Tag Archives: confession

9 December, Monday – There’s no place to hide, and no reason to either

Dec 9 – Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On this and the following eight days, the Church celebrates, with particular solemnity, the immaculate conception of the ever-blessed Virgin Mary who, from all eternity, was chosen to be the daughter of the heavenly Father, the spouse of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of the Divine Redeemer, and, by consequence, the queen of angels and of men.

The consideration of these prerogatives convinced the most enlightened fathers and teachers of the Catholic Church that she was conceived immaculate, that is, without original sin. It is very remarkable that among the shining hosts of saints who have, in every century, adorned the Church, no one wrote against this belief, while we find it confirmed by the decisions of the holy fathers from the earliest times.

Pope Piux IX forced, as it were, by the faith and devotion of the faithful throughout the world, finally on 8 December 1854, sanctioned, as a dogma of faith falling within the infallible rule of Catholic traditions, this admirable prerogative of the Blessed Virgin.

It is, therefore, now no longer, as formerly, a pious belief, but an article of the faith that Mary, like the purest morning light which precedes the rising of the most brilliant sun, was, from the first instant of her conception, free from original sin.

  • Patron Saint Index

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Genesis 3:9-15,20

After Adam had eaten of the tree the Lord God called to him. ‘Where are you?’ he asked. ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden;’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman replied, ‘The serpent tempted me and I ate.’
  Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this,
 
‘Be accursed beyond all cattle,
all wild beasts.
You shall crawl on your belly and eat dust
every day of your life.
I will make you enemies of each other:
you and the woman,
your offspring and her offspring.
It will crush your head
and you will strike its heel.’
 
The man named his wife ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all those who live.

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Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ.
Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ,
to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence,
determining that we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ
for his own kind purposes,
to make us praise the glory of his grace,
his free gift to us in the Beloved,
And it is in him that we were claimed as God’s own,
chosen from the beginning,
under the predetermined plan of the one who guides all things
as he decides by his own will;
chosen to be,
for his greater glory,
the people who would put their hopes in Christ before he came.

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Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

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…and I hid myself

It’s funny how we hide from God.  I know that it is irrational to hide, because I am never hidden from God, yet I continue to play this foolish game.

I hide from God by procrastinating about confession. I always feel so good after confession, but sometimes it is so difficult to get myself there because my sins are embarrassing. I am ashamed that I don’t control myself, that I am less than He has called me to be and less than I want to be. So I hide. And in my hiding, I have become lost at times –- but only lost to myself; I am never lost to Him. God is never wondering where I am.

Mary never hid. Oh how I pray that I will focus on that knowledge when I am inclined to hide. When the Angel Gabriel came to her and spoke, it must have initially been frightening to a young girl. Yet she didn’t run, she didn’t hide. Even when she heard and comprehended the words of Gabriel she didn’t say, “THIS CAN’T BE”. She said, ‘how can this be’. She wasn’t thinking of herself at all. At all. All her thoughts were about God and doing His will.  Living for Him.

When we hide, we are focused on our self – and only our self. Whether we are hiding from friends, family, coworkers and even God, we are focusing on ourselves. On our shortcomings, our weaknesses, our sins; when our focus should be on Him. The God who is all knowing. The God who loves us. The God who has no weakness, no shortcoming, no sin. When I focus on myself, so much can go wrong, and it oftentimes does. When I focus on God, He takes my weakness and transforms.

He makes all things new when I come to Him, instead of hiding from Him.

(Today’s Oxygen by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer:  Father God, you destined me in love, knew me before the foundation of the world was even created. You truly are the only Awesome, and you fill me with awe by loving me completely. 

Thanksgiving:  Thank you Father, for never hiding from me. Thank you for never allowing me to be lost outside of your love, even when I choose to hide from you. 

19 September, Thursday – Tons of Love

Sep 19 – Memorial for St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr

Januarius (d. 305) was arrested on account of his profession of the Christian religion during persecution of Christians. He was cast into the fiery furnace, through which he passed wholly unharmed. On the following day, along with a number of fellow martyrs, he was exposed to the fury of wild beasts, which laid themselves down in tame submission at his feet.

Timotheus, the governor who pronounced the sentence of death upon Januarius, was struck with blindness but was immediately healed by the powerful intercession of the saint, a miracle which converted nearly five thousand men on the spot. The ungrateful judge, only roused to further fury by these occurrences, caused the execution of Januarius by the sword to be forthwith carried out. The body was ultimately removed by the inhabitants of Naples to that city, where the relic became very famous for its miracles.

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1 Timothy 4:12-16

Do not let people disregard you because you are young, but be an example to the believers in the way you speak and behave, and in your love, your faith and your purity. Make use of the time until I arrive by reading to the people, preaching and teaching. You have in you a spiritual gift which was given to you when the prophets spoke and the body of elders laid their hands on you; do not let it lie unused. Think hard about all this, and put it into practice, and everyone will be able to see how you are advancing. Take great care about what you do and what you teach; always do this, and in this way you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.

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Luke 7:36-50

One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to a meal. When he arrived at the Pharisee’s house and took his place at table, a woman came in, who had a bad name in the town. She had heard he was dining with the Pharisee and had brought with her an alabaster jar of ointment. She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is that is touching him and what a bad name she has.’ Then Jesus took him up and said, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ ‘Speak, Master’ was the reply. ‘There was once a creditor who had two men in his debt; one owed him five hundred denarii, the other fifty. They were unable to pay, so he pardoned them both. Which of them will love him more?’ ‘The one who was pardoned more, I suppose’ answered Simon. Jesus said, ‘You are right.’
Then he turned to the woman. ‘Simon,’ he said ‘you see this woman? I came into your house, and you poured no water over my feet, but she has poured out her tears over my feet and wiped them away with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she has been covering my feet with kisses ever since I came in. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. For this reason I tell you that her sins, her many sins, must have been forgiven her, or she would not have shown such great love. It is the man who is forgiven little who shows little love.’ Then he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Those who were with him at table began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this man, that he even forgives sins?’ But he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’

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It is the man who is forgiven little who shows little love

A friend of mine described love as “affection towards another person.” I agree that it is affection. But I believe that love is not solely for another human. It can be affection to our pets or other earthly things. As much as we want to live a holy life, there are, or will be times, that we have to suppress our feelings from loving material things.

I remember one time when a classmate of mine accidentally dropped my laptop. Thankfully, it still had it sleeve on but there was a minor dent at the side. I was really angry because during that time, laptops were not that affordable. I had to spend a lot of time justifying the purchase to my parents because a desktop was way cheaper than a laptop.

I was a sophomore at the time and I think it was until my senior year in college when I was able to let go of that incident. Time heals, but it is also by the grace of God that I was able to overcome my attachment to material things. Imagine having that ill emotion for almost 3 years.  Another factor that added to it was my dislike for that person. But that is another story. Nonetheless, I know it was wrong to harbour that kind of feelings. I was young, self-centred, and always wanted everything to go my way. But I was wrong.

I was really glad that I was able to realise that I was wrong. And that is the first step to forgiveness. The next step is seeking forgiveness for what we did. As merciful as our God can be, forgiveness is not automatic. It must be asked for. Our Lord is always there, waiting for us to ask for His forgiveness.

I encourage everyone to go to confession frequently (at least once a month). It can help us be nourished spiritually and be healed emotionally.

(Today’s Oxygen by Beryl Baterina)

Prayer: Father God, please teach us to be humble and accept our wrongdoings and to ask for forgiveness. Please also teach us to forgive others as you forgive our sins. Amen.

Thanksgiving:  Heavenly Father, thank You for pardoning our sins though we are unworthy. Amen.

5 September, Thursday – Be cleansed and happy!

5 Sept 2019

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Colossians 1:9-14

Ever since the day we heard about you, we have never failed to pray for you, and what we ask God is that through perfect wisdom and spiritual understanding you should reach the fullest knowledge of his will. So you will be able to lead the kind of life which the Lord expects of you, a life acceptable to him in all its aspects; showing the results in all the good actions you do and increasing your knowledge of God. You will have in you the strength, based on his own glorious power, never to give in, but to bear anything joyfully, thanking the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light.

Because that is what he has done: he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.

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Luke 5:1-11

Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.

When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.

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Because that is what He has done: He has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that He loves, and in Him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.”

How do you feel after confession? Relieved? Happy? Or simply… nothing?

I feel happy after confession, especially after making good ones. The sacrament of reconciliation brings to me a feeling that is unlike ordinary experiences. When I quarrel with my friend and we make up after the argument, we give each other a hug and let bygones be bygones, and that’s it. I feel happy that the friendship has not been ruined. Or when I confess a mistake that I made to my friend, I will feel embarrassed and guilty, maybe even horrified, but if my friend forgives me for what I have done, I feel relieved.

However, for me, confession brings this happiness and relief to a much higher level spiritually and emotionally. I feel uplifted, like a huge stone has been lifted off my shoulders, and I feel overjoyed for being granted this wonderful sacrament. Most importantly, I feel loved by God through the sacrament of reconciliation.

We are supposed to feel happy after confession, as I recall one priest having mentioned before. When we visit the sacrament of reconciliation, we are given a new lease of life with God as He puts us right and cleanses us of our sins. Most importantly, this sacrament helps to bring us one step closer to God, and allows us to feel his abundant, unconditional and selfless love for us. No matter how sinful we are, He still wants to develop a closer relationship with us and is willing to forgive all our sins as long as we are sincere and repentant. He loves even the recalcitrant sinners and is willing to forgive them, even if people think that they cannot be saved by God.

Yet, it is a sad truth that confession lines are shorter than communion lines. An article has revealed that one of the main reasons could be because we are scared of embarrassing ourselves when we confess our sins to the priest. However, we should always remember that priests are merely being instruments of Christ. It is Christ who died for us and gave us the free gift of redemption. It is Christ who is in the confessional box, listening to our sins. It is Christ who is forgiving us when the priest raises his right hand to say the absolution. It does not matter who the priest is, for the sacrament of reconciliation is all about us building our relationship with Christ, not with the priest. Ultimately, it is Christ, and not the priest, who will welcome us to heaven, and give us everlasting and eternal life.

So, the next time you visit the sacrament of reconciliation, we hope that you will make a good one and feel happy after confession!

(Today’s Oxygen by Brenda Khoo)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to make a good confession every time we visit the sacrament of reconciliation. Help us to experience Your redemptive and saving grace. Remove all traces of fear and pride when we see You in the priest during confession. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Dear Lord, thank you for giving us the sacrament of reconciliation and allowing us to build a closer relationship with you.