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The art of confession

by davesandel on March 5th, 2016

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The art of confession

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Third Week of Lent

Hosea 6:1-3, Luke 18:13

Let us return to the Lord. He has struck us but he will bind our wounds. He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, to live in his presence. Let us strive to know the Lord: as certain as the dawn is his coming, and his judgment shines forth like the light of day. He has come to us like the rain, like spring rain that waters the earth … Jesus said, “The tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’”

Sing the song you’ve known forever … “I come to the garden alone … and he walks with me and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

Hosea knows from bitter experience about sinning and being sinned against. His story makes ours look simple, but truly we too have sinned and been sinned against. How do we handle this?

We learn the art of confession.

The song you sang, “In the Garden,” suggests that we tarry awhile with God. Wait and sit with him, and be quiet together. Look at him, and then he looks at you, and then you look back at him. Be still. Tarry awhile.

St. Ignatius told his Jesuits that it was OK if they occasionally missed Mass, but they should NEVER miss the daily review he called the Examen. There are five steps to this prayer, which fit nicely into the acronym TARRY. Imagine that!

T          ell God you’d like to talk

A         ppreciate and thank God for his presence

R         eview the events of your day and reflect on your response to those events

R         epent when you need to, and Receive Forgiveness

Y         es! You’ll do this again tomorrow

In this way you assure a daily rest with your daily bread. You learn to say, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” And above all, you learn how to receive forgiveness. It is never OK to leave step four without receiving forgiveness. God forgives me, and I receive it.

Lord, how-to’s like this give me confidence. There is something I can do in the face of all disaster, and all brokenness, and all sin. I can speak up. “Have mercy on me, a sinner!” Thank you for teaching me to speak, and showing me over and over not only that you listen, but that you forgive me. Free me from fear, Father. Hold me in your arms.

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