Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Frequent Confession

The pope recently stressed the importance of frequent confession and once again emphasized the importance of it for healing the soul and restoring the breach that sin makes in the Christian community. I used to think my sins were between me and God only and not affecting anyone else. But, because we are members one with another as St. Paul says in 1 Cor 12 , our actions affect others in some unseen yet real way. When we sin we do damage to our relationship to God and to others. The sacrament of confession applies the blood of Jesus and restores us to fellowship with Him as well as the mystical body of Christ.
Once we confess our sins to the priest and God washes us clean, we then need to make reparation for the temporal consequences of our sin. Often, it is difficult to come up with a penance that "fits the crime" so to speak, so my priest will often ask me to pray before the blessed sacrament. Sometimes it is a few set prayers, other times it is a request to pray for someone in the parish who is suffering. I am not earning forgiveness! That was earned for me at Calvary 2000 years ago and applied through the authority he gave his Church.(John 20:23) But my penance after confession is done to repay/restore/restitute the damage my sin has done. Jesus told the man in the gospel that he would go to prison until the last penny of his debt was paid up! He didn't just say, "Go free, don't worry about ripping someone off, you're forgiven."

Here's what Pope Benedict said yesterday about the Sacrament of Penance(Confession)
from Catholic World News:

At his midday public audience on Sunday, February 15, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged Catholics to make more regular use of the sacrament of Penance.

Speaking on the day's Gospel reading from St. Mark, which recounted how Jesus healed a leper, the Holy Father remarked that in the Hebrew tradition leprosy was regarded not merely as a disease but as "the most serious form of impurity." The priests of Israel, from the time of Aaron, were given the job of identifying lepers, who were then set apart from the community unless the priests subsequently certified them as having been cleansed. "Leprosy, then, constituted a kind of religious and civil death, and its cure a sort of resurrection," the Pope said.

Leprosy can easily be seen, then, as a symbol of sin, the Pope continued. "The sins we commit distance us from God and, if not humbly confessed with trust in divine mercy, they go so far as to produce the death of the soul." But Jesus restores sinners just as he restored the leper. By his Sacrifice on the Cross, the Pope explained, Jesus took on the burden of human sin, becoming in effect a leper himself-- someone despised by the community, an outcast-- and brought the healing power of redemption to all of us who are stained by impurity.

Through sacramental Confession, Pope Benedict said, the sinner is cleansed of impurity and restored to the community, in a sort of resurrection that is foreshadowed by Christ's healing of the leper. Therefore, the Pope concluded, the faithful should "make frequent use of the sacrament of Confession, the sacrament of forgiveness." He urged Catholics to "rediscover" the importance of the sacrament.


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