Beads of Joy 02-17-10
Ash Wednesday - 2010
©2010 James Dacey, Jr. SFO
Lent 2010 - Day 1
Today Lent officially begins. It's all about ashes today. Fasting also has a lot to do with the tradition of Lent; and that is such a wonderful part of our walk with Jesus leading up to Easter. But we're not going to look at either of them today, instead our focus will be all about repentance. Our sins are always a burden to us, our everyday emotional balance in life needs some balancing. When we prepare for a good serious sincere confession; it is so important that we first of all know that we need to be fully open to trusting God. When we begin to prepare for our confession it is also so important that we pray to the Holy Spirit; asking for guidance and direction while we examine our conscience. In this preparation we must not confuse our guilt with our shame. It is the guilt that is sorry for our sins. "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." 1 John 1:8-10
In the sorrow of our sins know that this feeling of guilt is a healthy sign for us. It shows us that our conscience and soul are alive and healthy. We must remember and I am guilty of this also, when we are sorry for committing our sins we must resolve to never ever do that sin again. I think it's time for all of us to fully embrace the Act of Contrition. Let us see how these words need to echo in our heart; so that the choices we make help stop us from constantly committing the sames sins over and over without ever being truly sorry for them. "I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death." 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
As we begin Lent, let us begin with a wholehearted fully open confession. The ordinary means of making a good confession is by telling a priest. We don't have to meet with him face to face, behind the screen is fine. I know there are many of you who don't believe you need to see a priest, but if you are a Roman Catholic it is part of our belief and our faith; that is how we confess our sins. "Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: "All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly." CCC 1456. I am only looking to help, and if I am sharing anything with my Roman Catholic faith I will be fully informative with what the Church expects of us.
Our whole intention and purpose with Penance is for us to restore God's grace and friendship with us. "The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship." Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament." CCC 1468 Let us begin this Lenten Season with the cleansing of our soul before God; with a confession that opens us fully showing Jesus the love we truly have for Him. Just like the leper asked Jesus, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Matthew 8:2 Some people want to use part of Lent to prepare for your confession, I think that's wonderful. I have plans to make this Lenten Season a very informative exciting time for all of us to grow spiritually, I have lots of fun ideas laid out for the upcoming weeks. I will share challenges with you, dare you to do things to test your faith, and help you to experience the joy I have every single day in my life. There is no commitment required by anybody for all of this, it's all up to you.
Let's make every effort to frequently cleanse our soul in confession.
Your brother in Christ Jesus & His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr SFO
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend thee, my God, who art all-good and deserving of my love.
Footnote: CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church)