Posted by: frroberts | February 13, 2015

Gearing up for Lent

Lent begins this Wednesday.  What kinds of things should we do during Lent?  Giving up candy, soda or an other dietary sacrifices, as good as they are, do not constitute the heart of Lenten discipline.  Such fasting should already be a regular feature of a Christian’s week throughout the whole year.  We also might add that in the modern world periodic abstinence from television, texting and social media holds perhaps more importance than fasting from certain types of food.

Since Vatican II, the Church has encouraged Catholics to see Lent as a time for renewal of our Baptismal vows.  Thankfully, we have a special sacrament that celebrates the renewal of our Baptismal vows and that sacrament is Confession.  Perhaps rather than only going to Confession once during this Lent, we can go twice– once at the beginning of Lent and once closer to Easter.  Doing so will help give us a sense of whether or not we have made progress in becoming more faithful to our Baptismal vows during this penitential season.

“Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects” (James 5:16).

“[Jesus] breathed on [the apostles], and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ ” (John 20:22b-23)

Some people say that they confess their sins directly to God and for that reason they do not have to confess them to a priest.  The most obvious problem with such private confession of sins is that God has told us in the New Testament that He wants us to involve another human being regularly in our confession of sins.  When we neglect going to Confession, we sin through disobedience.

Common sense also tells us that private confession is not enough.  We might brush our teeth privately twice every day, but if we value having healthy teeth, we will see a dentist every now and again for a public cleaning.  When it comes to the health of our immortal souls, we should be even more careful.

Go to Confession!


  1. Frequent, regular confession can be helpful for one who desires Spiritual Direction since it is so difficult to find a Spiritual Director. Even with a Spiritual Director, i have found Confession with my parish priest a valuable adjunct.


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