The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is a graced encounter on our spiritual journey. There are times that our confession may become routine and may not be as much help for us as it could. De Sales has some profitable thoughts to share with us.
"Sin is only shameful when we commit it; when it has been converted by confession and repentance it becomes honorable and salutary...Contrition and confession are so beautiful and so fragrant that they wipe away the ugliness of sin and purify its stench. Simon the leper called Mary Magdalen a sinner, but our Lord did not agree with him. He spoke only of the perfumes she poured out and of her great charity. If we are truly humble, ... our sins will be infinitely offensive to us since God is offended by them. But a declaration of our sins will be pleasant and agreeable because God is honored by it. Just telling the doctor of the pain that torments us gives us some kind of relief. When you kneel before your spiritual director, imagine yourself to be on Mount Calvary, at the feet of Jesus Christ crucifies. His previous blood seeps through each of your pores to wash away your sins. Although it is not the physical blood of the Savior, what glows so abundantly over penitents in confessionals is the merit of his Blood. Open wide your heart then so that you can cast our your sins in confessions. As fast as they leave, the previous merits of Christ's passion will enter there and fill it with blessings."
---Introduction, Part 1, Chapter 19 (p. 71)
Prayer thought for the day: thank You for washing away my sins in Your Blood.
We all have a time each year when we do clean up and throw out - a time when we repair things that we've put aside for attention. Our spiritual life needs the same "cleaning" and "repair." De Sales offers useful advice.
"There is no clock, no matter how good it may be, that doesn't need resetting and rewinding twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. In addition, at least once a year it must be taken apart to remove the dirt clogging it, straighten out bent parts, and repair those worn out. In like manner, every morning and evening a person who really takes care of his heart must rewind it for God's service by means of the foregoing exercises. Moreover, he must often reflect on his condition in order to reform and improve it. Finally, at least once a year he must take it apart and examine every piece in detail, that is , every affection and passion, in order to repair whatever defects there may be. Again, a watchmaker oils his watch's wheels, springs, and works with delicate oil so that the wheels can move more easily and the whole watch be less subject to rust. So also with a devout person. After he has re-examined his heart in order to renovate it, he must anoint it with the sacraments of confession and Holy Eucharist. Such and exercise will restore your strength, which has been impaired by time, warm up your heart, bring new life to your good resolutions, and make your soul's virtues flourish with fresh vigor."
---Introduction, Part 5, Chapter 1 (pp. 271-272)
Prayer thought for the day: Keep me conscious, Lord, of the need to rewind my life-clock with You.