My Novice Mistress, a few months into my postulancy, said this regarding the sacrament of penance: “be brief, be brutal, be gone.” It took me the longest time to understand this saying. At first it made me cringe simply because I did not see its true meaning, or value, in God’s light. Not too long ago, I had the most uncomfortable experience with another fellow Catholic, who’s words were nothing short of accurate. However, this soul’s approach was a complete turn off; instead of “converting” me to the real understanding of the confessional, the complete opposite happened. Her attitude reminded me of the Pharisees; sure, they knew the Laws of Moses, but they had not true charity in their hearts, which of course, almost always led them to rebuke Our Lord for healing on the sabbath. Why? Because they knew not kindess nor compassion. When I questioned her manner of approach and cruel tone (literally shouting at me), she replied and said I was a “modern day Catholic and might as well be Protestant”. I was never more insulted, baffled or taken aback. What about the New Law Our Lord instilled?
A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34)
The teaching of charity is not only Catholic, but the very “11th commandment”, if you will, Christ enforced before His death on the cross. And as Saint Paul said, “If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (Corinthians 13- which goes on to speak of charity in several more paragraphs). If the Pharisees knew this commandment, they would see that it was in fact, “lawful” to heal on the sabbbath. It took a good eight months for me to fully understand and appreciate her words, once the “dust settled” and my heart was softened. Finally, I was able to forgive this soul for being so cruel in her bahavior and see Our Lady’s hand in it, when I was ready. She was one hundred percent correct in her knowledge of Church Law, so confident in fact, that I was intimidated. Her way of introducing this Law was the complete wrong approach, but it was through her that I learned the extremely valuable lesson of Saint Paul. This new “11th commandment” (charity) when united to any of the other Church’s teaching, in a way, give them new life.
We can only speak like the angels and give fruit to our work when we speak with patient, elegant charity for Jesus and Mary. This is not protestant, this is Christ’s command. I was indeed humbled because even though I may possess charity, I found myself truly ignorant of the Catholic Dogmas and the Catechism; I am a Catholic from the cradle and have confessed hundreds of times, but through that agonizing encounter, it dawned on me that I actually never knew how to properly confess my sins before the priest. Ironically enough, I only learned how to confess and be “brief, brutal and gone”, through some “soul wrenching” experiences with indifferent priests, and a little list produced by the Fatima Center on how to correctly examine one’s conscience in the confessional. According to the Saint Joseph’s Baltimore Catechism, only five things are required in the sacrament of reconciliation:
1.) “Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it’s been ex and ex amount of time since my last confession“.
2.) Confess sins .
3.) Priest gives penance.
4.) Recite your act of contrition.
5.) Priest gives absolution.
You can count six requirements, with the saying of your penance, but technically this does not take place in the confessional. I cannot tell you how many times I entered the confession box and treated it like my own personal therapy session, taking up far too much time when there was a line of people (or sisters) behind me, failing to confess my sins and only expressing my sorrow. I think I lost count with how many times I have heard a priest say, “yes, but what are your sins?” It was not that I was spotless and had no sins to confess, quite the contrary, but I was treating the sacrament as my own personal counseling session and found myself insulted when they offered no direction. I just assumed, for the longest time, that confession and spiritual direction were one and the same.
In my own defense, I only looked at it this way because of Saint Faustina’s diary. Oftentimes I only applied her own take on this sacrament, the words of Our Lord to her and how her confessions were relatively long, rather than “brief”, to what I thought I needed to do as well in the confessional. Do not get me wrong, priests are not at all required to give feedback in the confessional, just the penance and absolution, but how many of us really complain when God’s representatives take it one step further, by hearing an inspiration from Our Lord in choosing to give even a small sentence of feedback- we are grateful, right? We never say, “excuse me Father, but you are not required to say anything extra! Haven’t you read the Catechism?” Our Lord told Faustina on so many occasions “it is I Myself waiting for you in the confessional” or “I am borrowing his lips”.
