Spiritual Reading for Easter Friday ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Spiritual Reading

CONFESSION

IV. — PURPOSE OF AMENDMENT: FIRM, UNIVERSAL, EFFICACIOUS.

In the third place, a purpose to sin no more is necesary for a good Confession; and this purpose must be firmuniversal, and efficacious.

First, it must be firm. Some say: I would wish never more to commit this sin: I would wish never more to offend God. Alas this expression, I would wish; denotes that the purpose is not firm. In order to have; a firm purpose, you must say with a resolute will: I will never more commit this sin: I will never more deliberately offend God.

Secondly, it must be universal. The penitent must purpose to avoid all sins without exception, that is, all mortal sins. With regard to venial sins, it is sufficient for the validity of the Sacrament to have sorrow for one species of them, and to have a firm purpose to avoid it. Spiritual souls should purpose to avoid all deliberate venial sins; and with regard to indeliberate venial sins, it is enough to resolve to guard against them according to the best of their ability; for it is impossible to avoid all indeliberate sins.

Thirdly, the purpose of avoiding sin must be efficacious; that is, it must make the penitent adopt the means of not relapsing into the sins that he confesses, and must make him avoid the proximate occasions of a relapse. An occasion is called proximate in which a person has frequently fallen into grievous sin, or has been, without a just cause, an occasion of sin to others. It is not enough for penitents to purpose merely to renounce sin: it is necessary also to resolve to remove the occasion of it; otherwise all their confessions, though they should receive a thousand absolutions, will be invalid: for not to remove the proximate occasion of mortal sin is in itself a mortal sin. And, as I have already shown in my Moral Theology (Lib. 6, n. 454), he that receives absolution without a firm purpose of removing the proximate occasion of mortal sins, commits a new mortal sin, and is guilty of sacrilege.

But some one may say: If I separate from such a person, if I give up such a familiarity, scandal will be the consequence, and it will be an occasion of talk. I answer: You are wrong; you will, on the contrary, give scandal by not removing the occasion, to those who are aware of the friendship; and be assured, that although they may not speak in your presence, they think your conduct deserving of blame. But you will say: To separate from such a one would be an act of incivility, and even of ingratitude, for such a one assists, serves me, and relieves me. Yes, such a one helps to remove you from God, and to make you lead an unhappy life here, and a more unhappy life hereafter. Is it incivility or ingratitude to avoid such a person?

Civility and gratitude are first due to Jesus Christ, Who is a Sovereign of infinite Majesty, and from Whom we have received immense benefits. Do you not then see that it is passion makes you speak in this manner, and makes you seek pretexts in order to bring you to eternal perdition? Ah! give no more pain to the Heart of Jesus Christ. To St. Ludgard, while she was miserably entangled in a dangerous friendship, Jesus appeared, and showed her His Heart grievously wounded. The Saint began to weep over her fault, and took leave of her friend, saying that she could love no other than Jesus Christ, to Whom she had been espoused. Thenceforward she consecrated herself entirely to the love of her Spouse, and became a Saint.

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