“The fear you say you have about sins committed in the past is deceptive and is a genuine torment caused by the devil. Haven’t you already confessed those sins? Well, what are you afraid of? Let that whole sad affair go once and for all, and instead open your heart wide to a holy and boundless confidence in Jesus. Trust that he is not the cruel bill collector that the devil makes him out to be. Rather he is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world, interceding with unspeakable groans for our salvation.” St. Padre Pio
Yes, this spiritual tip from St. Padre Pio reminds us that Jesus Christ, as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, is the Good High Priest, and He came into the world to save sinners. In the Gospel of today’s Mass, Jesus, at the calling of St. Matthew, speaks the following:
At that time, Jesus saw a man sitting in the custom house, named Matthew; and he saith to him: “Follow me.” And he arose up and followed him. And it came to pass as he was sitting at meat in the house, behold many publicans and sinners came, and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.
And the Pharisees seeing it, said to his disciples: “Why doth your master eat with publicans and sinners?” But Jesus hearing it, said: “They that are in health need not a physician, but they that are ill. Go then and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I am not come to call the just, but sinners.” Matt. 9:9-13 source
“I am not come to call the just, but sinners.”
If you have a fear of, and/or questions regarding, the sacrament of Confession, here is a link to a series of (consoling) talks on Confession by Fr. Hugh Thwaites, S.J.. Note: after opening link, open audio. Then, open Rev. Hugh Thwaites, S.J. Scroll down to his Talks on Confession: link.
Today, is an Ember Day. Ember Days are no longer mandated in the Church, but they seem to be making a comeback. At Sunday Mass, the priest spoke about these days as Bishop David Zubik, of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, has asked his priests to honor the Ember Days (read here) as a tangible response to the current crisis in the Church.
The following articles explain the Ember Days: link and link.
May you have a beautiful day, and good weekend.
•More spiritual tips: link
•Additional reading from The Baltimore Catechism #3, Lesson 7 on the Incarnation and Redemption:
Q. 318. What does “incarnation” mean, and what does “redemption” mean?
A. “Incarnation” means the act of clothing with flesh. Thus Our Lord clothed His divinity with a human body. “Redemption” means to buy back again.
Q. 319. Did God abandon man after he fell into sin?
A. God did not abandon man after he fell into sin, but promised him a Redeemer, who was to satisfy for man’s sin and reopen to him the gates of heaven.
Q. 320. What do we mean by the “gates of heaven”?
A. By the “gates of heaven” we mean the divine power by which God keeps us out of heaven or admits us into it, at His pleasure.
Q. 321. Who is the Redeemer?
A. Our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of mankind.
Q. 322. What does the name “Jesus” signify and how was this name given to Our Lord?
A. The name “Jesus” signifies Savior or Redeemer, and this name was given to Our Lord by an Angel who appeared to Joseph and said: “Mary shall bring forth a Son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus.”
Q. 323. What does the name “Christ” signify?
A. The name “Christ” means the same as Messiah, and signifies Anointed; because, as in the Old Law, Prophets, High Priests and Kings were anointed with oil; so Jesus, the Great Prophet, High Priest and King of the New Law, was anointed as man with the fullness of divine power.
Q. 324. How did Christ show and prove His divine power?
A. Christ showed and proved His divine power chiefly by His miracles, which are extraordinary works that can be performed only by power received from God, and which have, therefore, His sanction and authority.
Q. 325. What, then, did the miracles of Jesus Christ prove?
A. The miracles of Jesus Christ proved that whatever He said was true, and that when He declared Himself to be the Son of God He really was what He claimed to be.
Q. 326. Could not men have been deceived in the miracles of Christ?
A. Men could not have been deceived in the miracles of Christ because they were performed in the most open manner and usually in the presence of great multitudes of people, among whom were many of Christ’s enemies, ever ready to expose any deceit. And if Christ performed no real miracles, how, then, could He have converted the world and have persuaded sinful men to give up what they loved and do the difficult things that the Christian religion imposes?
Q. 327. Could not false accounts of these miracles have been written after the death of Our Lord?
A. False accounts of these miracles could not have been written after the death of Our Lord; for then neither His friends nor His enemies would have believed them without proof. Moreover, the enemies of Christ did not deny the miracles, but tried to explain them by attributing them to the power of the devil or other causes. Again, the Apostles and the Evangelists who wrote the accounts suffered death to testify their belief in the words and works of Our Lord.
Q. 328. Did Jesus Christ die to redeem all men of every age and race without exception?
A. Jesus Christ died to redeem all men of every age and race without exception; and every person born into the world should share in His merits, without which no one can be saved.
