Monthly Archives: February 2010

Confessing My Sins to A Priest?

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Confession has been an important part of the life of the Church from the very early days. It is for this reason that Jesus said, “Whose sins you forgiven are forgiven them…” Jn 20:23, thus establishing the sacrament. Remember, the sacrament of reconciliation is an encounter with Christ.

It is Jesus Christ, in the person of the priest, who listens to your sins and forgives you. When the priest says, ”I absolve you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit..” it is Jesus who is absolving you. And you can be assured your sins are forgiven!

Certainly Jesus already knows our sins, but when we in humility confess them we reveal our contrite heart which is necessary to receive forgiveness. There is nothing you can tell the priest that he has not already heard. In addition to having our sins forgiven, we receive grace to help us overcome temptation. That’s why it is important to go to confession at least once a month. The more often we go, the more aware we are of the things we have done that offend God and others.

When we read the lives of the saints we see who important the sacrament of confession was to them. John Paul II used to go to confession every week, not because he was a great sinner, but because he longed for the encounter with Christ and needed the grace he would receive from this Sacrament of healing.

Do not be afraid, Jesus is waiting for you to confess your sins to him in this Sacrament so that he can pour out his grace and mercy upon you!

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Examination of Conscience with the Holy Trinity

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Fr. Jan Klak is a diocesan priest and pastor of St. Anthony Mary Claret Church in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Occasionally I will attend a Mass at that parish; and look forward to hearing Father Klak’s homily.

One Sunday, he gave us an Examination of Conscience with the Holy Trinity:

  • At the end of the day, thank our Heavenly Father for the day, the gift of life, the activities, lessons learned in the day, family, and so on.
  • Then go to Jesus, Son of God and implore His mercy for your sins, your faults.
  • Lastly, implore the Holy Spirit to descend upon you and grant you a good night’s rest. Give Him everything; your concerns, your worries, and ask Him to guide you the next day to follow Christ.

Well, I wasnt’ taking notes during the homily, but Father’s homilies are always so good; his gift of preaching helps you remember main points as I did with this one homily I heard. Try it!

O Holy Spirit – guide us always to do God’s holy will!

Chair of St. Peter, Apostle and Pope

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The Catholic Church celebrates today a special day – “the Chair of St. Peter”. The Gospel of today’s Mass is taken from Matthew 16:13-19. After Jesus asks His disciples “Who do you say that I am?” Peter responds with these words – “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” And Jesus said to Peter in reply – “Blessed are you, Simon Son of Johah, for flesh and blood has not revaled this to you, but my heavenly Father.”

Simon Peter is blessed because he believed what was revealed to him by God, even though it was contrary to huma logic. It was the same faith that allowed him to believe that Jesus would give him His flesh and blood as food and drink.

A prayer we can offer to Jesus:

Jesus, give me this enduring faith, that I will always believe in you when I am tempted to doubt your presence.

Lent reminds us of Jerusalem

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So how can anyone who has traveled to the Holy Land almost 40 times get something “new” each time? Yes, since 1984, we have traveled to the Holy Land leading pilgrim groups. Well, first of all we need to realize we are thinking about THE Land our Lord sanctified with His life! And so for us, we receive something “new” each time; because we love that Land and the people who for centuries have been living in the Land of the Bible.

We remember walking through the holy sites related to the Lord’s Passion in Jerusalem and thinking about how much He suffered…and for each one of us! And what is more amazing is realizing that Jesus did this in obedience to the Father’s plan for salvation.

When we walked the the Via Dolorosa carrying a large wooden cross with our pilgrim group, we thought about the immense love Christ had for us. The prayers we recited also reminded us of our sinfulness. This experience was so intense and emotional, but so consoling at the same time! We ended the Via Crucis in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which is built over the Tomb of Christ and over Calvary. Yes, it’s a large Church! And our pilgrim group had a private Mass in the Tomb…it was the Mass of the Resurrection! The Church allows the Mass of the Resurrection (Easter Mass) to be celebrated daily in the Tomb…because it was there where it all began!

So Lent reminds us of Jerusalem, of the Passion of our Lord, His sufferings, and His immense Love that lead to our Salvation.

