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Why Should I Go to Confession?

Image: Redd Angelo. Why Do I Need to Confess That? If anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure…to you all. —2 CORINTHIANS 2:5 Who do my sins hurt? Who do your sins hurt? Only you? A popular misconception is that our sins hurt only us. It’s common for me to hear someone say, “What’s the big deal with (blank)? I’m only hurting myself.” OK, I’ll say this as lovingly as I can: “That’s a crock!” Sin runs deeper than that.
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40 Days of Lent: Day 15

                  0:48                 POWERED BY WISTIA     Loading... Playing in 540p   ● Auto ○ 224p ○ 360p ○ 540p ○ 720p ○ 1080p   Switch to Flash   About Wistia              Make the Confiteor a daily prayer during Lent, and recite it in the morning or before bed. I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
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The Test of Gethsemane

Image: Agony in the Garden, Andrea Mantegna. Being Put to the Test "A common soldier dies without fear, but Jesus died afraid.” Iris Murdoch wrote those words and they teach one of the lessons of Gethsemane. The Garden of Gethsemane is also the place where we are put to the test. What does this mean?  The great spiritual writer Henri Nouwen once wrote a book, In Memoriam, within which he tried to come to grips with his mother’s death. The manner of her death had surprised him and left him struggling with some painful doubts and questions. Why? 
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St. Peter's Regret and Road to Redemption

Image: The Last Supper, Artist Unknown. Museu Nacional de Belas Artes. An incident in the Gospels can help us put the worst act we have ever committed into perspective. It’s what St. Peter did to the Lord on the evening of Holy Thursday. Peter, the leader of the apostles, did something he would never forget. On the night Jesus was arrested, he denied knowing him and being his disciple. And, shockingly, he did this three times. Worse yet, Peter was not being tortured (though many years later he would be, as would many Christians who were burned, beaten to death, or crucified for their faith).
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The Passion and the Cross

Image: Louis Moncouyoux. In the Gospels, Jesus tells us that there exists a certain secret, a hidden wisdom, which, should we grasp it, is the key to unraveling all the deep secrets of life. Conversely, should we miss it, we will never really understand life. However, for Jesus that secret is not some exotic, gnostic, or hidden code, accessible only to intellectual elites or certain religious cults. For Jesus, the hidden secret that holds the key to everything is the cross: the wisdom of the cross and the brokenness of the one who died on the cross. If we grasp that reality, we will have the key to understanding the rest of life; if we do not grasp that wisdom, the meaning of life will always be somewhat of a riddle to us.
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40 Days of Lent: Day 10

                            Get to daily Mass. If you can’t get to Mass daily, try at least to go on Fridays as well as Sunday in gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice. Maybe you can go another day or two per week as well.
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Seeking God through Prayer

Image: Stefan Kunze | unsplash.  Lent is supposed to be a time to fast, pray, and help those in need.The Gospel reading for today, Thursday of the first full week of Lent, focuses our attention on prayer. There are many types or prayer—praise, adoration, meditation, liturgical prayer, and so forth. Today, however, the focus is prayer of petition, asking God for our needs, or at least what we think we need. The first reading narrates how Queen Esther’s prayers were answered and how her people, in bondage, were saved from the wicked designs of Haman, the king’s official who wanted to kill all the Jews.
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Meditation: Prayer of the Heart

Our guest blogger is Laurence Freeman, OSB, author of Sensing God: Learning to Meditate During Lent. Image: Bara Cross How best to move forward with meditation? The way of meditation I would recommend is in many ways universal, but also an integral part of the Christian tradition of prayer. In this tradition it is called the “prayer of the heart.” This distinguishes it from either mental prayer or the external forms of worship with which many Christians have come to identify prayer.
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Self-Giving Love

Our guest blogger today is Edward Sri, author of Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love: Practical Insights from John Paul II's Love and Responsibility. Image: freestocks.org One of the chief hallmarks of the objective aspect of love is the gift of self. John Paul II teaches that what makes betrothed (married) love different from all other forms of love such as attraction, desire, and friendship is that two people give themselves to each other. They are not just attracted to each other, and they do not simply desire what is good for each other. In betrothed love, each person surrenders himself entirely to the other. Yet the very idea of self-giving love raises some important questions: How can one person give himself to another? What does this mean? After all, each human person is utterly unique.
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A World of Illiteracy

Image: Micah Hallahan. What God writes in the skies, the oceans, the wind, and the rain provides a glimpse of his purpose for our lives, rooted in his incomparably generous love. Since we are made in his image, this love gives meaning to our lives, so it makes sense to be on the lookout for signs of his presence in the world around us. In fact, recent scientific discoveries point resolutely to the existence of our Creator, revealing all the structures of the universe’s intelligent design by a “someone” with a purpose and a plan.
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