Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lent: Luminous Thursdays

The third Luminous Mystery is Proclaiming the Kingdom. From this mystery, we are supposed to gain the fruit of repentance and trust in God. Here is my take on this mystery.

There were times that Jesus called for repentance, but He seldom expressed it so simply. John the Baptizer had preached repentance in preparation for Jesus's coming. Jesus did nothing to detract from John's message and actually built on it. However, He was more subtle. When asked, He told us to forgive our brother seven times seventy times (Matthew 18:22). In those times, seven was a sacred number. Basically seventy times means infinitely. He also told us to forgive others as the Lord forgives us. We are told to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) and love our enemies (Luke 6:27). All these verses are calling us to turn from our selfish ways and learn the ways of God.

Jesus also spoke often of trust in the Lord. The one that immediately came to my mind was Luke 12:22-32. In these verses, Jesus reminds us that God cares for the birds of the sky and plants in the fields without any input from them. How much more so will God care for us who are created in His image and likeness? However, unlike plants and animals, we have been given a free will. We must choose to be faithful and loving to God. That is why we have the Scriptures, Catechism, and other documents to explain God's rules for us. Without knowledge of these rules it is a crap-shoot as to whether what we do is pleasing to God or not.

I don't know about you, but I'd like better odds at gaining Heaven. Some Christians believe that once you profess your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you're finished. Catholics believe that your profession of Faith is vital for your Salvation. I addition, we acknowledge that good intentions often go awry. Therefore we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We are all human and therefore we often fail to give to God what He deserves -- our undivided love. If were fail too often, it doesn't matter what we profess with our mouths, our souls are separate from God. To return to God's good graces, we must repent of our sins and confess them.

It's fairly simple to confess "directly" to God, but it is infinitely more difficult to confess to a human representative of God. Part of Jesus's message was humility before God. How much more humiliating is it to confess your darkest sins to a representative that you perceive as righteous? Another benefit, besides humbling yourself in front of another person, is that this righteous person, a priest, can offer suggestions for how to avoid the sins you've confessed. This is a sticking point for some, especially when the sins confessed are sexual in nature (or another area they think a celibate priest would have no knowledge of). However, it is not necessary to commit a sin to understand the temptation of that sin.

Priests spend their lives studying Scripture, the Catechism, and other documents. They also hear hundreds of confessions and counsel hundreds of people. Each priest (at least in my diocese) is required to attend a full week of retreat. During this week, they confer with one another, commune with God through prayers and meditations, and research God's word. Of course, priests are human as well, so they struggle with various temptations that we, lay-people, probably do not fully understand. Their lives are committed to God and helping His people stay on the straight and narrow.

Since the Kingdom of God is approaching, it is time to repent. In other words, I need to go to Confession. I am too prideful, I think. I avoid Confession most of the time. I tell myself that I need to go, but I always come up with a reason not to go. In this Lenten season, I will go. How about you?

No comments:

Total Pageviews

Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

Erika's Miracle Journey Continues's Fan Box