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Merciful Guide – Weekly Message for September 1, 2015
Dear Friends in Christ,
Progress in the spiritual life requires some key ingredients. Prayer is one. Regular Mass attendance is another. Works of charity have their role too, as do practices such as Bible reading and the Rosary.
Still other ingredients can give more in-depth help, such as retreats and spiritual direction.
Experience shows that there is one other ingredient that helps enormously: frequent use of the sacrament of confession. There is nothing like the power of a one-on-one encounter with Our Lord’s mercy and grace which the sacrament affords.
A confession well done will push us to look deep to see where we have offended Our Lord and where we need to change in order to pursue (or get back on) the path to holiness.
Striving for holiness, after all, is really what life is about. God gives us only so much time in this world to grow as close as possible to him as we can. That is how we give glory to him and work toward our own salvation with his grace. Everything else in life is a distant second, really.
As summer draws to a close in the Northern Hemisphere and the pace of life picks up, this might be as good a time as ever to resolve to make frequent confession part of your schedule.
To help readers in this area, RC Spirituality is now offering From Sorrow to Joy: A Retreat Guide on the Sacrament of Confession.
Whether or not you are a frequent penitent, this online resource can help you prepare for, and appreciate more deeply, the riches of the sacrament of the confession.
Think of the Retreat Guide as a way to prepare for the Year of Mercy that Pope Francis will officially open on December 8th. And encourage a friend or two to make the retreat — it could be the best gift you give this year.
Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor