Greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ – Our purses, totes and backpacks require frequent, all-the-way-to-the-bottom cleaning. We each have a method and timetable. Sometimes we get to the task later than planned and suffer consequences. The goal is the same: making our load lighter, re-organizing to find things more readily, and did someone suggest cleanliness is next to godliness?
As Catholics, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, we have consistent reminders regarding the need for our interior cleansing. We share the entry point of our Christian lives through the purifying waters of Baptism. So too we share the invitation to walk more readily in its promises through the gift of the sacramental life brimming with a waterfall of graces. Frequent and good confessions make the way for frequent and good Communions. Examination of conscience, Sacred Scripture, the rhythm of holy Mass, compelling homilies, and that splendid gift of the liturgical seasons also serve to call us into accepting more graces and mercy to strengthen our resolve to live holy lives.
Liturgically speaking, November always holds both the last and the first. This year the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, is November 20th. Here we recognize the Messianic Kingship and the eternal Priesthood of Our Lord. For this reason, the Solemnity has special significance to the Apostolate, as all the men we pray for partake in this one priesthood of Jesus Christ. Imagine the extra graces awaiting our priests and bishops this month as they move toward and enter the celebration of this Solemnity! Let us ask for graces in abundance! The following Sunday, the 27th, marks the first Sunday of Advent, launching the new liturgical year afresh and anew. More bountiful graces!
While our task as Seven Sisters is to pray for the other, it behooves us to likewise beseech and partake in the special graces of November. The last Sunday of the liturgical year is an opportunity to rejoice in Christ as King and eternal High Priest, and also consider, in both gratitude and reflection, the previous year regarding our own lives. Sometimes, like our heavy-laden purses, a spirited clean-up helps us to see more clearly and hear more closely what was then, what is now and what may lay ahead. We cleanse ourselves through repentance and cooperation with God’s Will and Way. By humility and love we summon His graces and mercy to purify our minds and hearts.
Consider ending the liturgical year in making a good Confession. Following are seven points of guidance from the wisdom of the Canon Regulars of St John Cantius (Chicago). They offer this quote: “Sin is the shipwreck of the soul. If the sin is serious, it is a fatal shipwreck. Confession is the only plank to which we can safely cling, if we want to be brought back to the harbor of God’s grace.”
First, have a clear awareness of what constitutes a mortal sin and a venial sin. A mortal sin is gravely and objectively evil, committed with full knowledge that it is evil, and given full consent to it with the will. Venial sin is a deviation but not a total turning away from God. They “bruise” our state of grace with God, but do not break it like mortal sins.
Second, awareness of a mortal sin demands Confession as soon as possible. It is necessary to do so before receiving Communion.
Third, it is not necessary to go to Confession on the very day of, say, First Friday, First Saturday, Divine Mercy, etc., which have indulgences associated with them. The Church says it is sufficient to go to confession within 20 days and that you have not committed any mortal sin since then.
Fourth, some people have a habit of re-confessing past sins—sometimes repeatedly. Confess those sins committed since your last confession (which, by the way, may be the same as past sins since we sometimes have areas of repeated weakness). An exception to this guideline is if you remember a mortal sin from the past which you have not confessed; then do confess this sin right away.
Fifth, the Sacrament of Confession is for the confession and the absolution of your sins. Although the priest may give some advice, it is not the time or place for in-depth spiritual direction. Unduly extending your confession by asking questions or by discussing your spiritual life tends to demonstrate a lack of charity for those behind you who are now unnecessarily waiting longer to confess their sins.
Sixth, confession of your sins should be fairly concise, specific, to the point, and well-prepared. Lengthy, detailed explanations of what you did and how you came about doing it are not necessary. It also may even be a subtle way of justifying or even reliving your sin. So, confess your sins concisely, and if the priest needs more information, he will ask you. On the other hand, the sins you confess should be reasonably specific rather than general observations. For example, confessing “I have not followed God’s commandments” is not specific enough. Rather, please specify the ways in which you have not followed God’s commandments.
Seventh, sometimes the priest may tell you something in confession that you may not want to hear. Please consider that the Holy Spirit sometimes works in ways that seem blunt in order to help uproot sin. Try not to feel disheartened, but instead, consider that perhaps the Holy Spirit inspired the priest to tell you something plainly because you may need it.
Our doings outside of God’s Will can clutter our interiors and hinder the free flow of graces in our lives. Our prayer lives are affected. What ample room we afford our Lord to fill us to overflowing with His life, when we regularly yield to the sacrament of Confession. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work (2 Timothy 2:21). What a double blessing for Seven Sisters who pray for both our own good confessions and good confessions for our Confessors. Christ is King, full of merciful love, for all!
United in prayer and mission…that our prayers may find the heart of every bishop and priest…… eternal gratitude continues as you each remember to offer a wee Hail Mary for me every day…. “One Ave Maria makes hell tremble” (St John Vianney). Pray that I will not ‘spoil the beautiful work that God has entrusted…’ (St Teresa of Calcutta) … your kind emails and notes and phone calls and generous support always arrive to my heart door at the right moment! Your financial sacrifices are for 100% furtherance of Apostolate. THANK YOU! The letters of testimony are so beautiful and edifying! What glory is given to God through your writing! Eternal gratitude is mine for YOU! Be assured of my continued daily prayers for you at the altar.
Janette (Howe) +JMJ+
…in quietness and trust is your strength. – Isaiah 30:15
Madonna of the Grapes, pray for us!
St John Vianney, pray for us!
St Margaret Clitherow, pray for us!