Wednesday, December 9, 2009


The preeminent priest psychologist, Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti has stated and I quote, "...There is, in our day and in many places, a declining sense of the spiritual. Focused on the many valid needs of the present but accepting only what our sense tell us, our society has little room for spiritual realities and spiritual truths. In our day, God is not so much disbelieved by many as ignored. And thus spiritual realities fade into obscurity."

He continues, "For example, there are many, even some believers, who do not acknowledge the existence of a "hell." However, when we lose this truth, we also lose an awareness of the devastation of sin and what its real consequences are. If we had but an inkling of this devastation, we would flee it with horror. Hell is real and it shows us what life becomes when we cut ourselves off from God. If we lose an awareness of the possibility of hell, we lose an awareness of the power of human freedom and choice.

He continues, "When (Catholics) fall into double lives, inured in serious sin, they increasingly cut themselves off from God. They become miserable, and they begin to descend into "hell." "...Sin destroys our journey into God and thus our journey into joy."

I believe that Pope Benedict has stated that our confessional lines should be as long as our Communion lines. But alas this is not the case. When we don't acknowledge hell, why the hell should we acknowledge sin? And if we don't acknowledge sin, why go to confession?

I suspect many people do acknowledge their sin and privately ask God for forgiveness, but I am certain that many people are totally oblivious to their sin and yet present themselves for Holy Communion even when they have not set foot in a Church except for Christmas and Easter or a funeral or wedding Mass.

How is it that a Catholic politician can proclaim to be pro-choice which is tantamount to enabling infanticide and yet believes they have every right to go to Holy Communion? Their descent into hell is so consuming they have no eyes to see the sin before them and the distance they create between them and God by their arrogance.

Let me conclude with another quote from Msgr. Rossetti:

In the Sacrament of Penance, "this direct encounter with our merciful God, although admittedly difficult when done with a rigorous honesty, invariably leads us one step further into God and thus into his joy. The effects of sin impede God's presence and his joy. And when we discover the joy this sacrament brings for ourselves, we will desire to share this graced encounter with (others), just as God desires it for us."

"Sin destroys our journey into God and thus our journey into joy. Contrary to the demonic message of our time, it is sin that makes us miserable and joyless."

All quotes from "Our Journey into Joy" by Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti


-Brian said...

Aaahhh!!! So very true, and a nice book reference thank you Father.

But regarding your catechetical blog, there is hope for all who are so negatively disposed!!! As the darkness, which the mentality of the world lays down, flutters around the catholic faithful we have the sacramental graces, permanently infused in our souls. Particularly, from the Sacrament of Confirmation.

The Charisms that are associated with the Gifts of the Paraclete such as Knowledge and Understanding enable us to return to the light again. The darkness that covers us with ignorance and neglect can be dispelled with the wind of the Word as it is issued from catechesis like this!!! Like yours!!!

And so, we are freed up from blindness to make a decision with our free will to re-visit the Lord in the Sacrament of Penance.

You have really laid out a wonderful way of evangelization, catechesis, and conversion...once again. Gratis. You serve the Spirit well Pastor.

Templar said...

When I rediscovered the Sacrament of Confession in 2005 it was like I had found a long lost favorite shirt hiding in the back of my closet, and delighted it still fit, vowed to wear it often. And I do try. I have made repeated vows to self every year since to confess monthly, and I have more success than failure, but like many things in my life, perfect seems impossible.

I will say this. I believe I, and many others, would frequent the confessional more often if it were more readily available. In my youth, our suburban Parish had 5 Priests assigned and Confession was available before and during the first half of every Mass. I know of no diocese that can staff even 1 parish with 5 priests anymore, and you are limited to what you can do schedule wise with 2 Priests (in many cases 1 priest) assigned to a Parish, but it seems a bitter pill to swallow when the Church encourages frequent use, but even supportive parishes offer Confession for but 1 hour a week. I know, Confession can be by appointment, but the anonymity of the confessional is lost with the appointment. There have been times this year (twice) when I have been turned away from Confession because the "time was up" and half a dozen parishioners are left standing told to call for an appointment. Now to be sure this did NOT happen at St Joseph, but at a Parish closer to my home, and I freely admit the limitations on the work load our our dear Clergy. Consider this a lament more than a complaint.

Marc said...

I think it is interesting and helpful when you preach on hell and sin in your homilies as you have done with this post. Even before I was Catholic when I claimed to be an "evangelical Atheist", I must confess to always having a sense of the reality of hell. Based on my experience, the existence of hell and the perception of hell as a reality is universal; however, I think that many people in modern secular society are basically saying that it is worth an eternity in hell to have passing "pleaure" in the present. Coupled with moral relativism, this can and has had a massive effect on the way people view the world and sin.

As you rightly point out in your post, many people are blind to their sin. However, I think there are many people who recognize their bad actions while either (1) not recognizing that the action may be sinful, or (2) simply no longer caring that an action may be sinful. In my opinion, those whose hearts are hardened to that degree, like I was a very short time ago before coming into the Church, can only be moved by God's grace! It is difficult to convince someone who does not believe in the concept of sin that they are in need of forgiveness.

So, are people blind to their sin or has relativism convinced them of the non-existence of sin as a concept?