Monday, February 07, 2005

Preparations Underway 

Lord Jesus Christ, Lamb of God,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on me, a sinner.
The time is nearing when I'll join you
in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Lord, help me to reveal my sins
with an open heart and be forgiven.
Help me accept my penance
and the mystery of your presence
within the priest.

RCIA tonight is on Commandments 7, 8 and 10. Here are some questions we're to ask ourselves about Commandments 7 (Thou Shalt Not Steal), 8 (Thou Shalt not Bear False Witness) and 10 (Thou Shalt not Covet They Neighbors' Goods):

  1. Have I stolen anything?
  2. Have I damaged anyone's property through my own fault?
  3. Have I cheated or defrauded another?
  4. Have I refused or neglected to pay any debts?
  5. Have I neglected my duties or been slothful in my work?
  6. Have I refused or neglected to help anyone in urgent necessity?
  7. Have I failed to make restitution?
  8. Have I lied about anyone (calumny)?
  9. Have I rashly judged anyone of a serious sin?
  10. Have I engaged in gossip (detraction) or spread scandal?
  11. Have I lent an ear to scandal about my neighbor?
  12. Have I been jealous or envious of anyone?
I would score better on this test than I did on the sex test last week. Of course, no one is perfect. Speaking of the sex commandments, I ran across a nice article about the letters J.R.R. Tolkien used to send to his male children (Tolkien had three boys and a girl). It's good reading.

I'm starting to feel the nerves grow as Easter nears. The Rite of Sending and Rite of Election are in a couple of weeks and those of us who are baptized will have Confession/The Rite of Reconciliation soon after. I've asked several times over our RCIA class when we will learn basic things, like how to hold our hands for the Eucharist, how we are to move and bow, what to say to the priest both before and after Confession. Some of these things I can try to copy from watching others... but the only Confession I know is what they show in the movies, and they never show the end of confession, only the beginning. (In how many movies does the priest not even make it to the end of confession?). Each time I ask, the teachers say, "oh yes, we'll cover that later." Well, it's later enough for me... I found this description on my own:

To begin, the penitent kneels and, by custom, says: "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned", and may add, "It has been [time] since my last confession." The priest greets the penitent. Then crossing himself, the penitent says "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" and begins his confession.

The priest may help the penitent with an examination of conscience, perhaps by asking questions. During the confession, the priest may read Scripture passages and offer spiritual counsel.

After hearing the confession, the priest assigns a penance, and the penitent accepts the penance with the following prayer:

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishment, 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. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The priest then extends his hands in blessing over the penitent, and prays the prayer of absolution:

Prayer of Absolution
God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Well, that makes me feel like I have something with which to prepare.

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