Presentation on theme: "Reconciliation with God 33 VAN DYCK, Sir Antony (1599-1641) The Penitent Apostle Peter Oil on canvas, 1617-1618 Hermitage, St Petersburg."— Presentation transcript:
Reconciliation with God 33 VAN DYCK, Sir Antony (1599-1641) The Penitent Apostle Peter Oil on canvas, 1617-1618 Hermitage, St Petersburg
Compendium of the Catechism 303. What are the acts of the penitent? 1450-1460 1487-1492 They are: a careful examination of conscience; contrition (or repentance), which is perfect when it is motivated by love of God and imperfect if it rests on other motives and which includes the determination not to sin again; confession, which consists in the telling of one’s sins to the priest; and satisfaction or the carrying out of certain acts of penance which the confessor imposes upon the penitent to repair the damage caused by sin.
Introduction The following is an episode from the life of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem: “It was Holy Week and many people were waiting to go to Confession. Saint Cyril saw the devil among them, and the bishop asked him what he was doing there. The devil said that he was doing an act of reparation. —You, reparation?—replied the bishop. — (…) Is it not reparation giving back what one has taken away? I took away the shame for sinning from all those who are here, and now I am giving them back that shame to confess their sins”. Baciccio (1639-1709) The Pietà (Mary Lamenting the Dead Christ) Oil on canvas, 1667 72 x 45 5/8 inches (183 x 116 cm) Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome
1. Conditions for a good confession Five things are necessary for a good confession : an examination of conscience, sorrow for one’s sins, the resolution not to sin anymore, telling one’s sins to the confessor and the act of penance. These conditions should be fulfilled trying not to act out of routine, because each confession is a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. STOMER, Matthias (1600-1650) The Penitent Saint Peter Oil on canvas 21 3/8 x 25 1/2 inches (54.5 x 64.8 cm) Public collection
2. Examination of conscience Before going to confession, we have to remember all the mortal sins that we have committed since our last valid confession. We have to consider carefully: God’s commandments, the Church’s commandments and the obligations of our own status in life. If we remember any mortal sin committed since our last valid confession, we have to make clear what kind of sin it is, the circumstances, and the number (or average number) of each sin committed. It is also fitting that we should confess our venial sins. SHEITS, Matthias David y Nathan 1672 Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
3. Sorrow Sorrow for sins can be either of attrition (due to fear of the punishment or due to the ugliness of the sin) or contrition (caused by having offended God, God being who He is). Contrition or perfect sorrow comes from a sincere love of God, whom we have offended. When it is impossible to go to confession, this kind of sorrow reconciles man with God before receiving the sacrament of Penance. But this sorrow does not excuse the penitent from the oral confession of sins; it presupposes the desire to confess all one’s sins and it is ordained to oral confession. Imperfect sorrow or sorrow of attrition does not of itself achieve forgiveness of sins, but is sufficient for receiving the sacrament of Penance. EL GRECO (1541-1614) The Penitent Magdalene Oil on canvas 34 x 26 3/8 inches (86.4 x 67.3 cm) Private collection
4. Resolution not to sin anymore Jesus made this explicit when He told the sinful woman: “Go and do not sin anymore” (John 8:11). Even if one is not sure of being able not to offend God anymore, he has to be willing to apply the means not to do so. This means to avoid close and voluntary occasions of sin: such as frequenting the company of bad friends, readings contrary to faith or morals, immoral conversations, etc. It also means to make the supernatural and human effort to strengthen our will in order not to sin anymore. BOTTICELLI, Sandro The Lamentation of Christ c.1490 Alte Pinakothek, Munich
5. Confession or accusation of sins For a valid confession, all mortal sins have to be confessed, detailing their number and the circumstances that could change the gravity of the sin For instance, stealing might be accompanied by violence, in which case it would count as two sins. Consciously omitting the confession of a mortal sin would make that confession a sacrilege, rendering it invalid. If one forgets to confess a sin and realizes it afterwards, there is no need to worry: that sin is forgiven, provided that one includes it in the next confession. In the meantime, it is appropriate to receive Holy Communion. Even though it is not absolutely necessary, it is fitting to confess venial sins also. TISSOT, James Jacques Joseph (1836-1902) The Return of the Prodigal Son Oil on canvas, 1862 Private collection
6. Doing the penance The penance or punishment given by the confessor is for the satisfaction of the debt due to God because of one’s sins. Besides doing it as soon as possible, it would be good to make more acts of penance so as to manifest one’s sorrow for the seriousness of one’s sins and to atone more for them. If one intends to fulfil the penance imposed by the confessor, but forgets to do it, the confession is valid. Nevertheless, forgetting it could mean in some cases a certain negligence. VAN ALSLOOT, Denys (1570-1626) The Flagellation Of Christ Oil on canvas Private collection
7. Some practical advice for confession Before confession : Some preparatory prayer. While examining your conscience, try to feel real sorrow for each and every one of your sins. Make a firm resolution not to sin anymore. During confession : Kneel down and you can start saying “Bless me Father for I have sinned”. The penitent says all his sins briefly, clearly and sincerely. Then he listens to the questions, recommendations and the penance imposed. After that he recites some words of contrition. After confession : the penance imposed should be done as soon as possible. One should thank God for His mercy and beg help from Our Lord and Our Blessed Lady CRESPI, Giuseppe Maria Confession, 1712 Gemäldegalerie, Dresden
8. The celebration of the sacrament of Penance Though in some exceptional cases there are other ways to celebrate it, the individual and complete confession of all serious sins, followed by the absolution by the priest, is the only ordinary way for reconciliation with God and the Church.
9. Indulgences Indulgences remit the temporal pain which might remain after the sins have been forgiven. To obtain an indulgence one has to be in God’s grace and do what the Church prescribes. There are many ways of obtaining indulgences, like offering one’s work or study, saying the Angelus, the Rosary, The Way of the Cross, a spiritual communion, a prayer for the Pope, or using a medal or a crucifix that has been blessed, etc. BOUGUEREAU, William (1825-1905) Compassion! Oil on canvas, 1897 Private collection
Resolutions to move forward Learn to make a good confession, as it has been explained in this lesson, asking the priest, your parents, teacher or catechist, to resolve any doubts you might have. Prepare to make a good confession and do it soon.