PART 2|So Much for the Church Enthusiasm over the Sacraments


I wasn't planning to have a second part on this issue.  But I just woke up invaded with the train of thoughts on this topic that no  matter which side of the bed I turn to, the thoughts just kept on going.  And I knew right then that the only way to stop that train is to put it into writing.  As usual.

So, who rode that train?

Thought 1 rode that train.  And it was asking "So why do you think more and more people shy away from receiving the sacraments now?"

Passenger 2 voiced out "Talk about me, I represent Confession."

Passenger 3,4 and 5 in chorus "Well, we've got something to say too you know, representing Communion, Confirmation and Matrimony."

Went back to Confession topic.

In some of the confession boxes, inside where you kneel, you will find this post:

   O my God, I am heartily sorry for
            having offended you, and I detest
            all my sins, because of Your just
            punishments, but most of all because
            they offend You, my God, who are
            all-good and deserving of all my love.
            I firmly resolve, with the help of
            Your grace, to sin no more and to
            avoid the near occasion of sin.

(Modern version}

  My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
                  In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
                  I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.
                  I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more,
                  and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
                  Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.
                  In His name, my God, have mercy.
                  Amen.

which you will be then asked to recite before the confessor priest gives you the absolution.

No real issue here for someone with a vow to become a saint who just happened to have committed a sin that needs to be confessed.

But the issue is with the struggling soul who has little thoughts in becoming a saint but just wanna take baby steps one at a time to have a clean soul.  The thought of going to the confession box is difficult as it is already.  How much more making the person promise anything after confession?

It is that dreaded promise that pushes away sinners from going to confession.  They experience being subjected to the same tests again and again even after confession, same weaknesses over and over again and they just rely on God's help that they will surpass the trials again when it does present itself again.  Its that faith that keeps them going.  Only that faith.  And IT BRINGS GUILT to them to think that they will make a promise directly to God and yet break them.  So they rather not make a promise.
And for those who have experienced being made to promise first before the absolution, these are the souls who find most difficulty coming back knowing they have broken the promise they made before. Again.

I myself change some of those heavy words when I go to confession.  I say I will try my best to avoid them.  No mention of not sinning again.  No promises.  I just keep things in my heart.  And it works!   Its like its doable.  And I am indeed strengthened avoiding the same sins after.  Without any guilt of having broken any promise.

But to say I will sin no more?  How can I be sure?  And saying 'with the help of God's grace' makes it even more difficult because if I still get to commit that same sin, it will make me feel like 'What happened to God's grace"?  It's like, its more confusing to my soul.  

I know the hard-core catholics can always come up with logical explanation and all sorts of justification but what the hell?  Sinners want to come back! You gotta make it easier for them!  Just make it simple! 

Train Passenger 2 continues, "After the sinner confesses, that's the time you should teach the basic cathecism.  Because that's when it matters most to that sinner.  The grace that confession gives, the effect of confessing,  These things have to be reminded each time that sinner comes into that box because that will strengthen that sinner in more ways than the priest will know.  Stop reasoning out why the sinner shouldn't have done that sin or even make the sinner more guilty, just cathecize.  Give him the basics.  That's all he needs from that box."

I still recall when I have confessed a big-time sin a loooong time ago in a confession box when, after having heartfully confessed, the confessor priest surprisingly said in a bit impactful tone "What do you mean you didn't mean to do it?!" I was tempted to answer back "Uhhhm....that's how temptation works, Fr.....it makes you do things you don't wanna do at first..."   But I held back.  I recalled having a heavier feeling after leaving that confession! Heavier than before I entered it.

Unbelievable.  But thank God, now, recalling it just makes me smirk, ha!


For the sinner to return to the confession box, you have to make it simple.  The guilt is already too much to bear for the sinner.  Why add some more guilt?  Why complicate it some more?

On the other hand, I have experienced a confession where after having said a heavy sin, the priest just gave the absolution and nothing more.  That's when I said, "awww, this priest just wants to get things done" Not bad at all.  But thinking about it now, maybe he didn't care at all or may he's really just in a hurry.  It would have been better if there would be just some basic reminder that the confession priests are always there welcoming them if they failed again, just in case. Or something to that effect.  Because I honestly think, encouragement to come back is important to the confessing soul, be it a trivial or mortal sin.

Train Passenger 2 went on saying "But I have to commend the Church for introducing mass confession.  That's a good job I must say."

Train Passenger 3 voiced out "Ok, my turn.  Let's talk about the Holy Sacrament of Communion."

There are just some sins that are so heavy that receiving the communion will just make a soul more miserable.  That's a basic.  But then, now what?  The sinner needs the presence of God all the more, does he not?  And that's where the Adoration Room comes in.

But nowadays, the promotion of the Holy Eucharist is concentrated only on the receiving.  Moreover, during Corpus Christi feast.  How limited the scope can be! How much more will you limit it, my dear ones?

