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The Five Names of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

December 7, 2018

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Sacrament of ReconciliationConversion. Conversion is to switch from one thing to another. Jesus asks us to “Repent” (Mk 1:15), to make a metanoia, a change of heart and direction, a conscious choice to quit doing one thing and start or resume doing another. Conversion is the shift from sin to grace, evil to good, wrong to right, vice to virtue, deception to truth, darkness to light, the flesh to the spirit, indulgence to self-control, and from personal gratification to pleasing God. Conversion admits an evil deed and makes a firm commitment never to repeat it, or breaks a bad habit and replaces it with a pattern of good decisions and behaviors. It is common to say, “I am sorry for this sin,” and then commit the same sin over again, because the person prefers the sin. True conversion is not only to stop the sin, but to detest the sin, and consider it unthinkable now and in the future.

Penance. Penance is to make “satisfaction” for sins that have been committed. There is nothing “satisfying” about sin. In this context, penance is an expression of sorrow for sin, a sign of a change of heart, an attempt to make up for sin, to make right a wrong, or to repair the damage. Peter wrote, “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pt 4:8). So does almsgiving (see Tb 12:9; Sir 3:29b). The four penitential practices are prayer; fasting, self-denial, and sacrifices; almsgiving; and acts of love, charity, and service.

Reconciliation. Sin causes alienation. Trust is broken. Relationships are weakened, damaged, and sometimes shattered. Sin separates a person from God, who has been disappointed, offended, or angered; from other people, who have been harmed or misled; from the community of the Church, that has been let down, and if the sin were known, would be shocked, scandalized, upset, or saddened; and from one’s self, estranged from one’s authentic goodness, blemished, and diminished by self-inflicted wounds. Reconciliation is to reconnect what has been separated, reunite what has been apart, settle differences, heal wounds, and restore wholeness; it is to make amends, restitution, and reparation.

Confession. Confession is the disclosure of sin. We are prone to make excuses, dodge responsibility, and go easy on ourselves. Sometimes we are so mired in our sinful ruts that we become blind to our wrongdoing, grow callous and insensitive to our own sin, and fail to be honest with ourselves. The apostle John writes, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 Jn 1:8). Honesty and humility are indispensable. Each of us has greatly sinned, in thought and in word, in what we have done and what we have failed to do. Once we realize our sins, it is necessary to take them to God through a priest, confess them, contritely acknowledge and name them out loud, and humbly ask for pardon.

Forgiveness. God forgives sins. God is “gracious and merciful … slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment” (Jl 2:13). Even though our sins are scarlet, God makes them white as snow (Is 1:18b); though they be crimson red, God makes them white as wool (Is 1:18c). God wipes away our offenses, and our sins he remembers no more (Is 43:25). It is by Jesus, the Lamb of God, and the Blood that he shed on the Cross, that the sins of the world are taken away (Jn 1:29). Jesus asked his apostles to mediate his forgiveness when he instructed them, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them” (Jn 20:23). It is through the Holy Spirit that God absolves sins and grants pardon and peace. Forgiveness is an unmerited and undeserved grace granted by God out of his infinite love and mercy.

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The Wedding Rings

July 2, 2018

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Wedding RingsA Symbol of the Sacrament of Marriage

The Wedding Rings. In the rite for The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, the exchange of consent or wedding vows is first, followed by the blessing and giving of rings. The sacrament takes place with the exchange and reception of consent. The rings add beauty, represent fidelity, and signify the permanence of the union of the husband and wife. Wedding rings are the most common symbol of the Sacrament of Marriage in Christian artwork, and Mary and Joseph are frequently depicted exchanging them before a priest in a synagogue or the Temple.

The Ring Finger. After the thumb, the ring is worn on the third finger of the left hand. In prescientific times before advances in medical science and anatomy, it was commonly believed that there was a nerve or blood vessel that ran directly from the ring finger to the heart, the symbolic seat of love (Klein, P., Catholic Source Book, 425).

Circular Shape. A wedding ring is a circle without beginning or end. It goes around and never stops, thus represents something that is everlasting, eternal, or timeless. The roundness of the wedding ring means that the marriage covenant is a lifelong promise, unceasing, and continues unbroken and uninterrupted, for the rest of one’s life. It is a love that never ends (1 Cor 13:8a).

Hollow Interior. A wedding ring has an open center which can be interpreted to represent the inside of a pipe or a piece of conduit. As liquid flows through a pipe or electricity flows through wires inside a section of conduit, so a steady stream of love flows through the ring from one spouse to another. It is a channel for patience, kindness, humility, politeness, self-control, forgiveness, generosity, truthfulness, endurance, trust (1 Cor 13:4-7), compassion and gentleness (Col 3:12-13).

Tight fit. The ring is worn snuggly around the finger so it will remain in place and not slip off. It is so tight that is presses against the skin and bone and cannot slide over the knuckle by itself. The tightness represents that the husband and wife are bound tightly to each other. The pressing or restrictive nature of the tight fit also symbolizes chaste love, an intimate love that they share exclusively with each other and no one else.

