Is It Okay To Sin?

03/21/2016

Do you suppose Jesus was surprised that Judas was stealing from the treasury?

Or do you think He knew it all along?

I’m pretty sure He knew.

So… let’s say Jesus did know. Why didn’t he stop Judas from stealing? Isn’t that one of the profound mysteries of our life?

Of all our lives?

Does Jesus know that you sin? Or are you doing a better job of hiding it from Him?

Why doesn’t He prevent you from doing it?

Same profound mystery.

God gave each of us free will. Along with Original Sin.

Oh, great… so He punishes us by making us sinful.

No. He gave us freedom of choice. Freedom to choose right or wrong. So we control our own eternal destiny.

But wait. If we’re born with Original Sin, aren’t we doomed to hell right off the bat?

Again, no. Because we are free to choose right from wrong.

Original Sin means we have the propensity to sin.

Original Sin means we are not perfect.

Only our Heavenly Father is perfect.

Original Sin means we are likely to suffer at the hands of other human beings or some other force of nature.

Original Sin means we are subject to the risks of the Earth.

Original Sin means we need to be perfected.

Original Sin means we have choices to make which will either draw us closer to God and heaven or separate us farther from Him.

Bottom line: Jesus knows that we sin. And he accepts that. Because we are human.

That doesn’t mean our sins are acceptable.

But it does make us eligible to receive God’s endless mercy.

And that’s what our journey through life, this profound mystery that’s unique to each person, teaches us.

We continue toward Calvary. Happy Monday of Holy Week.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


“I Forgive You”

03/15/2016

Tonight is our Parish Reconciliation Service. I guess it’s good to get together as a community to pray for forgiveness of our sins. But I’ve gotta tell you… there’s nothing better than what follows the communal service.

As painful as it is to personally confess your sins to a priest — either face to face or behind a screen in a darkened confessional — with words that pour out of your own mouth, admitting your failings and shortcomings, acknowledging them out loud (well… okay, in a whispered hush, but nonetheless audible)…

the joy that washes over you when you realize that your sins are wiped away, your soul is clean, when Jesus says

“I forgive you…”

… that joy is truly indescribable.

Recognize confession for what it is. It’s not a psychoanalysis session. It’s not supposed to be a litany of your shortcomings, said for the purpose of making you feel bad or horrible or evil. It’s not a public flogging.

Confession, or penance, or reconciliation — whatever you want to call it — is an chance to say

“I’ve failed. And I’m sorry.”

It’s an opportunity to ask Jesus Christ to forgive you. It’s a one-on-one encounter with Jesus, through His Earthly representative, much the same as Holy Communion is a one-on-one encounter with Him.

Here’s what Pope Paul VI in 1968 said about confession.

“Let us examine the way in which we confess our sins, not in order to be over scrupulous in analyzing our faults, but in order to recognize the greatness of man on his knees before God.

“… In this way, God’s mercy… will… blow over us like a beneficial breeze, alleviating our sorrows.” (Ash Wednesday message, 1968)

God’s mercy!

When you think about the Creator of the Universe living just like you live, feeling the same human emotions, the same impulses, the same thoughts, what thoughts go through your head?

Can you contemplate it? Do you?

Why don’t you?

Go ahead.

If the Creator of the Universe, if the God who knew you before you were conceived, knows how easy it is to sin, don’t you think He can show you mercy? Don’t you think He can forgive you?

No matter what?

Hear what I have to say about the most joyous confession I ever experienced:

I hadn’t been to confession in years. I was harboring an “unforgivable sin.”

I couldn’t bring myself to face Christ — in the person of the priest. I was ashamed. I knew I could never get the words out of my mouth.

It was a period of great introspection. I searched my soul for answers that I couldn’t find. I was sad. I knew God loved me. I knew God forgave me.

But I also knew He expected me to use the Sacrament of Confession, too. To humbly and contritely acknowledge my failing.

I guess most importantly, I knew in my heart of hearts that not confessing my sins was ultimately separating me from God.

And it was my choice.

God gives us the tools and the resources. He gives us the freedom to make choices. He gives us the free will to do what’s right or wrong.

And He knows we will screw up.

We’re human. Just as He was in the person of Jesus. Just as He still is in the person of Jesus Christ present in every tabernacle in every sort of Catholic Church… in every church that carries on the ancient tradition of offertory and consecration and distribution of Holy Eucharist.

Only now His body is glorified. It’s been cleansed of its humanness.

But He knows our human shortcomings. He experienced them, too. Without sinning.

We sin. We are born with original sin. We’re not born with a divine nature. We’re born in the divine image, but we’re born with the capacity to sin.

I reflect on these things now. They were not part of my consciousness when I made this confession. At the time, my anxiety level overwhelmed me. Often.

It was at a Parish Reconciliation Service. I can’t recall whether it was Advent or Lent. All I know is I finally made it to one.

Then came time for individual confessions for those who wished to make one.

I wasn’t going to do it. I was afraid. Thanks to God, I overcame my fear and stepped into a line.

When it was my turn, I poured my heart out to the priest, my confessor. I barely made eye contact.

I finished and waited for my penance. Father absolved me of my sins. I looked at him. His eyes pierced my soul. He smiled and said something. I don’t remember what.

But I knew I was forgiven. The weight of a thousand chains was gone!