The sinner needs the Lord.  You have to remind the sinner again and again that he can go to that Adoration room where he can receive from the Lord the same grace from the communion. At the end of every Mass, instead of reading the contributions or activities of your parishioners, more than that, promote the Lord present in the Adoration Chapel.  Tirelessly.  Each and every time.  Sinners need that.  That's what you are there for.  To remind them that the Lord is there for them, in an intimate way.

Instead of shutting the Adoration Chapel down because of some hours not manned, why not just be focused waiting and welcoming that one sinner wanting to be with Him in a day?  You brag about the  passage in the Bible "Can't you not watch with Me for an hour?" and makes it the basis of shutting some Adoration chapels down and yet overlook the more important passage about the Lost Sheep, "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

Again, the hard-core religious can best argue with "but the Lord's presence can also be found in the community".  And so I say again "Why complicate things for the sinner?"

The sinner needs an intimate approach with the Lord, more than any one else.  Why make it harder for him to be with Him?

I find this writing long already.  I feel stopping right at this point.  But train passengers 4 and 5 are making noises now in my head.  Like, screaming.
Oh my, just when I thought the train has got just 5 passengers, here comes Passenger 6 come jumping in..."Wait up, I've got something to say too! I represent Anointing of the Sick"

So, ok. Fine. Where were we?

Confirmation.

Back in the days, confirmation is given on the same day baptism is made. Later on, confirmation is delayed until the recipient is grown up and is fully aware of what he is receiving.

The grace that Confirmation gives is equally as important as the others.  It is where you become a soldier of Christ. And the moment that sacrament is conferred to the recipient, that grace becomes effective.  

Just as 1st Communion is facilitated by the schools, so must Confirmation be.  Many of the supposed 'soldiers' of Christ don't become one because there's just too much distractions now from even availing of the sacrament.  Some would even conduct it only on specific church occassions. And with you relying on the recipient's voluntary application for the sacrament, it just doesn't happen much now, does it?  

My brother got confirmed on the same day he was about to get married.  He could have received the grace a looooong time ago right after communion, maybe? Just because it's a requirement for marriage, he availed of it.  What if it wasn't a requirement then? 

How can one be so sure that in the later time, that baptized soul won't get distracted from wanting to get the Sacrament of Confirmation?  Why risk it? And yet we wonder why so many souls don't stand up for what is right!  Promote Confirmation tirelessly and you'll see an ocean of soldiers of Christ fighting fiercely!

 Don't put the Sacrament of  Confirmation to chance.  Give it right after the First Communion for the soul is then fully ready to receive it.  Don't risk the soul to chance. 
a

Train Passenger 5 now sighing.  Deep breathe.  "Now, my turn."

Matrimony.

Getting married? Easy.  Getting out of marriage? Difficult.

No problem with the latter.  But a big problem with the other one.

Train Passenger 5 continues "And I hope its not because its easier that way for the leaders."

The application for marriage is just a walk in the park. Papers, papers.  Some seminars also.

SOME SEMINARS.  Like the applicants haven't heard of the topics yet.  They don't need those!

What they need is a real guidance.  A painful hard work from you. A real background check on their history as to why they are actually asking for the sacrament and not just merely relying on your question-and-answer paper for the applicants.  And the hurting and truthful reason why the Sacrament has to be temporarily denied if it has to.  Some would say this would make things more difficult to get married, but then you may say, 'Yes, it is meant to make getting married for just a short time more difficult but make it lot easier to make marriage last a lifetime.'

If this will be applied, there is no chance that I could have gotten married right after dating a guy in just 3 months.

If you don't change the system right now, those clamoring for divorce will be justified.  And its not just them to blame for the failure of marriage.  You are part of it.

You boast of being able to use technology to propagate the Word and yet you fail to use it to protect the sacrament.  Why don't you create a centralized database for those who have already availed of the sacrament so that second-time church marriage without annulment can be avoided?  Or are you even aware that posing banns doesn't work anymore?

You will only get back the confidence to defend the Sacrament of Marriage against Divorce if you exert more effort in guiding those souls seeking the sacrament and having the courage to temporarily deny them instead of granting it so easily in your own convenience.

This is to tiring now.  Train Passenger 6 better make this short.

Anointing of the Sick.

This sacrament should be seriously promoted.  Not limited to the dying but literally to the sick.  That is how you combat the proliferation of faith healers in the country sides amidst modernized society.  Even in school cathecism, a little is being said about this.  Much less being  practiced.

In my nursing school, we were taught to promote health teachings to those in the rural to help them move out from patronizing faith healing and try the health centers instead.  But now, I realize that faith healing can only be countered by something related to faith also, not science. And this is where the Sacrament Anointing of the Sick comes in.

Some of the sick turn to faith healers because they believe in it.  Some do because they think that's their only option.  It is your responsibility to promote the sacrament as the other option and erase the thinking that it is only for the dying.

Train Passenger 1 finally ended the discussion, "That's what the priests are really needed for at this point in time.  Now that so many of you keep talking everytime, everywhere, every which ever way you can, the priests cannot be just like that.  The actions are so badly needed more than ever."

"By the way, the  Sacrament of  Baptism didn't have to ride this train. Maybe some other train.",)


Finally!!! Now I can rest my mind.

 

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