Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quick! What’s the Sixth Commandment?

How well do you know the Commandments? Although we should be living them daily, how many of us know them off hand, and out of order? My sister taught me a great way to remember them and to teach them.
Use your fingers to help you:
#1 God is number 1. I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before Me.
#2 Your fingers make a V shape. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
#3 Your fingers make a W (worship). Remember to keep holy the Sabbath.
#4 Next to God in deserving your respect are your parents. Honor your father and your mother. (The only commandment with a promise-look it up!)
#5 Open one hand and then make a fist. Thou shall not kill.
#6 This is a tough one for kids but it has the word adult in it. Thou shall not commit ADULTery. (For kids it’s about purity of mind, mouth and body.)
#7 Seven starts with S; so does steal. Thou shall not steal.
#8 Eight goes around and around with no end. So does a lie until you confess and tell the truth. Thou shall not bear false witness.
Nine and ten are both about coveting but people are more important than things so:
#9 Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
#10 Thou shall not covet they neighbor’s goods.
Learn them, teach them, live them. For Christ said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments."  (John 14:15)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Joyous Words

"I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

These few words are so relevant in the lives of Catholics. These are the words the penitant hears after confessing their sins to a priest. They bring healing and comfort.

Confession is pretty much a monthly thing at our house. Six weeks feels like way too long to wait for the graces that come from this Sacrament. We try to get there on First Saturday. Sometimes we go with cousins and most of the time we go for ice cream afterward to celebrate being sinfree again.

Often it is very difficult to step into the church. Stubborness, humility, sadness at having offended our Lord, are all emtions that come to mind. We wonder if the priest will recognize our voice. We stress over the words to say even when we know the sins. Many times we have not been aware of the ways we are separating ourselves from the Lord, and we may have to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament for a bit and ask the Holy Spirit for help recalling our sins. (He's always willing!)

Waiting in line can be peaceful or nerve wracking. Then comes the moment of truth. We have to speak our sins outloud. If I can offer one piece of advice it would be, find a priest you love! I have had several favorites over the years. I prefer those that take time to talk to you and aren't in a hurry. The really great ones seem to read your heart and say just what you need to hear.

After giving you a penance the joyous words are spoken: "I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." You leave the confessional a new creation. You are back in a state of sactifiying grace ready to move forward and "sin no more." If only!

But that's the beauty of the Sacrament. Christ instituted it because He knew we would need it often.
If you haven't been in a while, first pray for humility to acknowledge your sins, then pray for the courage to confess them. God loves to answer these prayers. When you're done, treat yourself to an ice cream cone and enjoy the peace.