The Real Meaning of Penance

Posted by on Dec 5, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

John the Baptist said: “Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2) A footnote in the Bible says: “Penance: Which word, according to the use of the scriptures and the holy fathers, does not only signify repentance and amendment of life, but also punishing past sins by fasting, and such like penitential exercises.”

Dear friends,

Before we consider the above, We would like to remind everyone that Saturday, December 7th is the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception, a day of fast and partial abstinence. Wednesday, December 18, is Ember Wednesday with the customary fasting and partial abstinence. Friday and Saturday (20 and 21) of that week are also Ember Days with the Customary fasting. Abstinence is full on Fridays as it is on all Fridays, and partial on Saturday.

Penance here consists of three things. The first is repentance of our sins, which is a good things to remember in this penitential season of Advent. And so repent of your sins and confess them to a priest sent from God. The next essential step is amendment of our life. The Fathers of the Church tell us that conversion is a complete change of customs and habits. Go now and sin no more, Jesus advised two different people in the Gospels.

Once we have repented and asked God to help us change our customs and habits in order to amend our life, then we are ready to undertake penitential exercises. These go beyond the weak fast laws of today and should be tailored to bring our body into subjection. (I Corinthians 9:27)

When we read the word penance let us remember what it truly means.

Have a Blessed Advent,

+Michael pp

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The Majority Is Always Wrong

Posted by on Nov 15, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

In Numbers, chapter 13, we find that the Israelites came to Kadesh Barnea at the border of Canaan – the land that God had promised them. It was now two years since they left Egypt (Deuteronomy 2:14) and God told them to go in and posses the land. The Israelites sent twelve spies to survey the land. All twelve of them came back saying that the land was indeed a wonderful land. Ten of them however said, “But there are huge giants there and we cannot conquer them.” But two of them – Caleb and Joshua – replied saying, “The Lord will help us to conquer those big giants”. But the 600,000 Israelites listened to the majority.

What do we learn from this? First of all, that it is dangerous to follow the majority – because the majority is invariably wrong. “The way to life is narrow and very few find it,” Jesus said. The majority still go on the broad way to destruction. So if you follow the majority you may find yourself with them on the broad way to destruction. Don’t ever imagine that a large Parish is necessarily a sign of a spiritual Parish.

When ten leaders say one thing and two say the exact opposite, whose side will you take? God was on the side of the two here – Joshua and Caleb. Unbelief and Satan were on the side of the other ten. But the Israelites foolishly followed the majority – and that was why they had to wander in the wilderness for the next 38 years. They did not have the discernment to see whose side God was on! God and one person are always a majority – and that is where I want to stand always. We find in Exodus 32 that God is on the side of just one man Moses, when all the Israelites were worshipping the golden calf. But of all the twelve tribes, only the tribe of Levi could see that then. And now when God was with Joshua and Caleb, even the tribe of Levi could not recognize it!

All of this has lessons for us today. Catholicism in general is full of compromise and worldliness. Here and there, God raises up a few who stand for the truth of God’s word without any compromise. If you have discernment you will recognize that God is with those few, and you will stand with them against the majority. You will enter the promise land with them.

How do you identify the man with whom God is standing? He speaks the language of faith. Joshua and Caleb spoke the language of faith: “We can overcome.” We can overcome the giants of anger, sexual lust, jealousy, murmuring etc., we can overcome Satan. God will crush him under our feet. That is the language of the man with whom God stands. The man who is not with God says: “We must not take the Bible so literally, We must understand that the Apostles lived in a different time and did not understand things the way we do now.” “We have evolved since then.” What once was sin, those with in the Church are saying that it is not a sin anymore.

Many Christians go astray exactly like those Israelites- through human reasoning. God has hidden these things from the clever and the intelligent and revealed them to babes. If you use your human reasoning and your cleverness and your intelligence to study theology, I can guarantee that you will go astray. You need the revelation of the Holy Ghost. That’s why Jesus picked fishermen to be His disciples, and not professors like Gamaliel and his students. He did pick one of the students later – St. Paul. But the Lord had to take him into the desert for three years to bring all his pride to nothing before Paul could get revelation.

God was so angry with those Israelites who doubted His power that He told them “But yet all the men that have seen my majesty, and the signs that I have done in Egypt, and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now ten times, and have not obeyed my voice, Shall not see the land for which I [swore to give] to their fathers, neither shall any one of them that hath [provoked and despised] me behold it.” (Numbers 14:22). “Ten times” was not an exaggeration. They had actually rebelled ten times. God gave them nine chances. They took advantage of His forgiveness – just like many Christians do today – not realizing that the ninth chance was their last. God’s patience had run out and they were punished when the rebelled the tenth time. There was no way to go back then. They repented when they heard their punishment and asked for one more chance. But it was too late (Numbers 14:39-45). Many will also find one day that repentance also has a limit.

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What Are We Neglecting?

Posted by on Oct 14, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Yesterday we read: “This story also teaches us that we have to slay the enemies in our private life first, before we can face Goliath publicly.”

Two days before Father Francis Dominic wrote: “And let it start with in ourselves. Let us focus on the ungodly things that are in our own lives. If you think you have nothing ungodly in your life that needs to be dealt with, then you are part of the problem. If you think your sin is not what is causing the ungodly state of the Church and this country, then you are being deceived.”

And so the first proposition is that I AM PART OF THE PROBLEM. Rather than ask: “am I doing something wrong,” let us start with the premise that I AM DOING SOMETHING WRONG. Let us examine our conscience very carefully as God’s people did so many centuries ago.

As we read Nehemias, we find that the people ask the law to be read to them, and then examined their own conscience. Then they repented of their sin and began doing what they had been neglecting. Once prompted, they did all on their own accord. And this is the first thing we are neglecting, getting serious about our sinful lives. Yes, we are sinners, and we are not where God wants us to be. Take this to heart and consider it well.

When we read of the miserable state Jerusalem was in at this time, we think on the state of the Church, which has been neglected and abandoned and left to fall into utter ruin. We salve ourselves with Jesus Christ’s promises to the Church that she will not fail, while doing nothing to help Jesus keep this promise. He did not build the Church alone, but with the Apostles, Disciples and the rest of the hundred and twenty faithful, who the Holy Ghost augmented with three thousand on Pentecost.

Jesus is looking to each and every one of us to get up off of our back-side and become active in the Church. Father Francis Dominic has given us step one, repent of our sins.

Ask yourself the question, “What does God want me to do?” And then consider, have you asked your superiors in the Church this question? God speaks to us through the superiors He has appointed over us.

And so, let us pray and repent of our sins. Then let us heed the advice to do penance for our sins. Let us also heed Jesus’ advice to two different people: “Go now and sin no more.” Then let us sincerely ask God: “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6)


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