I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Goal of Lent: Make humble confession and experience God's love

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

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 came crawling 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!"

POPE'S MESSAGE |Go directly to confession, don't wait

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish on the outskirts of Rome Feb. 16.

VATICAN CITY -- If you haven't been to confession recently, don't wait, Pope Francis told people at his weekly general audience. One may walk into the confessional with a heavy heart, but forgiveness brings freedom and lightness.

"If a lot of time has passed, don't lose even one more day. Go," the pope said Feb. 19, promising that "the priest will be good. Jesus will be there and He's even nicer than the priest."

"Be courageous. Go to confession," the pope told an estimated 20,000 people at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.

POPE'S MESSAGE | Sacrament of confession gives the certainty of forgiveness

Pope Francis held up a box of “spiritual medicine” after praying the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Nov. 17. The pope said the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet are “a spiritual aid for our soul and for spreading love, forgiveness and brotherhood to everyone.”

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis said he goes to confession every two weeks, knowing that God never tires of forgiving those who repent, but also knowing that having a priest say "I absolve you" reinforces belief in God's mercy.

Using the literal Italian translation of a Spanish saying, "It's better to turn red once than yellow a thousand times," Pope Francis said he knows some people are embarrassed to confess their sins to a priest, but it is the best path to spiritual healing and health.

POPE'S MESSAGE | Confession renews grace of baptism

Pope Francis greeted a disabled person during a meeting with UNITALSI, an Italian Catholic association for the transportation of sick people to Lourdes and other Marian shrines, in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Nov. 9.

VATICAN CITY -- With baptism, Christians are cleansed of sin, but the sacrament doesn't wash away human weakness nor the obligation to ask forgiveness when they make mistakes, Pope Francis said.

Baptism is "God's powerful intervention in our lives to save us. This saving intervention of God doesn't remove our human nature and weakness; we are all weak and we are all sinners. And baptism doesn't remove our responsibility to ask forgiveness every time we err," the pope said Nov. 13 during his weekly general audience.

DEAR FATHER | Confession is integral to spiritual direction

Msgr. Matthew Mitas

The friend who made you that recommendation is a true friend, for he has the welfare of your soul in mind! Confession and spiritual direction are, indeed, two separate things, but they do overlap. By that I mean that a good session of spiritual direction should always end with a good confession, since confession is the best remedy for the soul.

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