Monday, May 03, 2010

More thoughts on Confession


"As Pope John Paul II lamented, we have lost the sense that we all sin daily." Edward Vacek, S.J.
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"To counteract our well-developed ability at self-deception, we “good people” need confession. Indeed, we should want to confess because, in effect, through the sacrament, God says: “You name it; I’ll forgive it.” With this offer in mind, it is to our advantage to face up to our sinfulness. While self-deception keeps us crippled, honesty heals. Just as a desire not to think of ourselves as sinners fosters the skill of self-deception, so too a desire to know ourselves as forgivable sinners leads to self-discovery and then to liberation. We feel safe enough to bring our sins out into the open because we trust that God wants to heal, not humiliate us.
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Jesus condemns the Pharisee who trusts in his own sinlessness (Lk. 18:9-14). The Pharisee honestly names the sins he does not commit. And he truthfully recounts the good things he does. He even gives thanks to God for what a good person he is. In contrast, the tax collector bemoans his sinfulness. Yet it is the guilty tax collector who goes away justified.
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Most of us “good people” are more like the Pharisee than the tax collector, since we ordinarily think of ourselves as basically generous and honest people who thank God for our successes. We need confession so that we can be more like the tax collector who lamented his sinfulness...and who thus was right with God. Armed with the knowledge that we are good at pharisaical self-deception, we need confession as an opportunity for a “search and be rescued” mission." - Edward Vacek, S.J.
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"It would be an illusion to seek after holiness, according to the vocation one has received from God, without partaking frequently of this sacrament of conversion and reconciliation. Those who go to Confession frequently, and do so with the desire to make progress, will notice the strides that they make in their spiritual lives." - John Paul II

4 comments:

  1. michael r.6:41 AM

    Is that a painting or a photograph?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous9:11 AM

    I always have trouble with frequent confession because I have the feeling that the priest thinks my confessions are often trivial. Not to put myself on a pedestal, because I have plently of bigger sins to confess at times, too! I wish confessing venial sins was easier for me, I suppose I really do not know how.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Michael - it is a photo.

    Anonymous - I wonder if looking at the root cause of the venial sin would help? Let the symptoms lead you to the underlying malady?

    ReplyDelete


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