Week of 2/25/2018
“By His wounds we are healed (1 Peter 2:24).” It seems a paradox to the ears, how can we be healed by someone else’s wounds? What we are healed by is the sacrifice of Our Lord and the incredible love He showed despite the scourging and crucifixion. The wounds inflicted on Our Lord are wounds caused by hatred, but His response was one of infinite love. Through His Passion Our Lord teaches us many treasures.
Why was the God of Love so hated by those He loved, and even put to death? St. Augustine asked this same question 1600 years ago and answered it by saying we become so subtly engrossed in our own pride, that God’s entrance into the world, like for King Herod, becomes
a threat to the little kingdoms we set up for ourselves. In humility we must admit that while we say we accept God fully, when called to absolute fidelity we can balk, like St. Peter or others, because of pride, habit, because our world view cannot be wrong. But then comes the Passion of Our Lord, which if we really ponder well, should melt our hearts with love and sorrow. It reminds us that every word Our Lord teaches us is salve for the soul; it has a healing property that works wonders. God is incredibly patient and loving; He walks with us as we struggle to grow in perfection.
The Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, every parable, the temptations in the desert, and of course the Passion and death, all become striking words and images meant to jar us out of worldly distractions and remind us of the things of eternity. When we contemplate God becomes a man who has His flesh ripped from His bones, who is derided and humiliated by all of us, then crucified, we are called to recognize life must change, that the restlessness I feel each day is rooted in the desire to be healed in my soul from pride, from sin, from my own fragility that is desperate for God’s stunning, ever healing divine love. When Christ is followed, the soul has peace; when resisted, anger, resentment, grudges, and desire to strike at people grows.
Healing is the core of confession. Many times someone will joke and say “hey if I confess the roof will fall in,” or “if I confess you will need five days, father.” Not at all. I never had a confession that lasted more than a few minutes; unless someone has some questions they wished to discuss. Sometimes confession can be seen as something only for those who sin badly, but not me; what sins could I commit? Good question; why not ask your spouse!
In history, we see saints frequent confession. St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta went once a week, as did many others. The Church does say to confess sins at least once a year. How about once a month? The healing experienced in confession comes from the deep contrition one feels for sins and the supernatural grace of God. How to go to confession? Just enter and ask the priest; he will be happy to help. Confession cultivates peace, strength, and hope deep in the engine room of our soul. By His wounds God gave us confession; through it we are healed of sin and despair. In fact, only by His wounds do we have hope of eternal glory.
The Venerable Pope Pius XII says it well: But to ensure more rapid progress day by day in the path of virtue, We will that the pious practice of frequent confession, which was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy spirit, should be earnestly advocated. By it genuine selfknowledge is increased, Christian humility grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted, the conscience is purified, the will strengthened, a salutary selfcontrol is attained, and grace is increased in virtue of the Sacrament itself. Let those, therefore… who make light of… frequent confession realize that what they are doing is alien to the Spirit of Christ and disastrous for the Mystical Body of our Savior.
God love you,
Fr. Brian Gannon