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Holy Confession — Apart from which you will never enter Heaven

St Cyprain of Carthage and the Necessity of Holy Confession

“Whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:27). But [the impenitent] spurn and despise all these warnings; before their sins are expiated, before they have made a confession of their crime, before their conscience has been purged in the ceremony and at the hand of the priest — they do violence to His Body and Blood, and with their hands and mouth they sin against the Lord more than when they denied Him.” (The Lapsed 15:1-3)

“Of how much greater faith and salutary fear are they who ... confess their sins to the priests of God in a straightforward manner and in sorrow, making an open declaration of conscience. God cannot be mocked or outwitted, nor can he be deceived by any clever cunning ... Indeed, he but sins the more if, thinking that God is like man, he believes that he can escape the punishment of his crime by not openly admitting his crime — I beseech you, brethren, let everyone who has sinned confess his sin while he is still in this world, while his confession is still admissible, while the satisfaction and remission made through the priests are still pleasing before the Lord.” (The Lapsed 28) 

ST. CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE (250 AD)
 

It is Lent — perhaps the last Lent for many of us (or, indeed, all of us). Let us repent with all our hearts and souls and minds and being; let us do penance while yet we may ... for to no man is assured tomorrow  — indeed, not so much as the next instant. Let us confess our sins to God through His holy priest in the sacred Tribunal of Penance — for while the way is hard for so many because our lives have been evil, the mercy of God is abundant, and far exceeds our sins and even the depth of our sorrow.

Unless we sorrow and repent we will die in our sins.

Behold I set forth in your sight this day a blessing and a curse: A blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: A curse, if you obey not the commandments of the Lord your God, but revolt from the way which now I show you.” (Deuteronomy 11.26)

God sets a choice before you and you alone must choose. The blessing is Life Everlasting in Heaven. The curse is “the Second Death” 1, from which none return, but everlastingly abide. Holy Scripture speaks of it as “the fiery lake of burning sulfur”.

It is Hell. And the way to it is obduracy in sin and impenitence before God. And this is the mystery of sin: many — not some — choose it 2 . Christ warned us of this. But God’s forgiveness yet awaits you in the Confessional — even as you read this! There is still time! Let us receive His absolution while we may — for the days are evil and even now it would seem that they are numbered.

 

Geoffrey K. Mondello
Editor
editor@boston-catholic-journal.com 
Boston Catholic Journal
March 9, 2019

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1  Apocalypse 2:11, 20:6, 20:14 and 21:8

Saint Matthew 7.13

 

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