Wedding Chasuble with interlocking wedding ringsInterlocking rings. One of the most common symbols of the Sacrament of Marriage is a pair of rings that are linked together with one ring intertwined with the other. It serves as a sign that the husband and wife are inseparably joined. Sometimes a cross is placed between the rings which signifies that Jesus is the center and binding force of a Christian marriage, and that they will carry their crosses together. Occasionally two whites candles are also added, one within each ring, which represent their baptismal faith which will serve as the foundation of their marriage. It also indicates their intention to complete their Sacraments of Initiation with marriage, a Sacrament of Commitment, and how their joint membership in the Body of Christ will serve as a powerful unifying force in their life together.

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What I took away from the Rediscover: event

October 17, 2013

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Father Robert Barron at the Rediscover: Catholic Celebration. (Dianne Towalski/The Catholic Spirit)

Father Robert Barron at the Rediscover: Catholic Celebration. (Dianne Towalski/The Catholic Spirit)

I left the Rediscover: event at the Saint Paul RiverCentre on Saturday with fresh encouragement to take my faith to the next level. Matthew Kelly challenged all 5,000 of us by asking whether the would be a life-changing day or just another day? “It’s up to you,” he said. “You decide.”

George Weigel urged us to take our baptism much more seriously. The world needs us, he said. “We are on a battlefield and the walking wounded are all around us.” He called this “mission territory,” and said it has never been more important that we fulfill the great commission to spread the Good News.

Father Robert Barron capped the day with practical suggestions for all us modern-day evangelists. Bringing a little notebook with me to the event, I wrote the suggestions down, and am delighted to share them here, in case you weren’t there on Oct. 12:

Lead with beauty to get to goodness and truth. Father said it is rare to win someone over with arguments about goodness or truth. Secular culture has relativized goodness and truth to the point where people have trouble agreeing on what is good and what is true. But most of us can recognize beauty. And the Church has so much beautiful music, architecture, art, etc., to share. A person might become more disposed to accepting goodness and truth if they have been prepared by common admiration of true beauty.

Don’t dumb down the faith. Father Barron said we have hurt ourselves by reducing the message of Vatican II to “banners and balloons.” Noting the rich intellectual tradition of the Church, Fr. Barron said we need smart explanations of the faith to counter the arguments against God and Church coming from the secular world, which is largely well-educated.

Preach with ‘ardor.’ That’s an easy one to understand. Who would you rather listen to: a dull speaker or an exciting speaker? Of course, we all prefer the exciting speaker. People can hear the passion in your voice; let it come through when you are talking about your faith.

Tell the great story. Explain that Jesus Christ was crucified and rose from the dead in the climactic story of the Bible. This is THE good news. All the stories in the Bible – creation, the fall, the formation of the people of Israel, the life of Christ, the early Church – are part of the Great Story. And the story doesn’t end with the Bible. We are part of the story, too! “Teach the Bible,” Father Barron said.

Emphasize the Augustinian anthropology. Father unpacked that one for us. What he means is that St. Augustine said, “Lord, you have made us for yourself, therefore our hearts are restless until it rests in Thee.” Because of the way God made us, we all have a void in our lives that only can be filled by God. We mistakenly try to fill the void with things like wealth, pleasure, power and honor, but everything leaves us wanting. This is a belief shared by some of our most famous modern-day philosophers – Mick Jagger said, “I can’t get no satisfaction;” U2 sings, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” and Bruce Springsteen has a song called “Everyone Has a Hungry Heart.”

Stress the Irenaeus doctrine of God. St. Irenaeus taught that God does not need us. This is great news because it means that God does not give us things and do things for us to get anything back from us. The only reason He does anything for us is because He loves us.

Any one of these tips can make us better evangelists. There’s a lot of work to do, so let’s get to work!

Blog author Tom Bengtson is a local small business owner and writer. You can contact Bengtson by visiting his website

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Today is Give to the Max Day! Support your favorite Catholic School or cause!

November 15, 2012

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Today is the day to potentially give your giving a little more punch.

From the GiveMN website:

Today our communities come together for 24 hours of online giving. Every donation you make during Give to the Max Day 2012 will help qualify your nonprofit or school for prize money and awards, furthering the impact of your donation.

There are several ways your donation can go further on Give to the Max Day.

Leaderboard prize grants – nonprofits which raise the most dollars will earn a spot on one of the four leaderboards. There are prize grants for each of the top 10 spots on all leaderboards. Prizes are as follows: 1st place – $12,500; 2nd place – $5,000; 3rd place – $2,500; 4th-10th place – $1,000.

Golden Tickets – One nonprofit donor and one K-12 public schools donor will be randomly chosen every hour to have $1,000 added to their donation. One nonprofit donor and one K-12 public schools donor will also be selected randomly from throughout the 24 hours of giving to have $10,000 added to their donation!

Matching grants – hundreds of nonprofits are offering a dollar-for-dollar match so you can double your donation.

Learn about the nonprofits and schools serving our area, make a donation, and watch your generosity change lives. For complete rules and prizes, click the link below.

Here’s how to find your Catholic School or organization

1) Click on this link

 

2)

 

Note: The “Find a School” button seems to apply to public schools only.

3)

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