Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
I still have a bunch of notes from lectures at the conference I attended in July on the Sacrament of Confession. Here are some bullet points from a talk given by Fr. Basil Cole, O.P., entitled, “Chastity, Lust and Taming the Appetites”:
-Keep in mind the notion of becoming a friend of God. If people are trying to love God, the virtues eventually fall into place.
-The command to be perfect leads to becoming perfect in grace (i.e., it’s not all about our merely human strength)
-Stimulate and nourish devotion. Realize that devotion is not a mere feeling. Meditation and contemplation will increase devotion. And this becomes the spark that helps somebody resist temptation and choose for God.
-We need to teach children that the Catholic life is not only about commandments. Rather, it’s about living love to the fullest, which involves all the virtues, all of our faculties. It even involves some wholesome delights in life.
-We must teach couples how to educate their children in the virtues.
-Chastity is the sine qua non which must be in place in order for a person to discern his or her vocation in life.
-In the confessional a priest must use intuition to discern everything that is said, and everything about the way it is said.
-Chastity helps a person be for others, helps a person keep his or her word.
-Teach our youth to pray even now for their future spouse and children.
-It is usually the flesh (human nature’s dark side) that is tempting us (i.e., we need not think that every temptation to lust is a direct and major onslaught of the devil). The Fathers of the Church taught “flight, not fight” when it comes to temptations to impurity; i.e., we should turn to a safe, wholesome distraction to steer our faculties in a different direction, rather than trying to fight a particular lustful temptation directly.
-Use very concrete devotionals such as the rosary or the scapular. Hold on to these.
-After somebody falls into a lustful act, we should help him start over, pick up his life again; and we should try to help him avoid self-hatred.
-One of the dangers of all of the technological communicating that happens (emails, texts, etc.) is that it can lead people too often to miss delight in relationships (i.e., there can be a certain type of isolation somebody experiences)
-Lust undermines the virtue of prudence (and each of its parts: counsel, judgment, execution)
-Pride is the queen of vices. There are seven deadly vices, and each one has “daughters”.
-Vices are often clustered together, feeding off of each other. This makes sense, since all the virtues hold together.
-We must speak more about the goodness of virtue, so that people will desire virtue more.
-Selfishness is a daughter of lust.
-Lust reduces a person’s love for things of the next life, and love for relationship with God.
-Confession of devotion (where a person is bringing only venial sins, rather than mortal sins) is a great practice that helps prevent future sins.
So there are some highlights from Fr. Cole’s lecture at the conference I attended in Baltimore on the topic of Confession. I hope some of the points are useful for your meditation.
On another note, I want to remind everybody to contact the office if you have a loved one who goes to the hospital, and they would like a visit from the priest to be anointed or have their confession heard. In the last several weeks we’ve had several occasions where I learned that the hospital never contacted me to let me know one of my parishioners was there. This was the case, even though the family had asked the hospital to contact us. I don’t believe there was any ill will on the part of the nursing staff. I think it is simply the case that the need to notify the parish gets lost in a stack of other pressing tasks for the nursing staff. Then there are a couple occasions when I have finally been notified by the hospital, but it was almost too late, because the parishioner was already on her way out of the hospital, after having been there for many days without my knowledge. Bottom line: please do not expect the hospital to be efficient in contacting the parish to let us know a parishioner is there. It is much better for a family member to call the parish office directly. I believe Jesus wants to be very close to those who are sick and dying. And the sacraments of Confession and Anointing and Holy Communion are precisely the objective means He established in order for people to experience His closeness in the midst of their suffering.
Have a blessed week.
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,