Free Tommy Robinson !!
[ Ordinary of the Mass ]
[English Text - Sacred Heart of
[Latin Text - Sacred Heart of Jesus]
[ English Text - Sunday within the
[ Latin Text - Sunday within the Octave ]
[Encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor]
[Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus]
[Consecration of the
Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus]
On Forgiveness of Sin
“The Pharisees murmured,
‘This Man receives sinners and eats with them.’”
This morning's Gospel
treats of one of those topics that have become unpopular during the past 50
years or so—the idea of sin being forgiven.
The current thinking of
many modern people is that there isn't really any such thing as sin. There
is only social disruption; and such disruption can be resolved simply by
negotiating with the other people concerned. It there ever was any such
thing as sin, it was an Old Testament concept only—one that has been
resolved by the crucifixion and the universal salvation of all men and
women. And even that doesn't really matter, since the modern theologians
tell us that hell is only a temporary thing, and everybody will wind up in
Just to be sure
everyone understands, everything I just said is complete and utter
nonsense—wishful thinking at best!
Unfortunately, sin is
real. And likewise, punishment for sin is real—and indeed likely for the
unrepentant. “The devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking those whom
he can devour.”
However, there is a fortunate side of all this. As we read today, our Lord
receives sinners and hopes for their repentance.
To understand this, we
must recall that the purpose of our creation is the glorification of God.
As the Catechism tells us, that's why God made us—or, at least, half the
reason. The second half is for our future happiness with God in heaven.
Since God gave us free will, we are able to glorify Him by making our will
conform to His. That is to say that we honor God by wanting the same things
He wants of us, and by doing those things. When we act against His will,
either by spurning Him or mistreating His other creatures—particularly other
men and women—we are said to “sin.” If we persist in sin in this world—if
we continue to act against God in the present life—it is obviously
unreasonable to expect to be able to share God's happiness in the next
Yet God did create us
to be happy with Him. He does “receive sinners” and looks for their
repentance, and wants to forgive them. As we saw on the Sunday after
Easter, He even gave his priests the power to forgive our sins when we
present them in Confession.
But before our sins can
be forgiven, it is necessary for us to recognize them ourselves, to develop
a sincere sorrow or regret for having committed them, and to resolve to do
better in the future. Now, those are three separate things, and they need
to be considered one at a time.
First, recognizing our
sins requires that we have developed a properly formed conscience. By the
time we come to maturity we should have become familiar with the moral
teachings of Sacred Scripture and the Church. At a minimum, this means
having a thorough understanding of the Commandments and the Precepts of the
Church. It may also require us to seek more specialized guidance, depending
upon our particular state and occupation in life.
Recognizing our sins in
specific, requires also that we regularly make an examination of our
conscience—a sort of “spiritual inventory,” in which we review with
ourselves both our shortcomings and our progress in the spiritual life.
Second, as we said, we
need to develop sorrow for our sins—“contrition” is the more formal term.
This ought to be fairly simple if we keep that Catechism definition
in mind. It ought to be obvious that we are going contrary to our own
nature—damaging ourselves and our relationship with God—whenever we sin. If
nothing else, the fear of losing heaven ought to convince us. (But, of
course, the love of God is a better motive for contrition.)
Third, we must
determine not to sin again. Now, we all know that this may not be exactly
possible; but still, we must make the effort to avoid sin and those things
that might make us sin. At a minimum, we must make an effort toward general
improvement and the breaking of our bad habits.
Following these three
things, we are able to make a good Confession and receive absolution in the
Sacrament of Penance. Our Confession should be made with humility; it
should briefly include the number and kinds of our sins; and finally, we
should be receptive of whatever penance the priest prescribes. At the end
of our Confession, the priest, acting with our Lord's authority, grants
forgiveness of our sins.
Finally, the penance we
perform—be it done on our own account, or because the priest assigned it to
us—is essential. Sin offends God and man, and justice requires that we work
toward making up for that offense. It may take the form of prayer, or
personal mortification, or good works. “The penalty,” as they say, “ought
to fit the crime,” so the penance will often be directed by the particular
It goes without saying
that if we have stolen or damaged someone's goods or their reputation; or if
we have willfully caused someone to sustain a loss; we are obligated to make
restitution, as best we are able.
All of this may seem a
bit complicated, but it really isn't. God made us for Himself. When we try
to go our own way, we sin and we get off the proper track. But we must not
forget that “He receives sinners,” that He is always ready to forgive the
repentant. Remember that “there shall be joy before the angels of God upon
one sinner doing penance.”