Religion Magazine

Volume III, No. 1 – January/February 2016

By Stjohnpa @faith_explorer

February's theme for the Year of Mercy is Confession, Sacrament of Mercy. Thank you to Eric Banecker, author of this month's reflection. Eric is a seminarian at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and writes often for Our Sunday Visitor and St. Charles Seminary's blog, Seminarian Casual.

Lent begins on February 10th. on March 8thMonsignor Prior will present a series of lectures beginning with an encore presentation of Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace on February 23rd Have Mercy on Me O Lord will follow on March 1st, Father Forgive Them , and The Triumph of Mercy on March 15th . All talks will take place from 7 to 8 PM in the St. John Paul II Room in the Parish Office Building.

PLUS: This Lent, Dynamic Catholic has a great opportunity for our parish - a free email program called . And guess what? The program is based on Matthew Kelly's new bestseller that's the same book you all received as you left Christmas Mass this past year! Each day you'll get an inspirational email with a short video featuring Matthew Kelly and a member of the Dynamic Catholic Team. Throughout Lent, they will guide you through each of the 40 chapters in Rediscover Jesus and share simple ways to bring Jesus into your everyday life. All you have to do is sign up at DynamicCatholic.com/Lent. Let's do something life-changing this Lent. Let's take a 40-day spiritual journey to encounter Jesus - and ourselves - in a deeply personal way.

And, finally, still on the topic of mercy, In a review of Pope Francis' just published book/interview The Name of God is Mercy, Robert Royal writes in Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, "Between the decline of "sin" and rise of "love," Christians today often feel their churches are not much different from Baby-Boomer Buddhism, or New Age groups offering a comforting cocoon of vague cosmic consciousness." But, when asked about that trend of thought, Pope Francis offers a perhaps surprising condemnation of sin in the name of truth, the welcoming of the sinner who understands what he is, and the offer of mercy.

Lent is a time when we are called into the desert with Jesus and to allow him to liberate us from the sins that bind us. It is an invitation to genuine transformation. Let this Lent during the Jubilee Year of Mercy be a moment when we renew our commitment to the Sacrament of Confession and its healing, liberating power.

Volume III, No. 1 – January/February 2016

"Through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace..." Each time the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance is celebrated, the priest begins the formula of absolution with these words. They express the profound reality that is taking place. First, there is the recognition that the Church mediates God's loving activity of forgiveness of sins. Jesus intentionally created the Church to extend his victory over sin. Second, this Sacrament, like all the others, begins with God's initiative. Long before we recognize our need for God's mercy, he is already calling us to him, extending his offer of grace. That, of course, is what the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance is all about: God's love which overcomes even our sins. There is nothing that we can do in life that will cause God not to love us. As Pope Francis has said so well, it is not God who tires of forgiving us; rather, it is we ourselves who tire of asking for forgiveness! But we never should give up on our desire for holiness. God will forgive us if we approach the Sacrament with sincere contrition. There is no need to be afraid! Quotes from Catholic Tradition:
In this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has called on the Church to throw open the doors of mercy, to show the vultus misericordiae - the face of mercy - to all those who need it. Whether one receives this Sacrament regularly (a commendable practice) or has not been to Confession for many years, let this Year of Mercy be a time in which we take advantage of this generous offer of "pardon and peace."
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"In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick, and unless he takes medicine, he will die. Even so in the spiritual life a man is sick on account of sin. For that reason he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health; and this grace is bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance." ‐ St. Thomas Aquinas
"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." - Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary of St. Faustina 1602
To continue reflecting on this theme, consider one of these resources!

* Recommended Book for the Month: 7 Secrets of Confession, Vinny Flynn
* Lighthouse Catholic Media CD: Confession by Fr. Larry Richards


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