sacraments

DEAR FATHER | Hope is virtue that transforms our understanding of unbaptized babies, heaven

I love my mother. She is a great, holy woman. But whenever she calls me, her first question is, "Where are you?"

When I was a bit younger, this question could make me a bit nervous. But now I understand her question had two meanings. First, it's the natural curiosity of a mother. Second, she wanted to be present with me in her thoughts and prayers in whatever I was doing at that moment.

DEAR FATHER | Act of Contrition gets to the heart of confession

Is confession valid if the priest doesn't hear your Act of Contrition? 

We might remember being told as we grew up that we need to apologize to someone for something we did. Out of personal pride or perhaps anger at what they did to us, our apology was halfhearted at best. We said we were sorry, but in our heart we really weren't, and the way we said our apology most likely reflected our state of mind and heart.

DEAR FATHER | Examples of baptism of desire show more than one way to receive graces

Jesus tells Nicodemus at the beginning of St. John's Gospel, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (John 3:5).

DEAR FATHER | Confession should drain the wound caused by sin

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.

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.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Sacraments strengthen us in faith

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson led a Benediction service for the boys at St. Louis Priory School. During the homily, the archbishop spoke of the importance of establishing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ while they are studying at the school, so that they may bring the fruits of that relationship into the world as they grow.

Last week I wrote about the relationship between individual believers and the community of faith, the Church. We Catholics believe you can't have one without the other. My faith is deeply personal, but it is not private. My faith was given to me by God and passed on to me by my parents and by all the faithful Catholics who have gone before me during the past 2,000 years. I am not alone. By virtue of my baptism, I am a member of the communion of saints.

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