Sunday, January 17, 2010

So I find nothing in this world as compelling as an open Confessional door with the light on.

What a gift the Sacrament of Reconciliation is, and praise God for His grace to allow me to visit this Sacrament yesterday.  This was yet another leg in my self-made Novena and spiritual preparation for the March for Life this year, to "hit Confession".  Before I left I spotted a small black prayer book, "Manual of Prayers", printed in 1930 by the John Murphy Company (U.S.A.), and I grabbed it on my way out the door.  It had an entire section of prayers for the Sacrament of Reconciliation that were beautiful.  Here is the first one that I used in my preparations...

To Implore the Divine Assistance in Order to Make a Good Confession

O Almighty and most merciful God, who hast made me out of nothing, and redeemed me by the Precious Blood of Thine Only Son; who hast with so much patience borne with me to this day, notwithstanding all my sins and ingratitude; ever calling after me to return to Thee from the ways of vanity and iniquity, in which I have been quite wearied out in the pursuit of empty toys and mere shadows; seeking in vain to satisfy my thirst in unclean waters, and my hunger with husks of swine: behold, O most gracious Lord, I now sincerely desire to leave all these my evil ways, to forsake the region of death where I have so long lost myself, and to return to Thee, the Fountain of Life.  I desire, like the prodigal son, to enter seriously into myself, and with the like resolution to arise without delay, and to go home to my Father - though I am most unworthy to be called His child - in hopes of meeting with the like reception from His most tender mercy.  But O my God, though I can go astray from Thee of myself, yet I cannot make one step towards returning to Thee, unless Thy divine grace move and assist me.  This grace, therefore, I most humbly implore, prostrate in spirit before the throne of Thy mercy; I beg it for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who died upon the Cross for my sins; I know that Thou desirest not the death of a sinner, but that he may be converted and live; I know Thy mercies are above all Thy works; and I most confidently hope that as in Thy mercy Thou hast spared me so long, and hast now given me this desire of returning to Thee, so Thou wilt finish the work which Thou hast begun, and bring me to a perfect reconciliation with Thee.
I desire now to comply with Thy holy institution of the Sacrament of Penance; I desire to confess my sins with all sincerity to Thee and to Thy minister; and therefore I desire to know myself, and to call myself to an account by a diligent examination of my conscience.  But, O my God, how miserably shall I deceive myself if Thou assist me not in this great work by Thy heavenly light.  O then remove every veil that hides any of my sins from me, that I may see them all in their true colors, and may sincerely detest them.  O let me no longer be imposed upon by the Enemy of souls, or by my own self-love, so as to mistake vice for virtue, to hide myself from myself, or in any way to make excuses for sins.  But, O my good God, what will it avail me to know my sins, if Thou dost not also give me a hearty sorrow and repentance for them?  Without this my sins will be all upon me still, and I shall be still Thine enemy and a child of hell.  Thou dost require that contrite heart, without which there can be no reconciliation with Thee; and this heart none but Thyself can give.  O then, dear Lord, grant it unto me at this time.  Give me a lively faith, and a steadfast hope, in the Passion of my Redeemer; teach me to fear Thee and to love Thee.  Give me, for Thy mercy's sake, a hearty sorrow for having offended so good a God.  Teach me to detest my evil ways; to abhor all my past ingratitude; to myself now with a perfect hatred for my many treasons against Thee.  O give me a full and firm resolution to lead henceforward a new life; and unite me unto Thee with an eternal band of love which nothing in life or death may ever break.
Grant me also the grace to make an entire and sincere confession of all my sins, and to accept the confusion of it as a penance justly due to my transgressions.  Let not the Enemy prevail upon me to pass over anything through fear or shame; rather let me die than consent to so great an evil.  Let no self-love deceive me, as I fear it has done too often.  O grant that this confession may be good; and for the sake of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who died for me and for all sinners, assist me in every part of my preparation for it; that I may perform it with the same care and diligence as I should be glad to do at the hour of my death; that so, being perfectly reconciled to Thee, I may never offend Thee more.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

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