Well here it is almost Spring, which means we are in Lent. March is in like a mangy old lion today in Belleville. This year I feel tempted to say, like Luther, I don’t need to say the Confiteor any more, I don’t need to say another Act of Contrition, and I don’t need to go to Confession again; haven’t I been sorry enough for my sins, most of them: long forgotten, and forgiven, if they were mortal, and doesn’t God understand if my sins are venial.
But then I am reminded that part of the great discipline of the Catholic Church is the sacrament of Reconciliation and if we are truly sorry for our sins we don’t stop being sorry that we have sinned. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel forgiven, that we don’t forgive others and ourselves, or that we don’t let the past go. It doesn’t hurt this season of renewal to bring to mind our sins in the Penitent rite, or say an extra Act of Contrition.
And I have had brought to my attention that simple acts of mercy and little ways of charitable deeds are all part of almsgiving. Like Ruth, who didn’t have much, except herself to offer Naomi , also we are now leaving our old world behind and living forever with a new people. This is the Church militant, until we either join the Church suffering, or the Church triumphant. We are being refined as silver, which has to be through the refiner’s fire twelve times, before it is pure. It isn’t one trip to the altar and then it’s just me and Jesus against the world that does the trick.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t depend solely on the Lord. We don’t depend solely on the Bible, but on the teachings of the Church, Sacred tradition, the authority of the Magisterium, and the Pope. It doesn’t negate the Word of God, the Truth, which Sacred Scripture is. We don’t depend solely on our Faith to save. James said it: Faith without works is dead; and we don’t suggest, as Luther did, just throw his book away, not to be in the Bible. However we do depend solely on the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for grace, mercy, and the strength to obtain salvation, a gift of God, through Faith, not by our works, but proven by them.
So God strengthens us; during Lent: by mortifications, Penance, to make Acts of Charity, fast and pray. It is only through much fasting and prayer, can some healings or some miracles take place, according to Jesus. Then we can get rid of the demons of the past, commend demons to the place prepared for them; avoid being put in a place ourselves where we are still asleep in the Lord and still need more purification, which we have called Purgatory. Then we can defeat the Demon, as the Lord who reminded the Devil: man does not live by bread alone, but every Word, that comes from the mouth of God. Then we can live in the presence of the Lord, with the Saints, in Glory. Then we can walk and talk with the Lord face to face, even before he comes again in glory himself.