21 March 2018
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  • » 03/09/2018, 19.51


    Pope tells priests to be confessors, remember that God’s love is stronger than any sin

    The state of “sin distances us from God. But in fact, sin is the way that we distance ourselves from him. Yet that does not mean that God distances himself from us.” For the pontiff, “The priest-confessor is the source of neither mercy nor grace: he is certainly the indispensable instrument, but always only an instrument”, and never a “master of consciences”.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis took part in this afternoon’s penitential celebration in St Peter’s Basilica during which he went to confession and confessed some believers for almost an hour.

    During the service, the pontiff said that “The love of God is always greater than anything we can imagine; it even reaches beyond any sin with which our conscience may charge us”.

    Francis also spoke about confession this morning when he received participants to the 29th Course organised by the Apostolic Penitentiary. He told them that those who confess must be teachers, educators, and pastors. They must always be “witnesses of mercy” and never “masters of consciences”.

    “The priest-confessor is the source of neither mercy nor grace: he is certainly the indispensable instrument, but always only an instrument! And when the priest takes charge of this, he prevents God from acting in hearts. This awareness must favour a careful vigilance over the risk of becoming “masters of consciences”, above all in the relationship with young people, whose personality is still being formed and is therefore far more easily influenced.”

    The more the priest disappears, the clearer Jesus appears as the “supreme and eternal priest”. This helps confessors to have the indispensable attitude of humility needed to learn a second requirement, namely “knowing to listen to questions before offering answers.”

    “The confessor is called to be a man of listening: human listening to the penitent, and divine listening to the Holy Spirit. Truly listening to the brother in the sacramental dialogue, we listen to Jesus Himself, poor and humble; listening to the Holy Spirit we place ourselves in attentive obedience, we become hearers of the Word and therefore we offer the greatest service to our young penitents: we put them in touch with Jesus Himself.”

    “We know that the state of sin distances us from God. But in fact, sin is the way that we distance ourselves from him. Yet that does not mean that God distances himself from us. The state of weakness and confusion that results from sin is one more reason for God to remain close to us.

    “The certainty of this should accompany us throughout our lives. The words of the Apostle are a reassuring confirmation that our hearts should trust, always and unhesitatingly, in the Father’s love: ‘No matter what our hearts may charge us with, God is greater than our hearts’ (v. 20).

    “His grace is constantly at work in us, to strengthen our hope that his love will never be lacking, in spite of any sin we may have committed by rejecting his presence in our lives.

    “It is this hope that makes us realize at times that our life has lost its direction, as Peter did,” when he denied Jesus.

    “The crowing of the cock startles a man who is bewildered; he then recalls the words of Jesus, and at last the curtain is lifted. Peter begins to glimpse through his tears that God is revealed in Christ, who is buffeted and insulted, whom he himself has denied, yet who now goes off to die for him. Peter, who wanted to die for Jesus, now realizes that he must let Jesus die for him. Peter wanted to teach the Master; he wanted to go before him. Instead, it is Jesus who goes off to die for Peter. Peter had not understood this; he didn’t want to understand it.

    “Peter is now confronted with the Lord’s charity. Finally, he understands that the Lord loves him and asks him to let himself be loved. Peter realizes that he had always refused to let himself be loved. He had always refused to let himself be saved by Jesus alone, and so he did not want Jesus to love him completely.”

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    See also

    03/01/2018 13:24:00 VATICAN
    Pope: The penitential act, the courage to remove our mask and open up to the grace that renews our heart

    In  the first catechesis of the New Year, Pope Francis explains the gestures and words of the Introductory Rite of the Mass. "To reckon with our weakness,  opens our hearts to invoke the divine mercy that transforms and converts". Beating one's chest means recognizing that "I have sinned because of me, and not others". We are guilty of "omissions": "it is not enough not to harm others, we must choose to do good".

    17/03/2017 20:45:00 VATICAN
    Pope leads penitential liturgy

    Francis, who did not deliver the homily, was confessed for about five minutes and then confessed, for about 50 minutes, some of the faithful. This morning he said that the confessor must pray, discern – to avoid generalising – and remember that the confessional is also a place of evangelisation, because it allows an encounter with the true face of God, which is that of mercy.

    29/10/2017 14:04:00 VATICAN
    Pope: Without love, both life and faith remain sterile

    At the Angelus, Pope Francis emphasizes the way Jesus lived: "preaching and working for what really matters and is essential, that is, love." "Jesus wants to make it clear that without love of God and neighbor there is no true fidelity." "We need to receive in us the ability to love that comes from God Himself." In Brazil yesterday Murialdo priest Giovanni Schiavo, was beatified.

    09/02/2016 21:27:00 VATICAN
    For pope, the Missionaries of Mercy should bear witnesses of how God loves and forgives

    “[W]e are called to be the living expression of the Church that, as a mother, welcomes anyone who approaches her,” said the pontiff. “Being a confessor in accordance with Christ’s heart is like covering a sinner’s heart with the blanket of mercy, so that he or she may not feel ashamed anymore and regain the joy of their filial dignity". Sadly, “One can do a lot of harm to a soul if it is not accepted as by a father, as by a mother Church."

    17/03/2018 09:12:00 VATICAN - ITALY
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