful tendencies, and lean on your grace to save me from them.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen.

I will bless the Lord at all times…

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Birgitta of Sweden on an altarpiece in Salem c...

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Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Reading:  I sought the LORD, who answered me, delivered me from all my fears. Look to God that you may be radiant with joy and your faces may not blush for shame. In my misfortune I called, the LORD heard and saved me from all distress. The angel of the LORD, who encamps with them, delivers all who fear God. Learn to savor how good the LORD is; happy are those who take refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you holy ones; nothing is lacking to those who fear him. 3 The powerful grow poor and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.  (Psalm 34:5-11)

Observation:  I went to Mass this morning and heard the name of Saint Bridget of Sweden mentioned, but the Mass readings were from the normal readings for the Saturday in the sixteenth week in ordinary time.  I looked for about an hour for the optional readings listed anywhere on the internet, and I couldn’t find them.  I knew they were in the Daily Missal at the church, but it was confounding about why I could not find them anywhere else.  Anyway, once I got to the church this afternoon to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet and take my oldest son to finally do his first confession, I found them and read them.  It was the perfect Psalm for my son and myself to hear, since it will be my first confession since our last general reconciliation service here at Saint Alice before Christmas.

Personification:  Peace  I’d like to say that since I took the job working for the church as a Director of Religious Education and Coordinator of Youth Ministry, I have felt much peace and joy that I have not needed the Sacrament of Reconciliation as much.  However, the fact is that I was always able to justify not going because my schedule conflicted with the Confession schedule at Saint Mary’s. It is true that I really haven’t had much to confess, but it really isn’t the quantity of sins confessed as the quality of the confession.  I hope that I can display the peace that comes from the grace that I will receive after receiving the words of absolution from the priest and the forgiveness from God for the sins that I struggle with.

Prayer:  Lord, as I venture to Saint Mary Catholic Church to confess my sins this afternoon, allow me to really let go and confess all of my sins, so that I can get lost in the pool of God’s grace and forgiveness after I return.  Please help my son to make a good confession too.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Encourage yourselves daily…

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A penitent confessing his sins in the former L...

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Gift:  Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

Reading:  Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.  We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.  (Hebrews 3:13-14)

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Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”  (Mark 1:44)

Observation:  When I was selecting the verses to journal on this morning, I realized that I missed this admonition from the letter of Hebrews the first time I read through the readings.  Once I realized how impactful this admonition could be for others as well as me, I made the beginning of it the title for today’s post.  Also, the gospel reading was a reminder to me that the outward signs of the church, such as confession, are ways that the holy Spirit was leading the church to reach out to more people.  Even though, Jesus knew that this man would go and tell everyone about his healing, he mentions the ritual to make sure we know that we have a greater responsibility to our community as well as our own salvation.

Personification:  Love  It is a sign of our willingness to give up our selfish tendencies to go to the church to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation or our reception of any of the sacraments for that matter.  I hope that I can show the fruit of love for other people by being more faithful to the reception of the sacraments, whether I feel like I need to receive them or not.  (especially Confession

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay faithful to your Word and bring more people to the church by more faithful reception of the sacraments.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.