I simply think there needs to be a balance. If anything, Faustina taught me to look on this great sacrament with love and charity; a true gift from the Sacred Heart, and if I get feedback from the priest- great! I see it as a little bonus. But if I only get absolution- that is great as well, since that is all that is required. The key is to be satisfied knowing that we are leaving with a clean mind, heart and soul and we did in fact, receive great graces, even if we never received any helpful advice on how to lead a more perfect life. Regardless of our own opinion, “well I dislike this priest” etc. Believe me, I have had my own fair share of priests that have been anything but approachable; there were times I have been tempted to not return to the sacrament simply because of my own dislike of the one who would be hearing my confession. NEVER let the human man himself, cloud your vision of Christ, Who is the real One waiting for you there. A fellow Carmelite recently told me that when we have a bad experience, even with something holy, we develop an aversion for it. I have felt this way about a few holy things, from fear of lent or the cross; even unpleasant experiences with a priest in the confession box.
Our Lord in his mysterious plan of Divine Providence chose to make Himself obedient to Mary and Saint Joseph (which I am sure was the easiest because they were so supremely loveable), obedient to the customs of Jewish Law, obedient to death on a cross and now He is obedient to His representatives on earth: the Catholic priests. Our Lord is more powerful than them, He does not need them, but He willed Himself to work through imperfect men, in an Apostolic Church, which is indeed flawless and Divine. Our Lord is truly meek in the sense that He has power to act by Himself, but willingly manifests it through His priests. Never forget that; we have an institution created by Christ that IS perfect, but it is run by the imperfect.
This power was first handed down to the newly ordained priests, His Apostles. When the sexual abuse scandals occurred in the Church, members of the flock chose to flee specifically because of the great sins committed by the shepherds. In doing this, they forgot that the Church is perfect, and the men are not. This does not excuse the disgusting actions of these members of the clergy; the main issue is these scandals were not only happening in the Church, but among Protestants and Fathers of large families. But as Satan hates the one true Church of Jesus and Mary, he centers the spotlight on the Church founded on Saint Peter. If we are tempted to abandon the Catholic Church because of the evils found within, created by displeasing representatives of Our Lord, remember these words of Blessed James Ducket:
It is impossible to saved outside the Catholic Church as it was for anyone to avoid the deluge who was outsides Noah’s ark.
Ducket was killed during the Protestant reformation, for selling Catholic books, that quote was said as he was dying; he was hanged. At Fatima, Our Lady said, “in Portugal the Dogmas of the faith will always be preserved etc.” The obvious conclusion is that outside of Portugal, the Dogmas will not be kept. If we wish to be Catholics in good standing, what makes us truly faithful in the one true Church of Christ, is when something is made a Dogma, we accept it totally, utterly and completely, knowing it to have been inspired by the Divine to be made Law. One of these Dogmas is believing there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church; this is often referred to as “the forgotten Dogma”. Men within the Church, even priests, can say they do not believe this infallible teaching, but their own opinion does not change the fact that it is still a Dogma- Church Law. Laws are meant to keep a generation from falling into sin; before Moses brought down the Ten Commandments from the Mount, the people gave way to sins of the flesh, vanity and idolatry.
When one tries to change a Law written or inspired by God, it is a great sign that we are living in very evil times. An era of greed when man is tempted to believe they know better than God; they want to be God. We are not only seeing this with the Dogmas and Canon Law, but with the United States Constitution; our Bill of Rights. Meditate on that. Laws for mankind are always a direct gift from God the Father, as they are not merely meant to make His children dread a life of strict rules, but to share in the Father’s glory by being perfect. THIS is true freedom. Oftentimes Satan uses these Laws to make us believe we are in chains, that Our Lord is the “Great Deceiver”, that somehow God’s transparency and simplicity is a trick, too good to be true and will lead to our doom. In the process, it is really Satan who wins a new slave when he convinces a soul of this lie.
