April 14-16, 2000
volume 11, no. 75

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    "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

    This weekend, Sister reminds all of the healing catharsis of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is mandatory during the time from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost Sunday which is called the "Easter Duty" but if one only goes to Confession and Communion during that time then many other sins will mount up, one - missing Mass on Sunday comes to mind. As Our Lady at Medjugorje suggests, all should go to Confession at least once a month, weekly if possible. Sister points out the basics of what constitutes a mortal sin and also offers a few short preparatory prayers while we make our examination of conscience before entering the confessional. She also emphasizes what Christ said in John 8: 11, "Go thy way, and from now on sin no more" and reminds us to keep this resolve in our hearts in her column this weekend, Need help with Confession? .

    Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at or you can reach her at Srmarylucy by e-mail.

        There is only about a week left before Easter. If you, dear reader, have not yet been to confession, I encourage you to do so soon.

        Please let me proffer some ideas that may help you make a good confession.

        First, begin by calling on the Holy Spirit to enlighten you. The following prayer may be helpful.

      "Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they will be created and You shall renew the face of the earth. Let us pray - O God, Who did instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by this same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation through Christ, Our Lord, Amen."

        I usually add a prayer to Our Blessed Mother.

      "Dear Blessed Mother, please obtain for me the light to know my sins, the grace to be sorry for them, the courage to confess them and the fortitude to amend them. Amen."

        After a sincere prayer from your heart, such as the above, then examine your conscience. This would be made over the Ten Commandments and the Precepts of the Church, mostly. Hopefully, on the pamphlet rack in the back of your Church, there are some helps with this. If not, your local Church Goods store should be of help. If you do not have one of those, then look through the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If you don't have one of those, search on the Internet. The Catechism can be found there. One of the best sites for this is

        Remember, that ALL mortal sins, without exception and the number of times they were committed MUST be confessed. (You may confess on the average of ____ times a week, a month, a year.) To knowingly and willingly hide or refrain from confessing any serious sin, would be another mortal sin called a sacrilege. Why pour more sins upon another?

        How does one know if they committed any mortal sin? Three things must be present:

    • a) the thought, word, deed, omission MUST BE serious;
    • b) the person must know AT THE TIME that it is serious; and

        If anyone of these elements is not present the person has not committed serious sin. If, after an honest examination, you have not committed any serious sins, then acknowledge 2 of 3 venial sins of which you have the habit of committing. It would be good, also, to state why you commit them. For example: "I have the habit of getting impatient with my husband and children because of my own deep-seated selfishness."

        After you have made a good examination of conscience and before you enter the confessional, pray an Act of Contrition. Remember that part of good contrition is a firm purpose of amendment. Then go confess your sins to the priest and accept the penance he gives you. Before leaving the Church do your penance, if possible, lest you forget. Also, spend a moment thanking God for having given you the gift of this Sacrament.

        At the basis of every sin is pride. Confessing your sins takes some humility, the opposite of pride. That is why confession is a necessary part of our growing spiritually.

        Whatever your sins, remember, that if you had the courage to commit the sins, then have the courage to acknowledge them. Also remember that there is no shame in falling. The only shame is in failing to get back up and resolve to not sin.

        Confession is good for the soul. I pray you will take advantage of this good sacrament.

        God bless you!

    Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

April 14-16, 2000
volume 11, no. 75

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