Jul 6, 2012

Psalm Surprises.

We have all experienced reading a biblical verse when, all of a sudden, a different meaning pops out never considered before. Going with this thought a new meditation emerges  and "clicks" in our soul. This happened to me after rereading Psalm 36.

Psalm 36:1, 7-8: "Sin speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; There is no fear of God before his eyes.", and "How precious is your mercy, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings." - "They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights".

I was struck with the thought of how fortunate we are that God gave us the Sacrament of Penance. With Francis as our example  we are aware of our sinful nature and realize how easy it is to fall. Through this Sacrament we are forgiven by His mercy and receive a measure of Sanctifying Grace to strengthen us from falling again into mortal sin. This Grace is also a means to fight off venial sin which left unchecked can lead us to serious mortal sin.

With this thought in my mind I wondered what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says on the subject of Grace we receive from this Sacrament. Looking in the index under Penance and Reconciliation I was overwhelmed with the number of references. I would like to encourage everyone to read the rich resources available.

The most profound information for all of us is found in CCC 1458. It not only goes together with confessing serious sin, but also addresses the help God mercifully provides for us in this culture with it's distractions and temptations. Those influences are often unwanted, but thrust on us without warning and can led to bad habits, new temptations, and serious sin. CCC 1458 says in part: "Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving this sacrament frequently and the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as He is merciful". 

Previous decades of indifference have eroded much of our culture's sensitivity toward sin. It has become so common place that many have come to tolerate things we would never have tolerated before. This often has led us to ignore how venial sins weaken and can led us to serious sin. Much like the Jews in the Book of Judges (paraphrased: They did what was right in their own eyes). The confession of even venial sins is a weapon made for our times. How sad that so many have not taken advantage of this sacrament's power to assist us in our call to holiness. POC. Bob, OFS