Catholic Dogma: is a truth that has been infallibly defined by the Church’s Magisterium to be Divinely revealed.
This list I will be sharing below, produced by the Fatima Center, profoundly changed my entire understanding of the sacrament of penance and taught me how to properly confess. This change took place around the same time I had that uncomfortable conversation with that Catholic, I began this post with. I have been forced to go to the same priest for weekly confession, because the small town I am currently residing in, only has one shepherd in the area, who only ever says: “alright for your penance, say three Our Fathers and three Hail Mary’s for the poor souls”. I still always chuckle when I remember asking once, “the poor souls in Purgatory?” …. “Yes, the Poor Souls in Purgatory” he said in his indifferent tone of voice. This priest has the same tone of voice and manner of speaking for everything. Example: “I had eggs and bacon for breakfast this morning” sounds just the same as if he were to say “I just wrestled a Dinosaur in my backyard”- essentially everything is said in monotone, if you understand my drift. But at least this priest cares about the suffering souls in Purgatory (as there are modern day priests who do not even believe in this place of purification) and I have done my absolutue best to not to see the worst in this shepherd of Christ, but the best in him.
Nevertheless, I had to be used to the fact that I would never hear any sort of feedback from this priest; we disagree on a great number of Church teachings and the beauty of The Latin Mass etc. We had plently of our own personal disagreements and fair share of debates, which often left me saddened simply because I wanted to say “we are on the same side, Father!” My respect for priests and their power of authority are so great, so even in disagreements, I may not have agreed with this priest 99% of the time, but what I said was always relayed with the utmost reverence toward him. There is a difference; one can still have contrasting views without being disagreeable about it. Because of the – stricter than normal- shutdowns in California, I was always forced to make appointments, for this sacrament of penance, and meet Father in his office.
The routine method of going in and out of the confessional was replaced with seeing him face to face ( I still nelt down and kept my eyes cast down, at least pretending there was a screen- I still laugh when I think about the time his foot hit the air vent in the middle of my act of contrition and I stopped and playfully said, “did you do that on purpose?) in his office, and having to resort to “small talk” after absolution, when I really just wanted to bolt out of there. I always joked and said the worst part of my week was walking into his office, and the best part was leaving it. It got the point where I dreaded seeing this priest every week, was tempted to quit going all together, but what stopped me was Our Lady, Who gently reminded me that I needed the sacrament.
And somehow through that pain of the weekly misunderstandings, my dislike for the priest and sometimes leaving the confessional in tears, I received a powerful grace to finally “be brief, be brutal, be gone”. The fear – overtime- was replaced by an excitement; I was going for Christ alone: His absolution and graces, no matter how imperfect the representative. The tears were wiped away and replaced by a sort of courageous fortitude, and the dislike turned to gratitude, because it was this very priest that was Our Lord’s chosen instrument, used by that “Queen of Confessors”, to reveal to me my ignorance of this great sacrament. It’s so mysterious how God teaches us His greatest lessons through, what seems like, traumatizing experiences in the spiritual life. And if we cooperate, we receieve graces in the process. From that uncomfortable encounter with that fellow Catholic and even the priest I have had to go to confession with, I have learned a great deal. Through him, I learned how to simply confess, with sincerity and confidence. Through that other soul, I learned the importance of educating myself on the sacrament of penance and the Dogmas of our faith, but to unite this knowledge with charity.
I will not say the ways in which to break the commandments below are not scary or intimidating to read, but they are meant to help us to lead better lives. Only when we stop fearing the “God of rules”, will we see that He is really THE Father of freedom, liberty and justice. I hope this helps you just as much as it has helped me. Our Lord does not invite us to be perfect, He commands it. My new approach, directly following “forgive me Father I have sinned”, is I carry a little notebook with me into the confessional, with a short list of the Ten Commandments and directly confess just how I have broken these commands:
“For the breaking of the First and Fifth Commandment” etc. (give my ways of breaking it) and then I go down that list of God’s Law -as you will see there are multiple ways to break a commandment- and I confess how I have broken them. I came to realize how helpful the Ten Commandments are and developed a great spirit of gratitude toward God the Father, Who wrote them out of love for us. When I first found this pamphlet produced by the Fatima Center, I remember thinking “wow…I am not as perfect or holy as I thought; I have broken a TON of these.” And when I shared them to my Grandmother, she so memorably said “well, I am going to hell.” Of course, I had to laugh a little; we need to have patience with ourselves. Directly reading this packet from the Fatima Center, I brought it with me to the confessional and went down that list for the first time, in the presence of that same priest.
