In this chapter, Sri unfolds the Sacrament of Reconciliation and also looks at some of the common objections or obstacles folks have in frequenting this sacrament. With regards to faith, sometimes our eyes are blinded or, perhaps more accurately, we are not open to the grace God wishes to pour into our lives. I must admit, that until a retreat given by Archbishop Bernard (Bernie, as he likes to be called) Hebda, I had little interest in Divine Mercy or Saint Faustina. Mercy was the theme of the retreat given by Archbishop Hebda and in his conferences, he spoke about Divine Mercy, of our need to ask for and obtain the mercy of God, to trust in Christ’s abundant mercy, to show mercy to others and to act as a channel for God’s mercy towards others. Praise God! Through this retreat a veil was lifted from my eyes to this wonderful gift of Divine Mercy. Before the retreat, I was drawn to – the Rosary, Saint Faustina, Divine Mercy, Divine Mercy Chaplet, etc. After the retreat…a 180. If you have signed up for Formed.org through Saint Kilian Parish, take a look at the 10 part series, Divine Mercy: In the Second Greatest Story Ever Told. But, rather than ramble on about my personal journey to encounter mercy, let me share St. Faustina’s Prayer To Be Merciful which Archbishop Hebda shared with our retreat group and encourage you to be open this gift of God.
I want to be completely transformed into Your mercy and to be Your living reflection, O Lord. May the greatest of all Divine attributes, that of Your unfathomable Mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but always look for what is beautiful in my neighbor’s souls and come to their rescue.
Help me, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbor’s needs, and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings.
Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of others, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.
Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and always try to take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.
Help me, O Lord, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. My true rest is in the service of my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful, so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my kindness. And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will bear my own suffering in silence.
May your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me.
– Deacon Ralph
Making a good confession is important for both our relationship with God and with self. Part of making that ‘good’ confession truly is confession to a priest, who stands ‘in persona Christi’ before us. How easy it is to simply say to ourselves what we’ve done wrong – to make a private confession, in secret – but how much more effort is required to say it to someone else? How much more humbling? This face to face experience opens our inner self to really seeing the depth of our errors and the truth of our true selves. Scripture tells us that Christ gave the authority to forgive or retain the sins of others to his disciples and in this manner, we do have the opportunity to rejoice in hearing that we are forgiven. We are, after all, creatures of the senses; hearing forgiveness makes it even more tangible. So why don’t we frequent this sacrament? Why aren’t the lines outside of the confessionals wrapped around the sanctuary multiple times? What keeps us from taking advantage of this gift as we should? This is probably even more telling than our actual confession. I know that I, for one, need to take a closer look at what gets in the way (by my own design and attachment) of this grace and remove the obstacle.