Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A young, relatively newly married man said to me the other day (and it is mentioned to you with his expressed permission) that he wanted to go to confession. He knows that when he spends too much time away from the sacrament that it starts effecting his relationship with his “lovely wife”. When things are not quite so he knows that it is time to get to the sacrament, to spend time evaluating what it going on in his life and make amends with the help of God’s grace in the sacrament.

Though not strictly required of us, the regular reception of the sacrament will have a profound change on your life. It is not an overnight change. It is a slow change that takes time to realize. One day you will wake up and just know that life has been quite different. Or the opposite will happen (which I hear about more often) when one has been away from the sacrament for a spell and it is has dawned upon the person that things are not quite right. Like the former case, it was not an overnight discovery. It took time to drift off course before the situation was fully appreciated.

Something similar happened to me and my classmates in the seminary concerning the Liturgy of the Hours (LOTH), which, as you may well know, as priests we promise to pray daily. Seminarians are given a number of years to practice praying the LOTH before they are required to do so because it does demand a certain amount or discipline and can be more difficult habit to wear into than one might imagine.

Sometimes we would be up until midnight or one or two in the morning studying and come to the realization that we have not said compline or vespers and so one or the other of us might say, “It’s late and we have to get this done, let us skip prayer tonight.” Over a number of years of this we were able to come to this conclusion: When we stuck to prayer, we accomplished our work in a better and timelier fashion. Scientists attribute this to the brain’s need to switch gears from time to time in order to work at its best capacity. I would call it God’s design to get us to pray!

These habits of holier living are tools for us to live better lives. Like many medications, they may give a nice boost on the short term but their full effects are in the regular regimented doses.


Anonymous said...

Just yesterday I was listening to Scott Hahn's talk on Confession, and in it he described how he had begun to go every week. One day is wife, still not Catholic, asked him how long it had been since he'd gone to Confession. She had noticed the difference in him every time he went, and knew when it had been awhile.

And on LOH...ever since I started praying it, it's made a difference for me. And I often end up skipping evening prayer, or morning prayer...the other day I missed everything. And, really, what a difference! I've found that my day isn't complete, things don't go as well if I don't take that time out for God.

Um...I should go do morning prayer before I leave for my meeting...

Joseph Fromm said...

May wonderful wife and I were quarreling last month and she said to me you have not been to confession lately, have you? It had been 6 month. I went to confession two weeks later, now no quarrels.
Being in a state of grace is a nice feeling is it not?



Anonymous said...

Sometimes my evening prayer consist of Hora Media+Officium Lectionis+Vesperas. I try not leave Laudes et Vesperas. Other Hours often suffer...

Anonymous said...

Father, this post could not be more true! I take every possible opportunity to encourage my fellow Catholics to go to Confession often!

I last, at most, a month without Confession. Generally I need to go once every 2 weeks; sometimes I go every week. It truly does make a huge difference; it is truly a very healing Sacrament. When I first started going to Confession at least once a month, following my rather stormy reversion, I found that everything became calm, and I did a complete 180 where certain behaviors were concerned.

As a novice Lay Dominican, I am working on getting into the habit of praying at least Lauds and Vespers every day, along with the Rosary, mental prayer, and daily Mass. Whew! Sometimes I really drop the ball, and when that happens, life turns quickly into one huge realm of chaos! Life is always much better when I just get it all done, and when I do, I ask myself why on earth I ever stopped! I am slowly getting more consistent. :)

Cathy Adamkiewicz said...

What is truly amazing is how many excuses I make for myself when I don't go to confession as often as I should. I resist the cure for my illness like a spoiled child who won't take her medicine.
Thank you for the gentle reminder.

Anonymous said...

Being a regular, is the only thing that keeps me on the straight and narrow--no excuses--I HAVE to take my "spiritual medications" every day!