It was THE most beautiful confession I have ever had, as I left feeling cleaner than ever, a true clear conscience, as if I confessed for the first time. Since then, I still read this list each week and go through One through Ten of the Commandments and simply confess how I have not kept them. Then I always end with “and for any sins I have failed or forgotten to confess, extra graces for my state in life and I ask for these great graces through the Immaculate Heart and Christ the King”. You do not have to say that, but I realized, if I have an easy and efficient method, followed by a sincere act of contrition for my sins with childlike simplicity, I leave the confessional knowing I am free and confessed well. The priest who published the list said to “remember also, a confession of venial sins is very helpful for avoiding sin and advancing toward heaven” and if the “just man sins seven times a day” we surely need this sacrament once a week; we are no angels.
Fatima Center “An Examination of Conscience for Adults” Written by Father Paul Khoarai:
Necessary conditions for a sin to be mortal:
1. Serious Matter
2. Sufficient Reflection
3. Full Consent of the Will
1. Have I ever deliberately failed to confess a past serious sin, or have I
willfully disguised or hidden such a sin?
Note: The deliberate concealing of a mortal sin invalidates one´s confession and makes the person guilty of another mortal sin. Remember that the confession is private under the Seal of Confession; it is a mortal sin for the priest to reveal the matter of one´s confession to anyone else.
2. Have I been guilty of irreverence for this sacrament by failing to examine my conscience carefully?
3. Have I failed to do the penance given to me by the priest?
4. Have I any habits of serious sin to confess first (e.g. impurity, drunkenness, etc.)?
I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
(Including sins against Faith, Hope and Charity)
1. Have I neglected the knowledge of my Faith as taught in the catechism, such as the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Seven Sacraments, the Our Father, etc.?
2. Have I deliberately doubted or denied any of the teachings of the Church?
3. Have I taken part in any non-Catholic worship?
4. Am I a member of any non-Catholic religious organization, secret society or anti-Catholic group?
5. Have I knowingly read any heretical, blasphemous or anti-Catholic literature?
6. Have I practiced any superstitions (such as horoscopes, fortune telling, Ouija board, etc.)?
7. Have I omitted religious duties or practices through motives of human respect?
8. Have I recommended myself daily to God?
9. Have I been faithful to my daily prayers?
10. Have I abused the Sacraments in any way? Received them irreverently? Communion in the Hand without obeying the principles and the 7 rules promulgated by Paul VI as binding in this matter.
11. Have I made fun of God, Our Lady, the Saints, the Church, the Sacraments, other holy things?
12. Have I been guilty of great irreverence in church, conversation, behavior, or dress?
13. Have I been indifferent with regard to my Catholic Faith — believing one can be saved in any religion, that all religions are equal?
14. Have I presumed on God´s mercy at any time?
15. Have I despaired of God´s mercy?
16. Have I hated God?
17. Have I given too much importance to any creature, activity, object or opinion?
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
1. Have I sworn by God’s name falsely, rashly or in slight and trivial matters?
2. Have I murmured or complained against God (blasphemy)?
3. Have I cursed myself or others, or any creature?
4. Have I angered others so as to make them swear or blaspheme God?
5. Have I broken a vow made to God?
Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
1. Have I missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of obligation?
2. Have I been late for Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of obligation or left early through my own fault?
3. Have I made others miss Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of obligation, leave early or be late for Mass?
