Monday, May 03, 2010

And Now: The Psychological Value of Frequent Confession

Obviously many young Catholics as well as "new" Catholics, and even some "by the book" priests do not understand the practice of frequent confession.  I've printed the following from Fr. Hardon on The Psychological Value of Frequent Confession - something old Jesuits know well since weekly confession was an important feature in their spiritual training.
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"Frequent Confession has not only deep spiritual value as we have just seen. It is also immensely beneficial psychologically. In other words, the frequent reception of the sacrament of Penance contributes to the well-being of our mind. In one declarative sentence, it is a divinely instituted means of giving us peace of soul.
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Remember what happened on Easter Sunday night. As described by St. Luke, “The doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you,’ and showed them His hands and His side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and He said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’ After saying this, He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained’” (Jn 20:19-23).
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As the Catholic Church teaches, by these words of the risen Savior, He instituted the sacrament of Confession. For twenty centuries, it has been called the sacrament of peace.
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The principal source of conflict in the human spirit is the sense of guilt. Psychologists tell us, it is the mysterious feeling of guilt which lies at the root of most people’s disquiet of mind and disturbance of will. On both levels, the sacrament of Confession is the Lord’s great gift to His followers.
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There is some value in explaining what the Catholic Church understands by guilt. Guilt is the loss of God’s grace. The more deeply we have sinned, the more guilt we incur. That is what mortal sin means. It is the supernatural death of the soul by the loss of sanctifying grace.
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But all sin incurs guilt. Every sin we commit deprives us of more or less of the grace of God. The subjective experience that is called guilt is only the tip of an iceberg. Beneath the feeling of guilt is the objective fact that we have been deprived, however minimally, of God’s friendship.
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The more frequently we receive the sacrament of Christ’s mercy, the more grace is restored to our soul. We can experience the effect by growing in that peace of soul for which there is no substitute this side of heaven, realizing and not only knowing that, in spite of our sins, God loves us with that special love He reserves for repentant sinners." - Fr. Hardon
That's all.

4 comments:

  1. Maria6:53 PM

    My man. Clear like crystal...

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  2. And yet so many of today's "emlightened Catholics" tell us that guilt is bad - when actually it acts as a barometer of the amount of grace in our souls. It's equivalent to ignoring the "Oil change" light in our car, because to acknowledge it will admit that something's wrong. After awhile, though, the car will just seize up and die.

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  3. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said that Jewish psychiatrists (and Fr. Benedict Groeschel confirms this) that if Catholics went to confession regularly, they would have a marked loss in clientele.
    Even Carl Jung said that because of the Sacrament of Penance, he had very few Catholic patients.
    The "distortion" or "hermeneutic of DISCONTINUITY", as Pope Benedict has so wisely warned us is making us crazy.
    I hear confessions for free.
    And I am aware that some psychiatrists/psychologists get close $200 bucks for each session...
    I'll hear anybody's confession at any time (well, as long as it's not between 9PM-5AM)...unless you're dying:<)!
    If I could get that kind of money, our community could have our monastery and a refurbishment of our Oratory in no time...but that's not how it works.
    We're living "Saint Joseph spirituality" here...God provides for each thing as it happens...praise Him!

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  4. There's a GREAT book by a German Benedictine, Dom Benedict Baur, called Frequent Confession. It is clear, straightforward, comprehensive, consider the theological aspects and the practical ones, and is in general, well, a truly remarkably useful book :)

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