Monday, March 10, 2003

Sermon (Catholic)
[adapted from Secrets of the Eucharist by Michael H. Brown]

During Lent, as we look inwardly, as we purify, and as we wait for the
ultimate sacrifice of Our Lord, it's good to realize that it's through
His radiance -- the fire of Jesus -- that our sins are burned away.
The Lord purifies with heavenly flames that issue out of His Heart.
They come from the furnace of His love. Our evil is evaporated in the
Presence of Christ and is especially dispelled through Confession.

Confession prepares the way for the Eucharist and breaks the bonds of
Satan. In verbally admitting our faults we are declaring a humility
that immediately chases away the devil. He can not stand to be in our
midst. He is the prince of pride. He cannot bear to stand in the
presence of humility. He is powerless when a person is humble. He has
no legal right to hold terrain.

When we confess sins we are renouncing sins, which means we are
renouncing the devil. When we renounce the devil in the Name of Jesus,
He has no choice but to leave. His chains are broken. His hold on our
hearts and minds is lessened or expelled altogether.

During Communion, demonic infestations are often chased from our very
bodies, or from around our families and friends.

The stronger a Confession, the more demonic residue is cleared.

The more demons that are expelled, the more peace.

That's why I always emphasize that before receiving Communion we
should pray to the Holy Spirit to reveal any hidden faults we have
never acknowledged and then take these to the confessional.

A good time for such soul searching is during Adoration. We should ask
the Holy Spirit to allow us expiation of the slightest sins.

Go back to Scripture and note the many things that are listed by Paul
as infractions, things we don't usually take to be of much
consequence. Jealousy. Outbursts of anger. Selfishness. They're listed
in Galatians with lewd conduct and sorcery (5:19-21)!

After we recollect all past transgressions -- after we pray to heal
all those we have ever hurt -- we must maintain vigilance against
repeating them. Confession should be a monthly ritual to keep
ourselves pure, because when we are pure -- when Christ has deigned to
wipe clear the slate of those many sins -- Communion and Adoration
become all the more potent. They take on a special radiance. They
sweep to the very bottom of existence and purge faults that will
otherwise cause a long purgatory.

There is nothing more enjoyable than the feeling of a spiritual
cleanliness -- nor is there anything more important for the soul's
destiny. At least once a year, during Lent, we should prepare a
special Confession and search for hidden faults that we have not
previously realized. When we finally recognize that we've been doing
something offensive to God -- when we confess a sin that we had
previously failed to notice -- we are graced with inner peace.

That peace comes through liberation from past bondages. Communion
becomes a powerful tool of deliverance. It's like the Lord snipping a
rope that had been tying up a part of us. There's a feeling of
strength and cleanliness. There's liberation. As Jesus said, "If you
live according to My teaching, you are truly My disciples; then you
will know the truth and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32).

[resources: How to Make a Good Confession, The Real Presence of Christ
in the Eucharist, Pieta Prayer Book, The Four Last Things, Visits to
the Blessed Sacrament, Confession: Its Fruitful Practice, The Seven
Capital Sins

Priest’s words from the service for Confession in the Russian Orthodox Church
Behold, my child, Christ stands here invisibly receiving your confession. Do not be ashamed and do not fear, and do not withhold anything from me; but without doubt tell all you have done and receive forgiveness from the Lord Jesus Christ. Lo, His holy image is before us, and I am only a witness, bearing testimony before Him of all things which you say to me. But if you conceal anything from me, you shall have the greater sin. Take heed, therefore, lest having come to the physician, you depart unhealed.

Absolution: May Our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, through the grace and bounties of His love towards mankind, forgive you, my Child [Name] all your transgressions. And I, an unworthy Priest, through the power given me by Him, forgive and absolve you from all yours sins + in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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