More on Confession – Resolution/Amendment of life June 23, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Sacraments, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
I posted an excerpt from Treasure and Tradition on the Mass last week, always intending to cover two of the four necessary aspects of Confession – contrition and resolution/purpose of amendment. I discussed contrition last time, so below is the excerpt on resolving to change our lives to not sin again. Note there are many aspects of this depending on the sin in question and its severity. Just a brief background which I’m sure is old news to you, but the four aspects of Confession are:
1. We must heartily pray for Grace to make a good confession (preparation)
2. We must carefully examine our conscience (examination)
3. We must take time and care to make a good act of contrition
4. We must resolve by the help of God to renounce our sins and to amend our life (amendment)
Now on resolving by the Grace of God to renounce our sins and to begin a new life for the future.
Remember we have to make a purpose of amendment. Now a purpose is not a mere passing wish, it is a strong intention or determination, it is the making up of our mind about something. Clearly, then, it needs time and thought. This purpose, as as been said, is really part of our act of contrition, for there can be no true sorrow for the wrong we have done unless we intend not to do it again. The purpose of amendment we are bound to have is a firm determination to avoid all mortal sin and the proximate occasion of mortal sin. [if you are an adulterer, and desire to stop adulterating, continuing to see your adulterous partner, even without the intent to consummate the act, would be a grave proximate occasion of sin and would not indicate a purpose of amendment]
When we have fallen into sin we must look back to see what was the occasion. Any circumstance leading to sin is called an occasion of sin. It may be proximate or remote. A proximate occasion is one which usually leads us into sin. A remote occasion is one in which we sometimes, though seldom, commit sin. Persons, places, and things may all become occasions of sin, some to one person and some to another. Certain things, such as bad companions, improper conversations, and bad books, are always proximate occasions of sin. Should there be any person, place, or thing which, no matter what we do, always leads us into mortal sin, we are bound to keep away from it at any cost. [upon pain of sin]
We should of course resolve to avoid all venial sins, too, and if we have these only to confess, we should pick out one at least, and make a firm resolve about that. If you cannot make up your mind what to choose, think what our Lord would advise, and you will make a good choice.
Our natural character lays us open to the same temptation, and the routine of our daily life brings round the same occasions. And therefore it is not surprising if we take the same faults to confession again and again. What we have to do is to lessen the number; to rid ourselves of them by degrees; to turn occasions of sin into occasions of victory; thus, as Saint Augustine says, using them as steps by which to climb up to Heaven.
We do not make a purpose of transfiguration – to become all at once entirely different from what we were – but a purpose of amendment. Mending is a gradual and a laborious process, whether it be the mending of a stocking or of a man-of-war. No one expects it to be done all at once. If God is patient with us, and willing to wait whilst we mend, why should we be so impatient with ourselves! [Great point. I struggle with one stubborn attachment that still persists to this day. I have overcome other things I feel were much more insidious and difficult to resist and yet this one remains. It’s not a mortal sin, thank God!, but it is annoying. But I will overcome it with God’s help and in His time. When I get frustrated I think about the much worse things I have been blessed to overcome and give thanks for those, rather than allow the frustration to gnaw at me.]
In a few minutes you will be confessing your sins before Almighty God and the grandees of the court of Heaven. Think how ashamed you would be if you had to confess them before your father and mother, brothers, sisters, schoolfellows. Should you feel less shame to confess before God, the Holy of Holies; before Blessed Mary, conceived without sin; before angels and saints, standing without spot before the great white throne? [And yet one day, at the general/final judgment, all our sins will be known to all.] The sense of shame does us good and helps us to sorrow. Think, too, that all that heavenly court looks down lovingly upon you, and is praying for you, and rejoices to see you purifying your soul in the Precious Blood to be ready for their company some day.
It happens, however, sometimes, that we have to wait, not a few minutes, but a long time at the confessional, and that having finished our preparation, we begin to look about and get distracted. This is a pity. If we like, we may say our Rosary then, or read some holy book. These will not distract us, but on the contrary, will help us to make a good act of contrition when our turn comes to go in.
I think that will wrap up my excerpting from Treasure and Tradition. I hope you’ve found these edifying and useful. If it is all repetitive and just obvious, you’d actually be helping me out letting me know so I can fine tune what works I spend time copying for you to read. There is an element of self-benefit in everything I blog, but mostly I post things like this because I think and hope they will help others.