4. Have I been willfully distracted during Mass?
5. Have I done or commanded unnecessary servile work on Sunday or Holy Days of Obligation?
6. Have I bought or sold things not of necessity on Sunday and Holy Days of obligation?
Honor thy father and thy mother.
1. Have I been disobedient or disrespectful to my parents, or have I neglected or refused to aid them in their
wants or to do their last will?
2. Have I shown irreverence to others in positions of authority?
3. Have I maligned or insulted priests or others consecrated to God?
4. Have I failed in due reverence to aged persons?
5. Have I mistreated my spouse or my children?
6. Have I been disobedient or disrespectful to my husband?
7. Regarding my children:
8. Have I neglected their material needs?
9. Have I failed to care for their early baptism?*
10. Have I failed to care for their proper religious education?
11. Have I allowed them to neglect their religious duties?
12. Have I allowed them to date/go steady without the prospect of marriage within the near future? (St. Alphonsus says 1 year maximum)
13. Have I failed to supervise the company they keep?
14. Have I failed to discipline them when they need it?
15. Have I given them a bad example?
16. Have I scandalized them by arguing with my spouse in front of my children?
17. Have I scandalized them by cursing or swearing in front of them?
18. Have I guarded modesty in the home?
19. Have I permitted them to wear immodest clothing (mini skirts; tight pants,
dresses, or sweaters; see-through blouses, short-shorts, revealing swim suits, etc.)
20. Have I denied their freedom to marry or follow a religious vocation?
*Infants should be baptized as soon as possible. Apart from particular diocesan prescriptions, it appears to be the general view … that an infant should be baptized within about a week or ten days after birth. Many Catholics defer Baptism for a fortnight or a little over. The view that Baptism should be administered within three days after birth is considered too strict. St. Alphonsus, following common opinion, thought that a delay, without reason, beyond ten or eleven days would be a grievous sin. In view of modern custom, which is known and not corrected by local Ordinaries, a delay beyond a month without reason would be a serious sin. If there is no probable danger to the child, parents cannot be convicted of serious sin if they defer Baptism a little beyond three weeks at the outside, but the practice of having an infant baptized within about a week or ten days of birth is to be strongly commended, and indeed an earlier date may be rightly recommended.*
Thou shalt not kill.
1. Have I procured, desired, or hastened the death or bodily injury of anyone?
2. Have I borne hatred?
3. Have I oppressed anyone?
4. Have I desired revenge?
5. Have I caused enmity between others?
6. Have I quarreled or fought with anyone?
7. Have I wished evil on anyone?
8. Have I intended or attempted to injure or mistreat others?
9. Is there anyone with whom I refuse to speak, or against whom I bear a grudge?
10. Have I taken pleasure in anyone’s misfortunes?
11. Have I been jealous or envious of anyone?
12. Have I had or attempted to have an abortion or counseled anyone else to do so?
13. Have I mutilated my body unnecessarily in any way?
14. Have I entertained thoughts of suicide, desired to commit suicide or attempted suicide?
15. Have I become drunk, used illicit drugs?
16. Have I overeaten or do I neglect to eat properly, nutritious foods?
17. Have I failed to correct in Charity?
18. Have I harmed anyone’s soul, especially children, by giving scandal through bad example?
19. Have I harmed my own soul by intentionally and without necessity exposing it to temptations (bad TV, bad music, beaches, etc.?)
Sixth and Ninth Commandments:
Thou shalt not commit adultery/ Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor´s wife.
