We begin the First Sunday of Lent with the story of the creation and fall of man. We are told that man was created out of clay, and then God "blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being."
I am reminded of the story of the little boy who crawled out from under his parents' bed and asked his mother, "Mom, is it true that we were created out of dust and that we will return to dust?" and his mother said, "Yes, that is true." The boy replied, "Then under your bed there must be somebody either going or coming!"
Growing up, I remember Mother Angelica on EWTN commenting to callers who had been away from the sacrament of reconciliation or were afraid to go that they would feel so good afterward, that they should go out and buy a pizza. Such a comment came from a heart that had approached the sacrament and found peace in the deep mercy of God.
VATICAN CITY -- As Catholics are encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their lives during Lent, Pope Francis offered some quick tips to help people prepare for the sacrament of penance.
After a brief explanation of why people should go to confession -- "because we are all sinners" -- the pope listed 30 key questions to reflect on as part of making an examination of conscience and being able to "confess well."
It is the key to unleashing the new evangelization. It is essential to carrying out the Gospel mission. What is the key? It is the confessional.
You might have expected me to say the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. That is true.
But I would posit that priests already carry out this part of their ministry with great faithfulness and devotion. My own parish has four Sunday Masses, daily Mass Monday through Saturday and numerous other Masses throughout the year.
And they come. People show up at every Mass.
The Gospels give abundant witness to Jesus' desire and ability to heal those in need. In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, Jesus' public ministry begins with acts of healing. Whether of an unclean spirit, of an ailing body, or both at once, healing isn't just one among many aspects of Jesus' mission -- it's the fundamental pattern behind his every word and deed.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Diocese of Baton Rouge has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a Louisiana Supreme Court decision that stated the court may attempt to compel a priest to testify as to what he heard in the confessional in 2008 concerning an abuse case.
The legal step is the latest in a case involving Father Jeffrey Bayhi, pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Zachary, Louisiana, and the sanctity of the seal of confession.