Roasted honey red stretch

Friday, October 2, 2015

Confession, the Misunderstood Sacrament

Part 2 of our series on Catholic Culture is about one of our practices. I wish it were our most popular practices. It is commonly called confession but the official name is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

Catholics are encouraged, rather strongly to partake of this sacrament at least twice a year, once during advent and once during lent. Vocabulary side note: Advent is the 25 day preparation period before Christmas in which we prepare ourselves for the second coming of Jesus Christ and Christmas, simultaneously. Lent is the 40 day period from Ash Wednesday until roughly Easter (take away the Sundays and a couple others). 

Why do we do this, you may ask. Because we know that we are sinners and we want to be better people. Yes we do believe that we can just ask Jesus to forgive us. But we also want to grow in holiness. Hiding your sins inside your own mind is NOT going to help you grow in holiness, just like not going to church or being part of the body of Christ and participating in parish life is not going to grow you in holiness either. 

We also want to be like Jesus and his disciples who showed us examples of how we ought to live. Jesus lived with other people and spent His days with them. He "walked in the light" so to speak. We take the admonitions of John and James very seriously, John, in his first letter tells us " If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin." Confessing your sins to someone in private is a way to walk in the light. 

And Lastly, James reminds us " Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. ... And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore,confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  A priest is given gifts when He is ordained, one of them is to give good counsel. There are some great benefits to confession that I have enjoyed, also. You can, of course unburden your conscience, that is the most well known benefit. Lesser known benefits are the reassurance of having a brother in Christ tell you that you are indeed forgiven. 
The priest additionally stands in for those that we have offended that we cannot contact. Our sin can send out bad effects outside of the immediate person we have offended. For instance gossip, once let loose on the world can travel the world over. If we are later sorry we gossiped we can't take it back and it could have uncountable effects on unknown persons. 

We can, however repent to the priest and enlist his prayers for reparation of our wrongdoing and he can forgive us for the community that we have offended. 

As you can see all of the practices of Catholics are firmly grounded in scripture. Since we brought the Bible safely from Jesus and the Disciples all the way to the modern era, we helped make sure it got written down and preserved for future generations, we are pretty well grounded in it. 

Tomorrow I will post the Meme that got this started. Blessings upon you and please pray for me. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Starting a New Series

So a Facebook meme, as they often do, has gotten my ire. I have decided that this ignorance of other cultures has gone on long enough in these United States and I can be a small part of the solution. Especially since it is my culture that is being misunderstood. 

Were you aware that Catholicism is a separate and distinct culture within American life? We have a different vocabulary and style of living (more about that later). 

Many of the common terms that we used are completely misunderstood. Take the word "pray" for instance. I see strong reactions among normally sane Americans to  common uses of this term by Catholics. 

Some words, like this one, are misunderstood simply because the usage of the term has changed over time. Less than one hundred years ago this term meant to request or to petition something from someone. It did not imply that the person you are addressing is superior to you, nor did it imply that the person you are petitioning is some kind of Supreme authority. Catholics mean it like that, regularly. 

We pray to this or that saint, God, and even angels, and it means we are asking for help, usually prayers or intercessions as they can give. Now it used to be universally understood that Christians live forever, Catholics still believe that and act upon that assumption.

I think that it used to be common knowledge among all Christians that  the Bible tells us that the prayers of the saints rise like incense before God (Revelation 8: 3&4). Indicating not only do the saints pray, but that it is a pleasing fragrance to the Father.

The last point I want to make on prayer is that Catholics love Jesus Christ. He is the one we turn to for life, hope, salvation and healing. He is our rock and out redeemer. When I wake up every day, I greet my Lord, I read His word, and I pray to Him. If I ask the intercession of a saint or an angel, it is a secondary or supplementary approach to getting a need met. 

In future posts in this series I will address other misconceptions on the Catholic way of life and our special vocabulary. God bless you all. Additionally, I will quote the pope in his trademark statement, Pray for me. 

Since I am aware that most internet readers do not read long posts I will save more for another post. 

The Big Mac