Friday, March 15, 2024 – Day 31

March 15, 2024

God, our heavenly Father, I confess that I have sinned against you and against others. I acknowledge my sin and with my whole heart intend to avoid sin in the future. Thank you that Jesus died to wipe out my sin. May I live in the freedom of his work as a true child of God. Amen.

Often times when someone goes to Confession, they become nervous and unsettled when the priest asks them to pray the Act of Contrition. In my experience, it is not because they are hesitant acknowledging their sins, it’s more that they just forgot the memorized prayer. I see that as a pastoral and teachable moment. The act of contrition is simply acknowledging my sins, asking gods forgiveness, and a promise to try to do better. Simple as that! The prayer that Michael White, and Tom Corcoran offered today is a beautiful act of contrition. Still, more beautiful is when we speak from the heart and pray our act of contrition. Here’s one that is so simple: “Oh God, I sinned. I am sorry, please forgive me and I will try to do better. Your love is everlasting, amen.”

One of the earliest statements that Pope Francis made in his papacy, was directed at priests, who make the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) so difficult, is NOT to make the experience of the sacrament a “torture chamber.”

He reminds priests of always being aware of our own sins, faults and failures. No torture chambers! 

Michael White and Tom Corcoran offer these reflection questions today:

What prayers of contrition do you pray now? What is a prayer of contrition you could add to your prayer routine? 

Prayers of contrition help us to course correct and get rid of guilt. Which of those two benefits appeals most to you? 

When was the last time you went to Confession? Should you make plans to go? What prevents you from going to Confession?

I enjoy the breathing, or centering prayer. Breathing in, I pray “Lord Jesus” and then breathing out “have mercy on me.” It’s a slow rhythmic process. There is a slight holding of my breath before breathing out. It’s so relaxing, so easy and so powerful feeling God’s mercy. 

For me, it’s more course correction. There is a trap of being tethered to guilt that hampers growth. My guilt prods me to the course correction. Believe me, I’m course correcting a lot!

I went to Confession at the parish Penance Service Monday night this week. I try to lead by acknowledging my sins before listening to others. I love the penance i received: do an act of kindness. That penance is like paying it forward. God’s mercy is endless, so the least I can do is show gratitude by doing a random act of kindness. Helps to change the world one act at a time. 

Lord Jesus … have mercy on me.