“It is impossible to deny the crisis of division and widespread confusion that characterizes the Church in our day. Nor can anyone who loves the Church ignore the strong theological undercurrents that Dr. Martin identifies in his book, currents that try to separate what cannot be legitimately divided: pastoral charity from revealed truth.”
Bishop Scott McCaig, C.C. Military Ordinary of Canada -As a review for the book: A Church in Crisis, Pathways Forward
Bishop McCaig is right.
We cannot deny the crisis of division & widespread confusion that exists in our Church today.
Some would say “to question this” is a lack of obedience.
I would counter to say that “to not question” what goes against Scripture & Church doctrine is a complete lack of trust in God.
Because God is not a liar.
I have always been a rule-follower. I also consider myself to be extremely obedient; especially within the teachings of the Church, and I plan to continue living my life in this very same manner.
However, to deny that I and countless other faithful Catholics – nay Christians – are not confused would be a flagrant lie.
It’s another Wednesday for Saint Maria Faustina KoWalska (what else,)
with a brief reflection on the Divine Mercy of God!
And I have a confession to make…
I’ve been watching an awful lot of movies these past 48 hours!
Mostly because I remain homebound on Doctor’s orders. And so it is that I must confess to taking advantage of this permission ‘to do nothing’ & have woven some mindless things amidst my lenten prayer time, such as a….
with sympathetic Helen by my side!
I have mainly chosen to revisit some of my all time favorite dramas to watch, for example: On Golden Pond (Norman is still ‘just an old poop’.) Terms of Endearment (I decided I still prefer Shirley MacLaine as Wheezer in Steel Magnolias…and then tried to figure out how did she ever get cast as Martha Levinson in Downton Abbey???) PS I love you (where a scene was filmed from Cuppycake & my favorite NYC restaurant, Ouest, which closed it’s doors June 2015 and made me all teary-eyed as that particular scene was playing with Harry Connick, Jr & Hilary Swank.) And then today, trying to build upon this movie marathon to pass still yet more time, I attempted to watch a family favorite, Return to Me, which for some odd reason would not play. (And I was really looking forward to some bicycle riding time with Minnie Driver & the habited Sisters through the streets of Italy!)
The movie is a drama on the life of Sister Faustina Kowalska, a member of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, based upon her experiences recorded in her spiritual diary. Faustina received from Our Lord the visions of Divine Mercy and was both Beatified and Canonized by Pope John Paul II. The first feature film of its kind in Poland, it is a beautiful artistic portrayal of her mystical life in high quality cinema.
Dorota Segada was voted top actress of the year by European film critics for her stunning portrayal of Sister Faustina.
And while this movie just scraped the surface of the mystical experiences of St. Faustina & her many Diary entries, this was still a wonderful portrayal of St. Faustina’s mission as directed by Christ. The focus of Faustina’s time spent in confession with her Spiritual Director, Father Sopocko, and the tender compassion he showed during those times was a beautiful expression of what the Sacrament of Confession can be for us.
St. Faustina herself wrote many times in her Diary of the beautiful gift we are given through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
(113) And again, I would like to say three words to the soul that is determined to strive for sanctity and to derive fruit; that is to say, benefit from confession.
First [word] – complete sincerity and openness. Even the holiest and wisest confessor cannot forcibly pour into the soul what he desires if it is not sincere and open. An insincere, secretive soul risks great dangers in the spiritual life, and even the Lord Jesus Himself does not give Himself to such a soul on a higher level, because He knows it would derive no benefit from these special graces.
Second word – humility. A soul does not benefit as it should from the sacrament of confession if it is not humble. Pride keeps it in darkness. The soul neither knows how, nor is it willing, to probe with precision the depths of its own misery. It puts on a mask and avoids everything that might bring it recovery.
Third word – obedience. A disobedient soul will win no victory, even if the Lord Jesus Himself, in person, were to hear its confession. The most experienced confessor will be of no help whatsoever to such a soul. The disobedient soul exposes itself to great misfortunes; it will make no progress toward perfection, nor will it succeed in the spiritual life. God lavishes His graces most generously upon the soul, but it must be an obedient soul. -Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska
Confession is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ in his love and mercy. It is here that we meet the loving Jesus who offers sinners forgiveness for offenses committed against God and neighbor. At the same time, Confession permits sinners to reconcile with the Church, which also is wounded by our sins.
Saint Faustina reminds us we need the sacrament of Penance because each of us, from time to time, sins. When we recognize that we have offended God who is all deserving of our love, we sense the need to make things right. Like the prodigal son in the Gospel, we long to know again the loving embrace of a forgiving father who patiently waits for each of us. Jesus himself has established this sure and certain way for us to access God’s mercy and to know that our sins are forgiven. By virtue of his divine authority, Jesus gives this power of absolution to the apostolic ministry. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “in imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church” (1444).
We need to know that our sins are forgiven. There is something in our human nature that calls out for the assurance that our sins are actually forgiven. Confession is the visible manifestation of God’s mercy that provides us, in human terms as well, the clear awareness that God has forgiven us.
As Holy Week approaches may we consider the mercy that awaits us. There is no better drama to play out than what forgiveness has to offer us.
And I must confess there is no greater drama to watch than our selves falling into the arms of Jesus as we allow Him to wash away our sins.
“As we exit the confessional, we will feel his strength which gives new life and restores ardor to the faith. After confession we are reborn.” Pope Francis
hugs n’ restored blessings as we sincerely, humbly, obediently proclaim…