Cleansing

What is the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation?

This sacrament forgives our sins, reconciles us to God and his people, and gives us the grace to not sin again. In John 20: 22b-23 Jesus is with the apostles, “he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Where do we start?

First we need to examine our conscience. There are many ways to do this: use the 10 Commandments as a guide, review the past few weeks and months , sit quietly and think of the times you have less than your best.

If you haven’t been in a while, tell the priest. He will talk you through the steps.

It’s important that we have contrition, that is, are sorry for our sins. We also need the desire to amend our ways so we don’t sin again. We say our sins aloud to the priest and then he offers us absolution and gives us a penance.

What do we receive in the sacrament?

Unbelievable grace. Forgiveness. The strength to not sin again.

Those are just a few gifts we receive and that why going to confession is so important and helpful.

If you are Catholic, consider going to receive the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. If you are not Catholic, ask forgiveness of anyone you  have hurt and pray to receive grace to not to it again.

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Grace, a gift from God

Grace is one of my favorites gifts from God. I know I need it and use it and ask for it very regularly. Without grace, I would not be the person I am.

What is Grace?

Grace is any “underserved gift or help freely and lovingly provided by God, but above all the utterly basic gift of being saved in Christ through faith, a grace that God wishes to give all human beings” (A Concise Dictionary of Theology, O’Collins and Farrugia, S.J.).

We receive sacramental graces when we, well, receive the sacraments. Those help us live out our Christian vocation to love God and others. When we accept the grace God offers us it is efficacious, meaning it takes effects or works in us. Habitual or sanctifying grace makes us holy; it makes us more open and willing to live as God calls us to rather than the world. And then, there is actual grace, which we receive for a specific purpose.

Thoughts on Grace

How do these thoughts on grace from Thomas Merton and St. Ignatius resonate with you?

Grace is not a strange, magic substance which is subtly filtered into our souls to act as a kind of spiritual penicillin. Grace is unity, oneness within ourselves, oneness with God. — Thomas Merton

God gives each one of us sufficient grace ever to know His holy will, and to do it fully. – St. Ignatius of Loyola

Scripture

There are many, many verses about grace. These seemed particularly suited to our conversation.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God.”  Ephesians 2:8

“But when [God], who from my mother’s womb had set me apart and called me through his grace, was pleased” Galatians 1:15

Grounded in Grace Workshop

I’m offering a series of webinars to learn how to stand in the grace God has for us. Come to one or all, more information is on this page.

the not lukewarm challengeOur Challenge this week, each evening, look for the grace you received that day. Where did you see God with you?