So you can’t be in Jerusalem during Lent? Consider walking the Via Dolorosa on a Friday during Lent or anyday. Churches have the Stations of the Cross along their walls, or visit the Pilgrim Center of Hope Outdoor Stations of the Cross. Carry a small cross in your hand as you pray.

Jesus, thank you for laying down your life for us…help us to live our lives in and with you!

Lose my life?

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For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Jesus’ words in Luke 9:22-25)

When we live for ourselves only, we are dead, empty of grace, empty of the presence of God. But when we are willing to set aside our own interests for the sake of Christ, then He is living in us and we are truly alive!

Jesus give me the grace to think of you each moment so that I may I live in you.

Phrases our Lord likes to hear from each one of us:

Jesus, I love you!” “Jesus, help me, guide me.” “Jesus, I trust in you.”

Catholic Professional Women

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Did you know that out of the 70 million jobs created in the United States, 43 million went to women?* Nonetheless, women earn less money than men, have fewer assets, and are far more likely to live in poverty. While this fact may startle us; it is a reason for hope! John Paul II in his Letter To Women wrote:

Thank you women who work! You are present and active in every area of life – social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. In this way you make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling, … to the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity.

Although the world may give us statistics that are startling, we receive wise insight from the Vicar of Christ on the dignity and vocation of woman.

Women are present and active in so many areas of life – from the home, to parish community, to social organizations, elderly family care, the work place and other areas. Since it is the very nature of women to be compassionate, have concern for the other, nourish and multi-task; she also needs to realize the love of God and the importance of knowing her vocation and dignity as a woman.

An outreach has been born to specifically reach the professional woman called “Catholic Professional Women’s Luncheons.” The luncheons are scheduled throughout the year to offer spiritual nourishment to the professional woman today. Through a speaker/lunch format, women will discover the importance of their vocation as woman, and will be encouraged to sanctify and transform culture through the gift of their femininity.

The first Catholic Professional Women’s Luncheon is scheduled on Thursday, March 25 at the San Francisco Steak House Restaurant on Sahara Drive and San Pedro Avenue in San Antonio, TX, from 11:30am to 1:00pm; followed by an optional social time from 1:00pm to 1:30pm. The cost is $45.00. Organized and sponsored by the Pilgrim Center of Hope Steering Committee, we invite you to go to this website www.pilgrimcenterofhope.org for details and to register. Seating is limited, please register early.

The Catholic Professional Woman’s Luncheon is under the spiritual patronage of Our Lady of Good Counsel and St. Edith Stein. Stein said:

Women must become broad, tranquil, emptied of self, warm and transparent. Only hearts that are emptied and silent can be penetrated by grace, with its power to form women into the loving persons they are intended to be. Before they can be ready to assist others, women first need to be securely anchored in their own depths.

*(Department of Labor, 1999 – http://www.socialissues.wiseto.com)

Being Christians in Our Families

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Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you. Mk. 5:19

Jesus is telling us so many things today in the gospel reading (Mk. 5:1-20): he is friend and savior to the outcast, to the ones seemingly overcome by evil. We often focus on these themes when we read about how Jesus cast the demons into swine, freeing the possessed man. How mighty is our God!

But how often do we think about what Jesus says—not to the demons—to the man himself?

Rather than saying, “Come, follow me,” as he had done with the apostles, Jesus sends the freed man forth—to his family. The freed man has a special vocation from God to share the Lord’s mercy and love with the members of his family.

Certainly, this would not happen only through words; the man had been possessed! When he returned home, his family would immediately notice a difference, without him saying a word to them. Then, when they saw that he had been freed from evil, that he was a new person, they would surely ask him, “How has this happened to you?”

In response to the curiosity and openness of their hearts and minds, the freed man could “announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done” for him.

Let’s look at our own lives and see: How are we sharing God’s love with our families?

Have we allowed God to truly free us?
Are we coming home as a person transformed by the Lord?
Do our actions cause our neighbors to wonder about the source of our hope and joy?
Are we allowing God’s power to work through us, so that the hearts of those around us might be opened to His message of love?
Do we stop to think about all that God has done for us?
Have we opened ourselves to experience God so profoundly that we are glad to share His message with others, including our families?

We at the Pilgrim Center of Hope challenge you today, and each day of this week, to examine your life through this powerful gospel story. May God bless you and free you in His Mercy.