Now that we have our seminarian Peter Grodi with us, I want to reiterate my hope that he gets invited to the prayer groups we have in the parish, so that he can experience their dynamic. These groups have obviously been a huge part of our parish, since all the members of these groups are so spiritually vibrant and active. It will be a great learning experience for Peter; and he will have plenty to share of the Faith. Also, please remember that there is a young men’s retreat sponsored by the Diocese July 8-10 in Mansfield, Ohio. There will be both junior high and high school men’s tracks. Please call the office, or talk with Peter Grodi, to get registered. We will organize transportation to make things most efficient for everybody, once we know how many are going. The Vocations Director and the diocesan seminarians will be leading the retreat. You don’t have to be set on priesthood in order to go. The goal is to get young men holier so that they are open to follow the Lord, no matter what direction He calls them.
Next in this letter are the main points from another talk I heard last July at the conference on Confession that I attended, sponsored by the Dominicans of the Eastern Province of the United States. The talk was given by Fr. Basil Cole. The talk was on virtues in the moral life.:
-Keep in mind the notion of becoming a friend of God. If people are trying to love God, become His friend, the virtues will eventually fall into place in their lives.
-The Lord’s command to “be perfect” means to be perfected in grace.
-Nurturing/stimulating devotion is not to be equated with developing or causing feelings. Religious devotion does not equal “feeling”.
-Meditation and contemplation are means for increasing devotion.
-Meditation and contemplation also provide the spark needed to resist temptation and choose for God throughout the day.
-We have to teach our kids that the moral life is not simply about following external commandments.
-A person needs wholesome delights to balance with the work and drudgery of life.
-We should be teaching our married couples how to train their children in the virtues. [Fr. Poggemeyer sidebar: By the way, there is the Training in Virtue program of the Dominican Sisters in Ann Arbor that has a system parents could use, especially for elementary aged children, but even older.]
-Living the virtue of chastity is the sine qua non (the thing without which you cannot do) for discerning one’s vocation.
-In the confessional a priest must use intuition, discerning all the signals available in what is said and how it is said.
-Chastity helps you live “for the other” and also to keep your word.
-Single people who feel called to marriage can even now begin praying for their future spouse and children.
-In the area of unchastity, it is usually nature tempting the person (i.e., rather than the devil). Fathers of the Church taught in these situations “flight not fight”, i.e., turn to a safe, wholesome distraction when faced with temptation to unchastity, rather than trying to fight the temptation directly… which will only give it more power.
-To increase devotion, people often hold a rosary or scapular.
-If people fall into unchastity, our mission is to help them stand back up again, and emerge from self-hatred and shame.
-Be careful with using electronic media such as texting and e-mail as primary means of relating in important relationships. With mere texting, you are missing something of the personal delight that is part of inter-personal relationships.
-Lust undermines prudence (i.e., your ability to gather information in the function called “counsel”, judge the data rightly, and then execute the judgement/decision you’ve made).
-Pride is the queen of all vices. There are the seven deadly vices (pride, covetousness, gluttony, lust, envy, anger and sloth), and they each have what are called “daughter vices”.
-e.g., selfishness is a daughter of lust.
-Vices are often clustered together, since the virtues (their opposites) often are so connected and dependent upon one another.
-Speaking about the beauty of the virtues can help people desire them, strive for them.
-Lust reduces love for things of the next life and desire for friendship with God.
-Confession of devotion (where you are confessing only venial sins, since there are no mortal sins to confess – thank God!) is something that can help prevent future sins.
So there are the main points from the talk on confession. I hope these points provide some food for meditation in your own life.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,