Tuesday, December 18, 2012

End of the World Advice

Not that I believe the world ends Friday, but... why not go to confession just in case?  Best case scenario, it's a wonderful outpouring of God's mercy and love that will fill you with life.  Worst case, the world ends Friday and you're in a state of grace.  Oh, and that wonderful outpouring part also goes for the worst case.  It's a no brainer.

Seriously, without regard to the end of the world, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is God's gift to you!  Why would you stay away?

You're nervous?  Big deal.  I usually am when I go to confession.  You know why?  Because sin is real.  It is really something wrong with you, and you don't want to have to admit it.  Take heart:  nervous people do extraordinary things all the time.

You can't handle telling your sins to another person?  I'm not impressed.  Go behind a screen to a priest you don't know.  I've heard hundreds of completely anonymous confessions, and I truly have no idea who was on the other side of the screen.  It works.

You don't believe that you need to?  You can confess directly to God?  Yeah, that's rich.  I guess all those times that Jesus said to the apostles "whose sins you forgive are forgive" and "whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" were just suggestions.  And of course, we don't have to pay attention to the Letter of St James:  "Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed."

Wake up!  He intended us to actually take advantage this gift.  He doesn't want us to keep our faith locked up in our mind!  We're human beings, with bodies, with mouths and ears.  Confessing our sins requires us to make use of our entire person, body and soul, and to encounter Jesus himself with our senses, as the priest acts in his very person.  If you only "confess your sins directly to God," you will never hear those words you so desperately need to hear:  "God the Father of mercies through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.  Through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace.  And I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

I don't care if the world ends tomorrow or Friday or after I'm dead and gone.  But I do care deeply for all of you out there who deny yourselves the grace of Reconciliation.  No priest is withholding it from you.  You are choking yourselves on fear and pride.  You're doing it wrong.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Get the ball rolling again.

After nearly a year hiatus and with a newfound urge to blog, I just realized there is a Blogger app in the App Store. I know I'm WAY behind in that discovery, but ooh, just wait. Time to catch up on some blogging.

Wake Up!

Just so we're clear, the Catholic Church does not and never has (for thousands of years, an order of magnitude longer than the age of the United States of America) limited its ministry to serving only Catholics. From the earliest days, Christians sought out anyone who was marginalized in society (for instance unwanted infants that non-Christian parents left exposed), regardless of the beliefs of those they served. That's what you call LOVE. It's unconditioned, even (or especially) by a person's religious or moral beliefs.

The Catholic Church has been serving the world for millennia. You can focus on the ugly imperfections of the Church all you want, but terrible as they are, they do not cancel the remarkable amount of good that Christians have done and want to continue to do for anyone and everyone in need.

Why does the American government, which has only been in the social program business since the 1930s (greenhorns), feel the need to come in and push us around? We don't take issue with the idea of providing health insurance to our employees! We weren't part of the problem you were (purportedly) trying to solve. But you've decided to stir up trouble for no reason, compelling us to choose between some pretty untenable alternatives. Would you really so severely penalize us because we want to serve others beyond our own?