On the Advantages of Frequent Confession.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Advantages of Frequent Confession.
It was an immense favor, an unspeakable benefit which Christ conferred on mankind when He imparted to the apostles the power of remission of sin. But what does it avail for a spring to possess medicinal and healing qualities of the highest order, if the sick man holds aloof from it? Of what use is it for the physician to be acquainted with the most potent remedies if the patient refuses to take any of them? Represent to yourself the state of one who is spiritually sick, an unhappy sinner, who does not approach the Sacrament of Penance, who postpones from day to day the reception of the sacraments; and in order that you may be deterred from acting in like manner, that you may on the contrary be encouraged to go frequently to confession, let us proceed to consider the advantages to be obtained by so doing.
1st. Consider how much the sinner loses by not going to confession for a long time. Without the grace of God, which he continually neglects to seek and obtain in the Sacrament of Penance, all his acts of virtue, all his good works are dead; they are without merit for life eternal, they are unpleasing in God’s sight and unworthy of His acceptance. Besides this, all the other good works he may have performed at an earlier period of his career are fruitless. Even supposing a man to have led for the space of fifty years a life of exceptional sanctity in the practice of daily self-denial and mortification, all this would avail him nothing if he falls into and continues in mortal sin, and finally dies in it, without having delivered himself out of that fatal state of bondage by confession and penance, already too long deferred. Think with what promptitude people will take measures to avoid being hindered or prevented by ill-health from earning their bread or making their accustomed temporal gains; but in this case, where a far more important and considerable loss is at stake, what supreme indifference to the danger is displayed! Meditate upon this, my soul, and endeavor to realize what it actually is to go about for weeks, nay, months like a criminal condemned to death, a soul doomed to hell fire; when perhaps only a single second of time is needed—you might at any moment be carried off by a stroke—for the sentence of eternal damnation to be executed.
2d. Consider the spiritual danger of the sinner who neglects confession. If you were attacked by a fever, or by inflammation, the malady would continually become worse, the danger more imminent, the longer you postponed taking the remedies necessary for your cure. Nay, even a slight attack of inflammation—observe this, you who are inclined to make light of venial sin—will if neglected endanger life and ultimately perhaps prove fatal. So it is in the supernatural order. He who is spiritually sick, who, that is, holds aloof from the tribunal of penance, exposes himself, as St. Thomas of Villanova says, to the risk of gradually breaking through the restraints imposed by reason and the fear of God, and committing more grievous sins without fear or compunction. This is only too true; who so persists in venial sin sinks almost imperceptibly into a very dangerous state, that of tepidity, the customary forerunner of mortal sin. Ponder this, my soul, and acknowledge with all candor, has there not always been a marked retrogression in your spiritual life when you have not been to confession for a long time; and whenever you have fallen into grave sin has it not always been after not having been to confession in a long time?
3d. Hence we learn how great are the advantages of frequent confession. “Confess your faults frequently,” says one of the saints, “and you will experience a new impetus given to your spiritual life; you will feel the firm confidence in God, the alleviation of conscience, the renewal of the whole inner man, the power to resist temptation, the facility in the performance of good works, the lightheartedness and spiritual joy which are the result and the reward of frequent confession.” And although you may be in a state of grace, and have only venial sins whereof to accuse yourself, yet go to confession frequently, even though you find it a disagreeable task. It is true that nature in the summer time is always beautiful in itself, but how much more fair, how much fresher, how much more fragrant is the face of the earth after a sharp shower, although for the moment the shower is unwelcome and inconvenient. Now frequent confession is like a refreshing shower to the soul, unpleasant at the time, but most agreeable in its after effect.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
April Devotion: The Holy Ghost
Virtue to practice: Patience
Vexilla Regis prodeunt
The royal banners forward go;
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where Life for sinners death endured,
And life by death for man procured.
Where deep for us the spear was dyed,
Life’s torrent rushing from His side,
To wash us in that precious flood
Where mingled, Water flowed, and Blood.
Fulfilled is all that David told
In true prophetic song of old;
‘Amidst the nations, God,’ saith he,
‘Hath reigned and triumphed from the Tree.’
O Tree of beauty! Tree of light!
O Tree with royal purple dight!
Elect on whose triumphal breast
Those holy Limbs should find their rest.
On whose dear arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung:
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
O Cross, our one reliance, hail,
Thou glory of the saved, avail*
To give fresh merit to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.
To Thee, Eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done;
Whom by the Cross Thou dost restore,
Preserve and govern evermore. Amen.
Vexilla Regis pródeunt,
Fulget Crucis mystérium,
Qua vita mortem pértulit,
Et morte vitam prótulit.
Quæ vulneráta lánceæ
Mucróne diro, críminum
Ut nos laváret sórdibus,
Manávit unda et sánguine.
Impléta sunt quæ cóncinit
David fidéli cármine,
Regnávit a ligno Deus.
Arbor decóra et fúlgida,
Ornáta regis púrpura,
Elécta digno stípite
Tam sancta membra tángere.
Beáta, cuius bráchiis
Prétium pepéndit sæculi,
Statéra facta córporis,
Tulítque prædam tártari.
O Crux, ave, spes única,
Gentis redémptæ glória!*
Piis adáuge grátiam,
Reísque dele crímina.
Te, fons salútis, Trínitas,
Colláudet omnis spíritus:
Quibus Cricis victóriam
Largíris, adde præmium. Amen.
(ex. Breviario Romano)
*Instead of: ‘Thou Glory of the saved,’ during Passiontide, say: ‘This Holy Passiontide‘, during the Paschal Season: ‘Thou joy of Eastertide‘, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: ‘On this triumphant day.‘
An indulgence of 5 years.
A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this hymn throughout an entire month (S.C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S.P.Ap., April 29, 1934).
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