It was almost like his eyes said “You’re done! You’re free! Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? I’m so happy to forgive you. I’ve been waiting for you so long. And now, it’s over. You did it. Thank you.”

Go to confession.

Remember what Pope Paul VI said. Don’t be OCD about categorizing and listing your sins. Instead, consider how you approach your sins, how you approach Jesus through the priest, and how remorseful you are.

Don’t get me wrong. Don’t gloss over an examination of conscience! Be thorough! Just make sure you examine patterns. Your major failings. Why you do what you do. How you can avoid repeating the patterns and failings.

You’re going to sin again.

We all do.

Don’t beat yourself up. Resolve to persevere.

None of us are perfect until our heavenly Father perfects us. In heaven.

 

The Act of Contrition I’ve said since I made my First Confession and First Holy Communion in 1965:

Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. And I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishment. But most of all, because they have offended Thee, my God, who art so good and so deserving of all my love, I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Hit the Reset Button

03/10/2016

When the words just won’t come…

When you’ve tapped out your emotions…

When you want to pray… or be inspired… or be inspiring…

… and nothing’s there…

(… it means it’s time for a walk by the water… and it’s time to watch a video!)

 

The Lord is gracious and merciful.  –  Responsorial psalm 145:8

 

“Like Father, like Son.”  –  Father Miguel’s paraphrase of the words of Jesus, John 5:17-30

 

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Off the Rails!

03/06/2016

Jesus teaches the parable of the prodigal son again at the Sunday Mass, our second look at this Gospel (Luke 15:1-3, 11-32) during Lent 2016.

Let’s look at it from the son’s perspective before he gets back to his dad.

First, he tells his dad “I don’t want to wait for you to die. Gimme my share of your money now.”

Then, he pisses it all away.

Then, he comes to his senses. He realizes that his father’s servants have it better than he does, slaving away, slopping pigs. He decides that he needs to confess his sins.

Here’s today’s grotesque video look at the message:

Ever come to your senses after going off the rails when burying your heavenly Father? How does it feel, going into and coming out of that confessional?

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Forgive and DON’T Forget!

03/01/2016

Revenge is so, so sweet, isn’t it?

If you prefer to watch and listen to this message, here’s a link:

I remember… Freshman year in college, Steve gave Jane and Jeannette access to our room in Gardner Hall. Room 307. The girls sewed the fly on our underwear shut and sprinkled crackers in our dresser drawers.

It took a little sleuthing to figure it all out, who did the deed, how they got in our room, but Bruce and I got to the bottom of it.

And… we got our revenge all right!

We stole a couple of whole pies from Baxter Hall (the cafeteria) and decorated Steve’s car.

Ohhhhh…. we had the last laugh, didn’t we?

Oh, sure, it was a tame prank on both sides. No big deal. No harm done. Just a little college prank.

Only, to do it, we had to steal. And then we had to inflict damage on someone’s property.

It was a silly prank. It was a silly revenge. Nobody got hurt. We exchanged many laughs about it over the years.

Thank God.

Often, revenge is about a lot more serious matters. I’ve been party to or had knowledge about some of those, too.

Year of Mercy

In today’s Gospel (Matthew 18:21-35), Peter asks Jesus if we have to forgive someone seven times. What does Jesus say about that?

We have to forgive someone seventy-seven times!

That’s a lot of forgiving.

But that’s what we’re called to do.

It ain’t easy!

After telling Peter to forgive his brother 77 times, he tells the parable of the king who forgave the enormous debt of one of his officials.

The official begged for mercy. The king is moved with compassion and forgives the debt.

But not soon after, the king learns that the same official — after the king had shown him great mercy — confronts a servant who owed him a small amount, chokes the guy, demands his money, and has him thrown in prison.

What do you think the king does?

He punishes the official. And now he says “pay me what you owe me.”

Jesus says that His Heavenly Father will do the same to us unless we forgive from the heart.

Forgive and Don’t Forget!

Heard a little of Father Paul Scalia’s homily from the funeral of his father, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Father Paul reminded us that his dad still required our prayers. He wasn’t a saint yet! A bleak reminder that we’re all subject to Purgatory, which the Catholic Church teaches as referenced in the Book of Revelation.

If someone wrongs us, can’t we offer up our forgiveness and the pain it caused us as intercession for the souls in Purgatory? How about offering it up for the deceased members of our family? How about offering it up for the person who wronged us?

If we canonize our deceased relatives too soon, we forfeit an opportunity to pray for forgiveness of their sins. We fail to show them mercy.

It’s all a mystery. But so is Original Sin. It’s the imperfection of our human body, our human mind, our imperfect soul. We need to be perfected.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 


Hearken, Peeps!

02/20/2016

Two messages today:

“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  –  Matthew 5:48

and…

“(h)e is to be your God and you are to walk in His ways… and to hearken to His voice.”  –  Deuteronomy 26:17

Hey! 26… SEVENteen… (you have to watch the video to understand)…

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


The only thing you can control

02/16/2016

What is the one thing over which you have complete control?

There is only one thing.

You can’t control what others think. You can’t control what others do. You can’t control how others treat you. You can’t control what others say. You can’t control what happens to you. You can’t even control your thoughts!

In today’s Gospel (Matthew 6:7-15), Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray and then has instructions for them on forgiveness.

Who do you need to forgive?

Here are my thoughts on the Gospel and on control.

And maybe a word or two about eating a good breakfast.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


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