My dear friends in Christ,
Some of the most comforting words found in Sacred Scripture are the words “Do not be afraid.” We will again here Jesus speak these words this weekend as will be proclaimed in Mark 5:21-43. These are Jesus’ words, meant to come alive for us. Fear can keep us from living our lives as God calls us and wants us to live. Free of fear, anxiety, and free of sin. We are called to replace fear with hope, anxiety with peace, and sin with grace. Quite simply, that is what I want for all of us – my family and each of you my spiritual family.
Yesterday I had the blessed opportunity to encounter Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This involves honesty in acknowledging my sins, and humility in confessing them. It is the same for all of us. After hearing the words of absolution, my sins were forgiven. I completed my penance. And as I write this little reflection, I simply feel a sense of peace, having encountered Christ in the sacrament, and received the graces that I need to try and do better. I am a work in progress. This is my new beginning as I desire to mirror and imitate Christ.
It is likely that it has been some time since you last encountered Christ’s healing and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This is your personal invitation. Confessions are heard Saturdays from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by appointment. Do not be afraid. The temporary location is in the quiet room, a more favourable location to ensure physical distancing. Care to go to another parish to have your confession heard? A different priest each day hears confessions at St. Denis Parish Monday through Friday from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Our other neighbouring parishes are another option. Do not be afraid.
Some still may not be comfortable coming to the church quite yet. Very soon, I pray. In the meantime, make a good examination of conscience followed by an act of contrition. There are a variety of Acts of Contrition:
Act of Contrition (traditional)
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.
Act of Contrition (alternate form)
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.
An Act of Contrition inspired by the Gospels
Father of mercy, like the prodigal son I return to you and say: "I have sinned against you and am no longer worthy to be called your child." Christ Jesus, Savior of the world, I pray with the repentant thief to whom you promised Paradise: "Lord, remember me in your kingdom." Holy Spirit, fountain of love, I call on you with trust: "Purify my heart, and help me to walk as a child of light."
This is what I want for all of you. Do not be afraid. Allow Christ’s abundant mercy to shower you.
May God continue to bless each of you and those that you love, and I look forward to you joining me for the celebration of Mass this weekend.
From Our Pastor