1. Have I denied my spouse his or her marriage rights?
2. Have I practiced birth control (by pills, devices, withdrawal)?
3. Have I abused my marriage rights in any other way?
4. Have I committed adultery or fornication (premarital sex)?
5. Have I committed any unnatural sin against purity (homosexuality or lesbianism, etc.)?
6. Have I touched or embraced another impurely?
7. Have I engaged in prolonged or passionate kissing?
8. Have I engaged in petting?
9. Have I sinned impurely by myself (masturbation)?
10. Have I entertained or taken pleasure in impure thoughts?
11. Have I indulged in lustful desires for anyone, or willfully desired to see or do anything impure?
12. Have I willfully indulged in any sexual pleasure whether complete or incomplete?
13. Have I been an occasion of sin for others by wearing tight or otherwise revealing and immodest clothing?
14. Have I done anything to provoke or occasion impure thoughts or desires in others deliberately or through carelessness?
15. Have I read indecent literature or looked at bad pictures?
16. Have I watched suggestive movies, TV programs, or Internet pornography or permitted my children to do so?
17. Have I used indecent language or told indecent stories?
18. Have I willingly listened to such stories?
19. Have I boasted of my sins or taken delight in past sins?
20. Have I been in lewd company?
21. Have I consented to impure glances?
22. Have I neglected to control my imagination?
23. Have I prayed at once to banish such bad thoughts and temptations?
24. Have I avoided laziness, gluttony, idleness, and the occasions of impurity?
25. Have I attended immodest dances or indecent plays?
26. Have I unnecessarily remained alone in the company of someone of the opposite sex?
Note Well: Do not be afraid to tell the priest any impure sin you may have committed. Do not hide or try to disguise any such sin. The priest is there to help you and forgive you. Nothing you say will shock him, so do not be afraid, no matter how ashamed you might be.
Seventh and Tenth Commandments:
Thou shalt not steal/Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
1. Have I stolen anything? What or how much?
2. Have I damaged anyone’s property?
3. Have I negligently spoiled anyone´s property?
4. Have I been negligent in the stewardship of other people’s money or goods?
5. Have I cheated or defrauded others?
6. Have I gambled excessively?
7. Have I refused or neglected to pay any debts?
8. Have I acquired anything known to be stolen?
9. Have I failed to return things borrowed?
10. Have I cheated my employer of an honest day’s work?
11. Have I cheated my employees of their wages?
12. Have I refused or neglected to help anyone in urgent need?
13. Have I failed to make restitution for my stealing, cheating and frauds?
(Ask the priest how to go about making restitution, that is, returning to the owner what you unjustly took from him/her.)
14. Have I been envious of another because I don´t have what he has?
15. Have I been jealous of what another has?
16. Have I been stingy?
17. Have I been grasping and avaricious, placing too great importance upon material goods and comforts? Is my heart set on earthly possessions or on the true treasures of Heaven?
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
1. Have I lied about anyone (calumny)?
2. Have my lies caused them any material or spiritual harm?
3. Have I rashly judged anyone (i.e. believed firmly, without sufficient evidence, that they are guilty of some moral defect or crime)?
4. Have I injured the good name of another by revealing true but hidden faults (detraction)?
5. Have I disclosed another´s sins?
6. Have I been guilty of talebearing, (i.e. reporting something unfavorable said of someone by another so as to create enmity between them)?
7. Have I lent an ear to or encouraged the spreading of scandal about my neighbor?
8. Have I taken false oaths or signed false documents?
9. Am I, without necessity, critical, negative or ever uncharitable in my talk?
10. Have I flattered others?
The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy
1. To admonish sinners.
2. To instruct the ignorant.
3. To counsel the doubtful.
4. To comfort the sorrowful.
5. To bear wrongs patiently.
6. To forgive all injuries.
7. To pray for the living and the dead.
The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy
1. To feed the hungry.
2. To give drink to the thirsty.
3. To clothe the naked.
4. To visit and ransom the captives.
5. To harbor the harborless.
6. To visit the sick.
7. To bury the dead.
Remember our Holy Catholic Faith teaches us that … as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead. (James 2:26)
The Seven Deadly Sins and the Opposite Virtues:
1. Pride ………………………………………………….Humility
2. Covetousness ……………………………………..Liberality
3. Lust …………………………………………………..Chastity
4. Anger ………………………………………………..Meekness
5. Gluttony …………………………………………….Temperance
6. Envy ………………………………………………….Brotherly love
7. Sloth ………………………………………………….Diligence
The Six Commandments of the Church
1. Have I heard Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation?
2. Have I fasted and abstained on the days appointed and have I kept the
3. Have I confessed at least once a year?
4. Have I received the Holy Eucharist at least once in the year?
5. Have I contributed as far as I must to the support of the Church?
6. Have I observed the laws of the Church concerning Marriage or without a priest present, or marrying a close relative or non- Catholic.
