Friday, December 14, 2012

*BEST OF DTB #236* The Catholic Defender: Repentance, Forgiveness, Penance

In a day when so many people seem to believe you can pick and choose what they believe, that is how "gray" areas are developed.

For every color, they don't realize their responsible. People treat their faith experience much like a smorgasbord, picking and choosing what they want on their plate.

Does God work that way? Can you just drive down the road to find what ever "fill's" you?

This outlook on faith is very destructive. The conscience will comfort itself towards the least line of resistance so you can handle the challenge to go to teachers that tickle their ears.

Thus, we have lost the meaning of sin. People will justify their sin regarding nothing of what God thinks. Hebrews 13:7-8 states, "Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever".

The word of God is nullified when we choose to water it down especially for convenience sake. It's almost a daily routine talking to people about their faith finding they have not been to Mass for awhile. Does the devil really care why? No, not at all. He knows well that missing Mass due to personal fault is a mortal sin.

It strikes against the first and third commandments specifically and all the commandments in relation to the first three.

The first Commandment is, "I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me".

The third Commandment says, "Remember to keep holy the sabbath day".

Most of the time, I'll hear someone tell me they want to sleep in, they don't like going to Mass away from their home Parish.

Sometimes, they don't go to Mass at all. They have lost the concept of sin. They have surrendered the sovereignty of God for the imposition of authority of man.

They make themselves their own authority and forget their obligation towards God. Many people have lost connection with the Catholic Church and watered themselves down so far as to abandon it for what ever rabbit trail you want to name.

They go to a Methodist church, a Baptist church, a Pentecostal church or you can insert what other name for there are about 33,000 different groups out there competing for the freedom of ideas now.

I have been graced to help many return to the Catholic Faith. I've been graced to help many convert to it, what a blessing this is. This is the great call of Christ to reach out to the lost (Matthew 28:16-20, James 5:19-20).

I have often been challenged by some as to how Catholics can bring Jesus to those who do not know him. That is really a great question. It depends on the background of the person I am addressing.

If they are Catholic, just not practicing their faith, I attempt to strengthen the foundations this person may already have.

If they are Protestant, I will point to the scripture and show the relevance of the Church Christ founded. If they are not Christian at all, then I point to Christ through what ever shadow they are coming from.

Many doors have been opened through being available to anyone questioning their faith, those who are seeking faith, or those who are curious about the Faith.

In preaching repentance, we must have an understanding of what they must repent from. A Catholic who has been divorced, remarried, using artificial birth control is different from a non-Catholic who is in the same situation.

This can get complicated and it isn't easy just telling them they must "repent". For the Catholic, I would tell them the importance of going to Mass, to speak with the Priest, to initiate the annulment process. I want to get them on the right track.

I've worked with people who have been away from the faith 32 years, 26 years 20 years, 15 years, 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, and every other time period in between. Getting them to see the need is important.

For the non-Catholic, I help them understand why the Mass is so important, why the Church is so important.

I have worked with many who want to become Catholic who are willing to submit to the authority of the Church.

That is powerful to me to see people trust in God like that. This humbles me greatly. Helping people get reconciled with God is one of the greatest feelings in this world. Heaven is rejoicing.

To help someone find the Church is equal to that. Forgiveness is the next step for full reconciliation with God through His Church, the Kingdom of God on earth.

For the Catholic, in the state of Grace, a good Confession is all you need.

If someone is working through the process of an annulment, they must wait until this is completed.

If they have really been away along time, they may need RCIA, especially if they have not been Confirmed.

I am finding more and more people who were Baptized Catholic, but that was it. Years later, they want to marry and they run into problems with the Church.

RCIA is the answer to this problem. For Non-Catholics, they enter the RCIA and they participate through the rites and finally, on the Easter Vigil, are fully received into the Church.

I am breaking this down, but each person must speak with the priest or deacon for extended issues.

This is the formality of what needs to be done, but through the entire process (journey) everyone should be asking for God's direction, his presence, forgiveness everyday. To be faithful to the Church and direction given.

I love the prayer our Lady gave to the Children of Fatima, "Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially of those in most need of thy mercy".

Maybe something, like "Lord Jesus, have mercy upon me, a sinner". Or a personal prayer asking for God's forgiveness.

If your Catholic needing to go to Confession, go! If you are a Baptized Protestant, you will go to confession prior to the Easter Vigil. If you were not Baptized, you will be at the Easter Vigil and all your sins will be washed away at that time.

From then on, Confession I recommend to be a regular spiritual bath or exercise. Finally, once you make a good Confession, receive absolution through the Ministry of the Church (2 Corinthians 5:11-21, 6:1-8), then you are called to penance.

Matthew 3:8 says, "Produce good fruits as evidence of your repentance".

We are called to do penance, reform our lives through repentance (Acts 2:38). We are all called to be reconciled with God, this is why Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem, why he was crucified on a cross, so that he would rise again and set the captives free.

Here are deepertruth articles on the Sacraments:
Today's Bible study
Sept 16, while deployed
Authority of the Keys
Anointing of the Sick
Defender defends the Sacraments

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