Thursday, March 5, 2015

Whatever good you do or sufferings you endure

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Be especially willing to accept all trials that may come in reparation for your sins and to be mindful and resolute to do so at the moment of Confession and as the priest exhorts you at the conclusion of the Sacrament. ("May the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints, whatever good you do or sufferings you endure, heal you of your sins, help you to grow in holiness and reward you with everlasting life").  Seek in particular in between occasions of going to confession to faithfully practice mortification and with a willing love to embrace all that is hard, difficult, painful or disappointing in life.  Such a willingness shows your desire to share in the sufferings of our Lord's Passion.

In confession, after the priest, Christ’s minister, has imposed the necessary satisfaction, and, by absolution, has washed our souls in the divine blood, he repeats these words over us: “May whatever of good thou dost, and evil thou bearest, be to thee for the remission of thy sins, the increase of grace , and the reward of everlasting life.” This prayer is not essential to the sacrament, but as it has been ordained by the Church, besides containing teaching that the Church assuredly desires to see us put into practice, it has the value of a sacramental. By this prayer , the priest gives to our sufferings, to our acts of satisfaction, of expiation, of mortification, of reparation and patience which he thus links and unites with the sacrament, a special efficacy which our faith should not neglect to consider. “For the remission of thy sins.” The Council of Trent teaches on this subject a very consoling truth. It tells us that God is so munificent in His mercy that, not only the works of expiation that the priest imposes on us, or that we ourselves choose , but even all the sufferings inherent to our condition here below, all the temporal adversities which God sends or permits and we patiently support, serve, through Christ’s merits, as satisfaction with the Eternal Father. That is why— I cannot too often recommend it to you— it is an excellent and most fruitful practice when we present ourselves to the priest, or rather to Jesus Christ, in order to accuse ourselves of our sins, to accept in expiation all the pains, all the annoyances, all the contradictions which may befall us; and still more, to resolve at this moment on such or such a special act of mortification, however light it may be, which we will accomplish until our next confession. Fidelity to this practice, which enters so well into the spirit of the Church, is very profitable. To begin with, it removes the danger of routine. A soul that, by faith, thus plunges itself again into the consideration of the greatness of this sacrament in which the blood of Jesus is applied to us, and with an intention full of love, offers to bear patiently, in union with Christ on the Cross, all that happens that is hard, difficult, painful or disappointing in life, such a soul is impervious to the rust which with many persons accompanies frequent confession. Secondly, this practice is an act of love extremely pleasing to our Lord because it is a mark of our willingness to share the sufferings of His Passion, the most holy of His mysteries.

Christ, the Life of the Soul, Part II, chapter 4, section 6

Marmion, Blessed Columba