By Jerome Placido

This past week I walked into church waiting for daily mass to begin when I noticed that there were more people there than usual. Actually the entire church was filled as opposed to being less than a quarter filled, which is the usual for daily mass. Then I remembered that it was the scheduled time for that parishes special Healing Mass for this Lenten season where a visiting priest was there to celebrate the Mass then afterwards pray over individuals who had some sort of sickness, injury or any other ailment.

As I stood there in the back, because there was no where left to sit, I reflected on this whole “healing” that people expected to happen. I suppose I’m a little cautious when it comes to these things and I do reserve myself a little bit more when it comes to having someone pray over me for healing. But then again I do not doubt at all that there are those given by God with the gift of healing as is the case with Fr. Fernando Suarez (if you’ve ever heard of him).

Then I was moved by the thought that there is a much more silent killer, a more subtle ailment, which all are vulnerable to but are unaware of. It is the sickness of sin that stains the soul and ruptures our relationship with God. More than a healing of physical afflictions we all need healing on a more spiritual level. Whoever we are, where ever we’ve been or haven’t been, in the light of Christ we can see the spots and cracks of our very souls and must realize that we need to approach Him to be healed.

Whether it’s healing from the sickness of anger that maybe we’ve inherited from our parents our learned as a “self defense” mechanism from hard times in the past or maybe healing from a brokenness of some type of substance abuse, alcohol or drugs. Let’s not forget lust, sloth, pride, and the rest which are spread wide and far by men and by the devil. The problem is that most don’t even see these as something negative, or serious, which makes it all the more deadly. But truth is that we more than just sprain or bruise the spirit, but we paralyze our souls and create our own wall separating ourselves from God’s Grace which is the very life of our souls.

It’s not hard to know what we suffer from. Actually for the most part we know our own predominant vices, those bad habits which we can’t seem to kick. But it’s not enough to have a general idea on what ails us, that’s why it’s a good idea to regularly examine ones conscience. In the Ignatian Exercise (look it up if you have to) it states even twice a day is a good practice when it comes to examining ones conscience. Basically we ask ourselves, “How do I stand in my relationship with God?” For this we might need a little help, and there are plenty of resources online and in our local parishes, but here’s one link I found handy

So what happens now? This is where most people, including myself, get stuck. For one reason or another we see the problem but don’t see or approach the solution. What is the solution? Well for afflictions of the soul let us consult the Divine Doctor whose image and likeness we were molded in. We can resort to simple things like sacramentals (i.e. rosary, devotional prayers, medals, images, etc.) but our best bet, especially if that particular ailment is mortal sin (meaning an act of grave matter done with full knowledge and full consent), is the sacrament of Confession. In confession it is Christ Himself who embraces and envelops us with His mercy and healing grace.

The Church teaches that its members should avail to Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once a year, but that is not a maximum despite the practices and opinions of many. In fact the truth is many don’t go to confession for years which is both sad and dangerous. The great saints didn’t weren’t always perfect, where did they obtain the grace to reach such tremendo us heights of sanctity? Confession is one essential element of that equation.

How often must one go? Well let’s look at it realistically. For as long the soul is stained with mortal sin “it causes exclusion for Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell…” (CCC 1861). Basically mortal sin, even one, is enough or the soul to lose Heaven. The means which Our Lord gave us to free ourselves from this is the Sacrament of Reconciliation and we should run to it when we have knowingly and willingly offended God gravely.

But what if it’s not mortal sin? Then its venial sin, which means one of three elements which make sin mortal is not present. Now I know and have heard personally much of the complaints or concerns about frequent confession especially when it comes to confessing venial sin so let’s quote directly the teaching of the Magesterium because we know with them we cannot go wrong.

In 1943, Pope Pius XII wrote:

"As you well know, venerable brethren, it is true that venial sins may be expiated in many ways that are to be highly commended. 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 self-knowledge is increased, Christian humility grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted, the conscience is purified, the will strengthened, a salutary self-control is attained, and grace is increased in virtue of the sacrament itself" (Mystici Corporis 88).

St. Thomas Aquinas and many other saints practiced daily confession. I know many today who do the same. But this must be done with caution lest we begin to become scrupulous or begin to take the beauty and grace of the sacrament for granted. It would be best to find a good spiritual director or regular confessor and ask him whether or not this is something worth trying.

We have the problems but God has always been and will always be the solution. It’s both an act of faith and humility when we approach God in this sacrament where he is more than ready to let his mercy pour out upon all His children willing to accept it. Great saints weren’t born holy or perfect, most of them had their fair share of time in the confessional. In reality it’s in the confessional where the saints truly had their beginnings.

(I didn’t get into many of the smaller details of confession but here are a few more helpful sites about the sacrament of confession)

1 comment:

  1. I don't know who wrote this, but it is spot on. Sacramental healing is so special. It is both internal and external. I know, it works for me. Finally, you want to be healthy? Participate in the Holy Mass as often as you can. You'll be healthy, strong and in good shape to live life to its fullest.
    Paul Dion, Theology Editor,