Many have drifted away from having
frequent recourse to the Sacrament of God’s mercy that we call Confession! The reasons are many! Some have never had their conscience well formed;
others are paralyzed with fear; still others simply blurt out: “I have no
sin!” Be it as it may, this crisis must
The following are five concrete
practices that you right now can undertake to promote the return to God’s mercy
through returning to the frequent reception of the Sacrament of Confession.
YOU PERSONALLY: GO TO
CONFESSION! It would be insincere to try
to convince others to go to confession if we ourselves are putting up pretexts
and excuses to avoid receiving God’s infinite mercy by avoiding going to Confession.
Prepare yourself today and go to confession tomorrow! Do not let the devil of procrastination
MERCY. Then after you have experienced the infinite
mercy of God by making your own personal Sacramental Confession to a priest, then
invite somebody to go to Confession.
Remind this wandering soul, lost sheep, Prodigal son/daughter that God’s
mercy is infinite. Saint Paul reminds
us: “Where sin abounds the mercy of God abounds all the more.” Furthermore, the Diary of mercy in my soul of
Saint Faustina Kowalska asserts that the greatest sinners can be the greatest
saints if they simply place their trust in the Infinite mercy of Jesus.
Actually, the greatest sin, according to Jesus, highlighted in the Diary, is a
lack of confidence in Him! This lack of
confidence is what wounds Jesus most.
THE PRODIGAL SON AND CONFESSION.(Lk.
15:11-32) Invite all to read and to meditate upon the Parable of the Prodigal
Son before approaching the Sacrament of God’s mercy as well as to read and
meditate upon this spiritual masterpiece after the Confession. You might even
focus upon the wonderful gifts that the Father generously bestows upon the
repentant son and their symbolic meaning. What are these gifts and the
KISS—God’s love for us never changes
even when we make mistakes and even big mistakes!
HUG—God is a loving Father always
willing and ready to forgive us as soon as we can say from the depths of our
hearts: God I am sorry; forgive me!
RING—God wants to establish once
again a covenant of love with you, but also challenges you to be faithful to
Him in the future and reject the temptations to sin.
NEW CLOAK—Nakedness symbolizes sin
and the loss of grace. The Cloak is symbolic of the clothing and cloaking of
one’s souls with the royal garment of sanctifying grace, God’s deep and lasting
SANDALS—given so that we can walk the
walk and talk the talk of truly following in the footsteps of Jesus who is the
WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE.
PARTY—after a profound confession,
now we can return with joy to the Banquet of the Lord’s Sacrament, the Eucharist,
in the context of Holy Mass.
FATTED CALF—Now in Mass, having gone
to Confession and returning to grace we can nourish our souls on the Lamb of
God who takes away the sins of the world.
MUSIC AND DANCE! A good confession is always a reason to
rejoice immensely. Experiencing God’s loving forgiveness, the soothing balm of
a pure conscience, the invitation to start a new life, and the keen awareness
of God’s all-abiding Fatherly presence—all of these are infinite reservoirs to
exult with joy!
EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE. To facilitate the preparation for the
Sacrament of Confession, acquire a good examination of Conscience that explains
clearly and to the point the Ten Commandments and give this to this wandering
and confused soul. Invite him to read it thoroughly, examine his conscience and
even write down the sins that he is aware of. If they are mortal sins, remember
to write down the number of times. The
Catechism specifies that mortal sins have to be mentioned in both species and
number. This is required for an integral
and complete Confession!
WHERE? WHEN? HOW? Somebody who has been away from the Church
for many years and has not confessed for as many, may not even remember the
basics on how to go to Confession. This could paralyze him. Just go through the basics with him. Tell him where the Church is that has
Confessions. Remind him of the schedule posted by the priests in that Parish.
Then remind him on how to enter the confessional, make the sign of the cross,
and tell the priest how long it has been since his last Confession and then
tell his sins to the priest who represents Jesus Christ, the Divine
Physician. In the Diary of Saint
Faustina three important conditions are emphasized to make a good confession:
1) Sincerity, which means transparency in telling one’s sins; 2) Humility—not
glossing over the sins, point the blame at others or trying to justify or rationalize
one’s sins; 3) Finally, obedience. When the priest, who represents Jesus, also
as Teacher and Guide, gives advice as well as the penance, then we should
humbly submit to and accept these words as coming from Jesus Himself.
Saint James encourages us with these powerful words on the
importance of bringing a wandering soul back to the Lord:
“My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone
bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner form the error
of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)
These most encouraging words can apply to our efforts and attempt to
bring a wandering soul and sinner back to the loving embrace of the Father of
the Prodigal Son by returning to the Sacrament of God’s mercy which is the
Sacrament of Penance. May Our Lady, who is invoked under the title “Refuge of
sinners” as well as “Mother of mercy” spur us on to bring the wayward sinners
back to the loving and merciful Heart of the Lord Jesus!