Welcome to our very first Show Notes post! You didn’t think we were really going to post them, did you?
Yesterday on A Good Habit we talked about the sacrament of reconciliation, prompted by Pope Francis’ call to make confession available for everyone during a day he called “24 Hours for the Lord.” You can read more about that, and read his prepared remarks, here.
The novena we have been praying can be found below, along with information on the priest who started it, Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo. Just looking around the internet for more information about him, we discovered a couple of books he wrote: Come, Holy Spirit and A Month With Mary. Some of his writings and meditations can be found here.
This account from a biography about him reminds us very much of our own Rev. Mother Angelica: Continue reading →
Last week Pope Francis asked the universal Church to join him in “24 Hours for the Lord”, a time when each diocese should throw the confessional doors wide open and encourage the faithful, and the not-so-faithful, to take full advantage of the loving mercy of God by going to confession. Our archbishop responded by opening St. Francis of Paola Church for 24 hours of confessions, beginning yesterday evening and ending today at 6:30pm. (There’s still time to go if you haven’t been to confession lately.)
Confession heals our blindness, it helps us to “see” God rightly: merciful, loving, eager to forgive. Yet, just as I can’t accept an apology from someone if I don’t first admit they’ve hurt me, so too, God can’t forgive us until we acknowledge our sinfulness. Like the man born blind in today’s Gospel, we need healing of our sight – or rather our insight – to see our sins with clarity. Regular confession helps us grow in self-knowledge, so that we can move beyond just confessing our sins, but uncovering their roots. Many of us know the oppressive weight of carrying unconfessed sins on our soul. Thanks be to God, it doesn’t just end there – we can also know the freedom and hope that accompanies absolution.
It’s easy to feel warm and fuzzy about God when we’re flying high and filled with gratitude for His mercy, but the truth is He loves us no less when we have thrown that loving mercy back in His Sacred Face by our sins. The remembrance of His enduring love can give us the courage to return to confession, to make reparation for our sins, and most importantly, to receive His forgiveness. And once we have been forgiven ourselves, we are called to become, to paraphrase the Holy Father, ambassadors of mercy to others. God is not a hoarder; His generosity knows no bounds, and He wants us to be intimately involved in spreading His generous mercy to others.
Click here to read his homily from the penance service at St. Peter’s.
“I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy.” (Diary, 299) “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy…It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter.” (Diary, 699)
“…Whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment.” (Diary 300) “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet…Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.” (Diary, 699)
“When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy.” (Diary, 1602) “The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyze what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you wold to Me, and I will fill it with My light.” (Diary, 1725) [Confession within 20 days of that Sunday, but one must be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion.]
Today God has opened the floodgates of Mercy for the whole world! Take advantage of this great grace not just by receiving it for yourself, but by showing mercy to others and sharing the message of mercy.
As, when upon His drooping head
His Father’s light was pour’d from heaven,
What time, unsheltered and unfed,
Far in the wild His steps were driven,
High thoughts were with Him in that hour
Untold, unspeakable on earth.
When William Dyce’s painting, TheMan of Sorrows, was exhibited in 1860, those words were inscribed around the frame, taken from the poem Ash Wednesday written by his friend John Keble.
Another excerpt from the poem reads:
Thus oft the mourner’s wayward heart
Tempts him to hide his grief and die,
Too feeble for Confession’s smart,
Too proud to bear a pitying eye;
How sweet, in that dark hour, to fall
On bosoms waiting to receive
Our sighs, and gently whisper all!
They love us–will not God forgive?
The greatest way to begin our Lenten journey is to make ourselves vulnerable before God, not hiding our sins or our failings (He already knows what they are anyway) but bringing them to Him in confession. Then we can feel that sweetness of which the poet speaks. When we pour out our broken hearts before God, He, in return, pours into them the healing balm of forgiveness, mercy and grace.