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  • » 01/03/2018, 13.24


    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".

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The penitential act, the Introductory Rite of the Mass, was at the center of the meditation given by Pope Francis in the Paul VI audience today. In his first Wednesday audience of 2018 he dedicated his catechesis, to the meaning of the penitential act, pontiff presenting some figures of "penitents" present in the Bible, who "returning to themselves after having committed a sin find the courage to remove their mask and open up to the grace that renews the heart ". The Pope quoted King David, the prodigal son, the tax collector, Peter, Zacchaeus, the Samaritan woman. "To measure ourselves with the fragility of the clay with which we are made - he said - is an experience that strengthens us: while making us face with our weakness, it opens our hearts to invoke the divine mercy that transforms and converts".

    The Penitential Act, he explained, "favors the attitude with which to dispose oneself to worthily celebrate the Sacred Mysteries, that is, recognizing our sins before God and our brothers".

    "What can the Lord give to those who already have a heart full of themselves, of their own success? Nothing, because the conceited are unable to receive forgiveness, full of thier alleged justice. Let us think of the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, where only the latter returns home justified, that is, forgiven (cf. Lk 18: 9-14). Those who are aware of their own miseries and lower their eyes with humility, feel the merciful gaze of God resting on them. We know from experience that only those who can recognize their mistakes and apologize receive the understanding and forgiveness of others ".

    The Pope then emphasized the act of contrition, "pronounced in the first person singular" by the community, in which we "confess to God and to our brothers" to have greatly sinned in thoughts, words, deeds and omissions". Yes, even in omissions, namely to have failed to do the good that we could have done. We often feel good because – we say - 'I did not hurt anyone'. In reality, it is not enough not to hurt one's neighbor, one must choose to do good by seizing the opportunities to bear good witness that we are disciples of Jesus ".

    "The words we say with our mouths are accompanied by the gesture of beating our breasts, recognizing that I have sinned through my own fault, and not through the fault of others. It often happens that, for fear or shame, we point the finger to accuse others. It takes a lot to admit to being guilty, but it's good for us to confess it with sincerity ".

    "After the confession of sin, let us entreat the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Angels and the Saints to pray to the Lord for us. Also in this the communion of saints is precious: the intercession of these "friends and models of life" (Preface of 1 November) supports us on the path towards full communion with God, when sin will be definitively annihilated ".

    "The Penitential Act ends with the absolution of the priest, who invokes God Almighty so that He "may have mercy on us, forgive our sins and lead us to eternal life". This absolution "however does not have the same value as the Sacrament of Reconciliation" (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 51). In fact, there are serious sins, also called mortal sins, because they make the divine life die in us, which in order to be forgiven need Confession and Sacramental absolution ".

    Among the various formulas that can be used in the penitential act, the Pope also mentioned the Kyrie eleison: "with ancient Greek expression, we acclaim the Lord - Kyrios - and implore His mercy".

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    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.

    04/03/2016 20:19:00 VATICAN
    Pope: pastors should vet the “inflexibility" that hinders those who approach the confessional

    Francis celebrated a penitential liturgy during which he was confessed and confessed some of the faithful. "How easy and misguided it is to believe that life depends on what we have, on our successes and on the approval we receive; to believe that the economy is only for profit and consumption; that personal desires are more important than social responsibility! When we only look to ourselves, we become blind, lifeless and self-centred, devoid of joy and true freedom.”

    04/03/2016 19:24:00 VATICAN
    Pope: the confessor is an "instrument" of God who must be careful not to put up an obstacle to his mercy

    An “adequate and updated preparation” is need. In case absolution is not possible, one should “first of all look if there is a way. Many times, there is one. Secondly, one must not be tied only to the spoken word, but rather to the language of deeds. Thirdly, if one cannot give absolution, one must speak like a father: ‘Listen, I cannot do this for you, but I can assure you that God loves you, that God is waiting for you!"

    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."

    15/02/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: Confessing our sins restores us to communion with the Father
    At the Angelus, Benedict XVI recalls the gospel episode of the leper who is healed, to recall that it is sin, and not physical illness, that separates us from God. In his passion, Jesus "would become like a leper, made unclean by our sins, separated from God: he would do all of this for love, for the purpose of obtaining for us reconciliation, forgiveness, and salvation."

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