I don’t think this will be everyone’s first question…

Let’s nobody go there, okay?

Confession… use it!

Early and often!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. dark_coven says:

    Remember Dear Christian


    Therefore, O child of Jesus and Mary,
    Avoid sin and all dangerous occasions of sin.
    Pray without ceasing.
    Go frequently to Confession and to Holy Communion.

    -A wise and friendly reminder from the
    Transalpine Redemptorists Fathers and Brothers
    taken from their quarterly publication “The Catholic”

  2. I think hell for the IT professional would be no Wi Fi,

    all kidding aside.

    If one comes to our illustrious cathedral in st louis, and you stand underneath the Great Main Dome, Turn around and face the door. then look up, and to the right, toward the lower right corner of the section. You will see Hooded people, going into a cold dark place, being directed by the Angel mentioned in Revelation (Apoalypse). This is what that artist interpreted hell as, someplace so unloving, so void of God’s warmth and light.

    As Creations we all have a burning desire to return to our Creator, so one could say its in our nature to want to go to heaven. Our fallen state comes from the fact that we have the ability to say no to God, however when we do, that’s an abomination, and puts our souls in peril, and great jeopardy. Only the mercy of God, given through the sacrament of confession, by his instrument the Priest, can wash that clean.

    I went to a first penance service about a month back. The priest equated Confession to an eraser. Sometimes you can use a real small one, sometimes you need a real big one. But the point is, the eraser is always there, in God’s hand. You just have to swallow your pride and ask Him to use it.

  3. Woody Jones says:

    Here, from “Orthodox America” is a recounting of the famous confessions before St John of Kronstadt in Russia right before WWI. As readers will no doubt know, in those days especially in the Russian Orthodox Church it was basically mandatory to go to confession on Saturday night (usually after vespers) before being able to receive Holy Communion on Sunday morning.

    Confession with Saint John of Kronstadt

    Those wanting to confess to Fr. John became so numerous that to satisfy this desire was physically impossible. When Fr. John served the cathedral was so packed that an apple couldn’t find place to fall.

    With absolute openness of heart, uninhibited by the crowd, people shouted out their sins without holding back even the worst of them. And they shouted loudly, so that, if possible, Fr. John might hear them. A penitential lamentation filled the cathedral; the crowd was covered in sweat–not from heat but from emotion.

    Literally everyone wept openly, without the slightest constraint, and together with their outcries and groanings, the souls of the people were wondrously cleansed, just as a piece of gold is purified in a fiery crucible.

    Fr. John, aflame with prayer, stood on the ambo before an icon of the Saviour, entreating the merciful Lord’ s forgiveness for the entire crowd of weeping and repentant people. He looked at us with his penetrated gaze and suddenly –large tears streamed copiously down his cheeks. He wept for us. With his pure tears he washed away the filth of our sins. Yes, Fr. John wept, mingling his tears with our tears. At that moment the tearful ferment of the crowd reached its peak of intensity. The vast cathedral filled with lamentation; it seemed to shake from the uninterrupted outcries.

    (Translated from the biography of St. John by I. K. Soursky; Belgrade, 1941)

    As told in another source, Father John would sometimes even exhort a part of the congregation by saying, “I don’t hear you over there”; at the conclusion of the service he would give a general absolution.

  4. Margaret C. says:

    Hmmm…I know a few people for whom being cut off from Wi-Fi and Starbuck’s would at least be purgatorial…

    I once told my pastor that my personal conception of Hell would be a faculty meeting that never, never adjourned. (I work in education.) His response was, “If that doesn’t frighten you to Confession, nothing will.”

  5. Diane says:

    Upon reading your comments Fr. Z, I had a thought on confession…

    One thing that I find very heart-warming is how younger priests value confession and make themselves available (at least many that I know). The tide is turning from those who made people feel like they didn’t need to go, or shouldn’t bother, or didn’t make themselves available into something very different. Give it ten years and most parishes will have confession lines more reasonably matched to the Communion lines.

    Ultimately, epecially coupled with homilies that teach the fullness of the faith on Sundays, people will respond to a priest in the confessional. At my parish, it is not uncommon for a priest to head into the confessional some 20 minutes before his daily Mass where one or two people take advantage of the unannounced opportunity. Sometimes, no one comes, but people know that it happens and use it. Ditto with any time there are crowds apt to be at church for one reason or another.

    And, they encourage people to come even if they have no mortal sin, to peck away at venial sins and build virtue.

  6. Ray from MN says:

    I’ve occasionally gone to confessors who give very “easy” penances. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of resolve to get myself into the box.

    I’m sure some confessors might think I will come back more often if they give me only “one Hail Mary” as a penance.

    But I wonder if by doing that that they are in effect telling the penitent that “your sins are not that big a deal to God.”

    I think that while only some sins are “Mortal”, all sins are a big deal to God!

    The penitent then might start rationalizing and begin not going to confess as often or maybe not at all.

  7. Stephanie says:

    I don’t really think Heaven will have wi-fi either…

  8. BarbaraKB says:

    He-he. Honestly, I hope there’s no Wi-Fi in heaven either. Purgatory? Another day… ;-)

  9. Geoffrey says:

    No Wi-Fi in heaven?! No Wi-Fi in hell?! What’s left?!

    I kid, of course!

  10. Geo.F. says:

    Ray form MN:
    I’m sure some confessors might think I will come back more often if they give me only “one Hail Mary” as a penance.It’s still better than “smile at someone” or “do a kind deed”

    But I wonder if by doing that that they are in effect telling the penitent that “your sins are not that big a deal to God.”>You bet — my local OF confessor (When I HAVE to go there)stresses after absolution “ALL your sins are forgiven”.

    I think that while only some sins are “Mortal”, all sins are a big deal to God!Goodness knows “mortal” is no longer fashionable and I would venture to guess that the reason would be that “we don’t want to offend anyone”. The CCC uses “grave” instead of “mortal” but I never hear sin discussed in the OF churches around here

    Those who ignore sin and the reality that an unrepentant life separate us from God for all eternity are NOT doing us any favors

  11. Maureen says:

    In Heaven, you don’t need Wi-Fi. The Internet is but a faint foreshadowing of the flood of knowledge, joy, and beauty that we will access through participation in the Beatific Vision.

    Also, no spam and no need to check email.

  12. Liam says:

    Actually, my experience is that light penances tend to be given to people who are still in the process of embracing regular confessional practice, and somewhat heavier ones for those whose consciences have become more tender (but not ruled by rigorism or scrupulosity) through such practice.

    This, btw, is a good sign that confession is not being reduced to a juridical forum. It shows something of the difference between the way God measures and the way man measures.

    Lest confession be reduced to an exercise in mere moralism, rather than love, it pays to remember this wonderful verse of the Universal Prayer:

    I want to do what You ask,
    In the way You ask,
    For as long as You ask –
    Because You ask.

    Avoiding vice and cultivating virtue are good, but they are not the end. The Triune God – Who IS Love – is the end. The stuff of sanctity is not mistaking the former for the latter. If Christian discipleship were a mere matter of ethical living, we might just as well be Unitarians.

  13. Willebrord says:

    You bet! I’m going to go tomorrow (as long as I have a means of getting there, that is).

  14. Jacqueline Y. says:

    This cartoon reminds me of one of my all-time favorites, by the New Yorker cartoonist Edward Koren. It shows an orientation meeting for new arrivals in hell, and Satan is saying, “You’ll find there are no rules here — just whatever works for you.”

  15. A Random Friar says:

    No wi-fi in Hell. However, an inexhaustible supply of AOL 1.0 CDs are available, as well as 386s with 300 baud modems.

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