The Five Blasphemies Against the Immaculate Heart of Mary
1. Have I blasphemed against the Immaculate Conception?
2. Have I blasphemed against Our Lady´s Perpetual Virginity?
3. Have I blasphemed against Our Lady´s Divine Maternity? Have I refused
to recognize Our Lady as the Mother of all men?
4. Have I publicly sought to sow in the hearts of children indifference or
scorn, or even hatred, of this Immaculate Mother?
5. Have I outraged Her directly in Her Holy images?
Have I received Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin? (This is a very grave sacrilege.)
St. Anthony Mary Claret´s Examination of Venial Sins
The soul should avoid all venial sins, especially those which pave the way for grave sin. It is not enough, my soul, to have a firm resolve to suffer death rather than consent to any grave sin. It is necessary to have a like resolution to venial sin. He who does not find in himself this will, cannot have security. There is nothing which can give us such a certain security of eternal salvation as an uninterrupted cautiousness to avoid even the lightest venial sin, and a notable, all-extensive earnestness reaching to all practices of the spiritual life — earnestness in prayer, and in dealing with God; earnestness in mortification and self-denial; earnestness in being humble and in accepting contempt; earnestness in obeying and renouncing one’s own self-will; earnest love of God and neighbor. He who wants to gain this earnestness and keep it, must necessarily have the resolve to always avoid especially the following
1. The sin of giving entrance into your heart to any unreasonable suspicion
or unfair judgment against your neighbor.
2. The sin of introducing talk about another’s defects or offending charity in
any other way, even lightly.
3. The sin of omitting out of laziness our spiritual practices or of performing
them with voluntary neglect.
4. The sin of having a disordered affection for somebody.
5. The sin of having a vain esteem for oneself, or of taking vain satisfaction
in things pertaining to us.
6. The sin of receiving the holy Sacraments in a careless way, with
distractions and other irreverences, and without a serious preparation.
7. Impatience, resentment, any failure to accept disappointments as
coming from God’s Hand; for this puts obstacles in the way of the
decrees and dispositions of Divine Providence concerning us.
8. The sin of giving ourselves an occasion that can even remotely blemish a
spotless condition of holy purity.
9. The fault of advertently hiding from those who ought to learn them, one’s bad
inclinations, weaknesses, and mortifications, seeking to pursue the road
of virtue not under the direction of obedience, but under the guidance
of one’s own whims.
Remember to confess your sins with supernatural sorrow as well as a firm resolution not to sin again, and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Ask your confessor to help you with any difficulties you have in making a good confession. Say your penance promptly.
-End of Packet-
We as Catholics are incredibly blessed; in no other religion are men (priests) given the direct power to “bind and loose”. Therefore, it is Catholic priests, and Catholic priests alone, who can liberate a possessed soul; they have been given the supernatural authority. Satan laughs at Protestant ministers because he knows they have no real authority or power over him. I am not sharing this to instill fear or scare you; I believe that many people have a miscontrued or warped understanding, of not only God’s justice, but His mercy as well. Our Lord is not cumbaya, “I love who you are in sin”. Our Lord is so good that He does not expect us to do this alone, we have the whole host of angels- “who will preserve us in all our ways”, our own guardian angel, the saints and above all, Mary. Our Lord’s love means that in order for the Trinity to take rest in our souls, we MUST, at all costs, keep His commandments. He loves you too much to keep you in your state of sin, and that is the very essense of His mercy.