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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Penance and the Rosary

Going to Confession you can never be sure just what penance a priest will give you.  Sometimes one priest will seem to always tell you the same thing and you might make the mistake of falling into the routine of committing the same sins week after week and then doing the same penance without even thinking about it.  If you keep committing the same sins and doing the same penance perhaps you might stop and contemplate that YOU aren't doing the penance correctly.

Do you run through ten Hail Mary's and five Our Father's to simply finish the penance given to you?  If so, you've lost much and probably haven't learned a thing.

Confession is for our healing, Penance is for our growth and strength against temptation.  The priest can heal our relationship with God if we confess our sins WHOLE heartedly and with sorrow for offending God - that's Absolution.  When we are absolved of our sins our relationship with God is healed.  The wounds that sin inflicted on our souls Confession heals.  Those healed wounds are made stronger with our Penance by the Grace of God. 
Embrace your Penance as a gift of love from God Himself.  It is love and strength given to you for your help.  Don't rush through it.  Take your time, talk with God and remember to SHUT UP so you can hear God speaking gently into your hearts.  Telling you how much He loves you and is pleased with you for participating in His Sacraments.  When we repent the very angels in heaven celebrate! [Luke 15:10]

I've never publically shared my personal experiences with Confession before, but today I am going to because I feel it may help other parents and perhaps inspire other priests to follow what a priest recently gave me for a Penance.  Generally speaking, near the end of my Confession, I conveyed to the priest a worry I have about raising Godly children in today's secular, sexual, drug addicted society.  'What's a parent to do?' I asked.

Father said to me (something that should be obvious but wasn't)... 'If you want Godly children, be a Godly woman in all things.  When you suffer, suffer with joy because Christ allows it for a reason that you don't have to know, only trust in Jesus to know.  Trust Him in good and bad because He loves you and died for you. Give Him praise always, during that suffering and in times of happiness, always praise Jesus.  Now go home and for your Penance you are to pray the rosary with your entire family."


The rosary?  With everyone?

I'd never been given a Penance that I had to involve others in to complete.  I was surprised, but very happy because I had just recently been thinking of the old saying "The family that prays together, stays together."  A saying that I had heard decades ago, and learned some years later is from a Catholic priest named Fr. Peyton.

Father Patrick Peyton - "The family that prays together, stays together."

Returning home from Confession that day, I gathered my family at our home altar (if you don't have one, I highly recommend them).  I lit all the candles on the altar along with the incense (which I love) and together with one of my children kneeling on our kneeler before the altar (the rest of us seated) we all prayed the rosary together for the first time outside of our parish as a family.  What joy!  It was wonderful and something I am intending to practice in my family more often.

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