Sunday, April 21, 2013

"... and go to confession." - Rose Castorini

Scene from Moonstruck - Rose and Loretta Castorini after Confession.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

I loved that line in "Moonstruck".  Rose tells her husband ' and go to confession' - if memory serves me, she told Loretta that too.  Then there was the scene of both of them in the church for confession. 

Fr. Z often recommends confession too - as a way to be ready for death in these uncertain times.  Think Boston, Sandy Hook, storms and earthquakes and meteors falling unexpectedly.  We not only need to be in the state of grace, we want to be in the state of grace. So go to confession is good advice.

No mortal sin - that you are aware of?  You have to be aware of it right.  Full knowledge, grave matter, deliberate choice - criteria like that, right?  Right.  You go to confession because you need to and because you want to be clean - restored to grace.  Venial sins can be confessed - but you know you don't really need to go to confession for those.  Technically...  I wouldn't dance around rationalizing too much.  When in doubt - just go to Confession.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

It seems to me it's a good idea to confess venial sins as well - frequent use of the Sacrament of Penance is a source of spiritual growth and conversion.  What do we get out of it?  Isn't that enough?  We're already clean by an act of contrition, even through the reception of Holy Communion - venial sins are remitted.
The Holy Eucharist remits venial sins by disposing us to perform acts of love and contrition. It preserves us from mortal sin by exciting us to greater fervor and strengthening us against temptation. - Source

So why go to Confession?  What if we go to Communion and come home and blog and call people we never met and don't know subhuman?  Bad Catholics?  Losers?  Idiots? Assholes?  Do we ever consider we may be lacking something when we do that stuff?  I think it just may indicate a lack of charity - call me a liberal, loser, idiot, or an asshole - but that's the impression I get.  I  eventually know when I lack charity - when I'm unkind, impatient, jealous, self-righteous, angry, offended... and I begin to experience rancor in my heart. 

The Sacrament of Penance restores grace to the soul, restores charity to the soul when we repent and confess mortal sin.  Likewise, it increases charity in the soul even though we may not be in the state of mortal sin.  I'm only aware of my sins - not yours - so I'm not judging any other souls here - just commenting on what appears to be a lack of charity in the blogosphere - my own blog included.  Confession can help with that. 

What we write and how we say things creates an impression on one another.  Do you know some people even stay away from Sunday Mass because they are disillusioned by Catholics behaving badly online?  If they stay away from Mass, surely they stay away from Confession.  This demonstrates to me at least, how much we need the Sacrament of Penance - just to be faithful to the ordinary duties of our state in life. 

"Love never fails."

To be sure, the Eucharist restores and increases charity to souls who devoutly communicate... That is, if  we communicate, and if  we are so disposed.  However, if we have something against our brother, maybe we should leave our gift at the altar and go to Confession first - then go to Communion.   Maybe don't just go to confession so we can feel squeaky clean and all self-righteous again - go to be restored, to be healed; for an increase of charity, for pardon and peace in our soul.  Pardon and peace begets pardon and peace.

Go to confession to grow in holiness.


By the very fact that it imparts or increases grace, the sacrament of Penance offers the gift of peace.


In the sacrament of Penance the faithful legitimately seek to begin that interior process which the progressive conformity of their own psychological state with that higher peace which consists in compliance with God's will.


One of the effects of the sacrament of Penance that the faithful can rightly expect and desire is to mitigate the impulses of passion, to correct intellectual or emotional defects..., to refine all our free action, as a result of restored and growing supernatural charity.  - Bl. John Paul II



  1. Here’s a photo related to confession that you may find of interest, taken today at Milan Exhibition Centre...

    “A Church that does not go out of itself, sooner or later, sickens from the stale air of closed rooms,” said Pope Francis recently.

  2. Interesting to read at Father Z's last week the definition of an unprovided death, especially since one of the promises attributed to Our Lady to those who faithfully recite her Rosary is that they will not die by one. An unprovided death means one by which a person dies without benefit of confession and last rites.

    I force myself to go to confession frequently. It's available to me nearly every day of the week so I have no excuse not to go. I do my best not to worry about whether I know/like the priest hearing confessions though I will not go to a priest who does not say the words of absolution as prescribed by the Church. In other words, if Father practices Improv in the Confessional, I'd rather wait and go to someone else. But that's really the only limitation I place. Occasionally I'll be some place where a priest is offering confession with few to no takers. Even if I have just gone a few days before I'll go again because when I examine my conscience as I truly should, I'll see it's impossible for me to go an hour most days without committing some kind of sin, if not in deed or word most certainly in thought. When a priest makes himself available to hear confessions, there is no excuse from most of us to have him sit ignored in the box.

    Today someone distracted me as I returned to my pew from Holy Communion and with the Lord Jesus still on my person, I mentally called the offending chatter a derogatory name. I don't think that's what Jesus had in mind when He came to me in the Eucharist and of course I had to apologize profusely. I wanted to say to the person: While you noticed this Mass is in Latin, did you notice anything else, namely, that NO ONE except YOU is talking?

    Why do I get so angry about this when even in the dead of silence, I STILL have trouble keeping my heart and mind where they should be? Why should I get so angry at others for disrupting my prayer time when I myself constantly interrupt it with distractions?

    Shucks, I could have written a blog post on this topic.
    Oh, well. Blessed Sunday.

  3. Usually those spontaneous reactions are just like bad thoughts, they come and go without consent. They can be trigger responses, nothing sinful.

    Don't you think that after such a bad week it is only natural to look forward to and expect a little peace and silence at Mass? Our emotions get pretty raw these days, consciously or unconsciously we are on edge - so I don't think you were so bad expecting people to be quiet at Mass.

    Mary might have been annoyed with Martha when she broke the silence and complained to Jesus about her. He 'gets' us. ;)

  4. He not only 'get us', He puts up with us, too. Better than we put up with one another I might add!
    Thanks Terry :)

  5. I am really fortunate in that I work a block away from a Catholic Church that offers confession three times a day. I have gotten into the habit of going once a week, following the lead of Pope Benedict XVI. It's amazing how much more aware of my sins I have become. I actually don't feel holier, but more sinful.

    I tend not to agree with advice that says you don't have to confess venial sins. I know that is technically correct, but venial sins that are not addressed can blacken our souls and separate us from God almost as much as mortal sins.


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