Q. 329. How are the merits of Jesus Christ applied to our souls?
A. The merits of Jesus Christ are applied to our souls through the Sacraments, and especially through Baptism and Penance, which restore us to the friendship of God.
Q. 330. What do you believe of Jesus Christ?
A. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, true God and true man.
Q. 331. Cannot we also be called the Children of God, and therefore His sons and daughters?
A. We can be called the Children of God because He has adopted us by His grace or because He is the Father who has created us; but we are not, therefore, His real Children; whereas, Jesus Christ, His only real and true Son, was neither adopted nor created, but was begotten of His Father from all eternity.
Q. 332. Why is Jesus Christ true God?
A. Jesus Christ is true God because He is the true and only Son of God the Father.
Q. 333. Why is Jesus Christ true man?
A. Jesus Christ is true man because He is the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary and has a body and soul like ours.
Q. 334. Who was the foster father or guardian of Our Lord while on earth?
A. St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin, was the foster-father or guardian of Our Lord while on earth.
Q. 335. Is Jesus Christ in heaven as God or as man?
A. Since His Ascension Jesus Christ is in heaven both as God and as man.
Q. 336. How many natures are there in Jesus Christ?
A. In Jesus Christ there are two natures, the nature of God and the nature of man.
Q. 337. Is Jesus Christ more than one person?
A. No. Jesus Christ is but one Divine Person.
Q. 338. From what do we learn that Jesus Christ is but one person?
A. We learn that Jesus Christ is but one person from Holy Scripture and from the constant teaching of the Church, which has condemned all those who teach the contrary.
Q. 339. Was Jesus Christ always God?
A. Jesus Christ was always God, as He is the second person of the Blessed Trinity, equal to His Father from all eternity.
Q. 340. Was Jesus Christ always man?
A. Jesus Christ was not always man, but became man at the time of His Incarnation.
Q. 341. What do you mean by the Incarnation?
A. By the Incarnation I mean that the Son of God was made man.
Q. 342. How was the Son of God made man?
A. The Son of God was conceived and made man by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Q. 343. Is the Blessed Virgin Mary truly the Mother of God?
A. The Blessed Virgin Mary is truly the Mother of God, because the same Divine Person who is the Son of God is also the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Q. 344. Did the Son of God become man immediately after the sin of our first parents?
A. The Son of God did not become man immediately after the sin of our first parents, but was promised to them as a Redeemer.
Q. 345. How many years passed from the time Adam sinned till the time the Redeemer came?
A. About 4,000 years passed from the time Adam sinned till the time the Redeemer came.
Q. 346. What was the moral condition of the world just before the coming of Our Lord?
A. Just before the coming of Our Lord the moral condition of the world was very bad. Idolatry, injustice, cruelty, immorality and horrid vices were common almost everywhere.
Q. 347. Why was the coming of the Redeemer so long delayed?
A. The coming of the Redeemer was so long delayed that the world — suffering from every misery — might learn the great evil of sin and know that God alone could help fallen man.
Q. 348. When was the Redeemer promised to mankind?
A. The Redeemer was first promised to mankind in the Garden of Paradise, and often afterward through Abraham and his descendants, the patriarchs, and through numerous prophets.
Q. 349. Who were the prophets?
A. The prophets were inspired men to whom God revealed the future, that they might with absolute certainty make it known to the people.
Q. 350. What did the prophets foretell concerning the Redeemer?
A. The prophets, taken together, foretold so accurately all the circumstances of the birth, life, death, resurrection and glory of the Redeemer that no one who carefully studied their writings could fail to recognize Him when He came.
Q. 351. Have all these prophecies concerning the Redeemer been fulfilled?
A. All the prophecies concerning the Redeemer have been fulfilled in every point by the circumstances of Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection and glory; and He is, therefore, the Redeemer promised to mankind from the time of Adam.
Q. 352. Where shall we find these prophecies concerning the Redeemer?
A. We shall find these prophecies concerning the Redeemer in the prophetic books of the Bible or Holy Scripture.
Q. 353. If the Redeemer’s coming was so clearly foretold, why did not all recognize Him when He came?
A. All did not recognize the Redeemer when He came, because many knew only part of the prophecies; and taking those concerning His glory and omitting those concerning His suffering, they could not understand His life.
Q. 354. How could they be saved who lived before the Son of God became man?
A. They who lived before the Son of God became man could be saved by believing in a Redeemer to come, and by keeping the Commandments.
Q. 355. On what day was the Son of God conceived and made man?
A. The Son of God was conceived and made man on Annunciation Day — the day on which the Angel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was to be the Mother of God.
Q. 356. On what day was Christ born?
A. Christ was born on Christmas Day, in a stable at Bethlehem, over nineteen hundred years ago.
Q. 357. Why did the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph go to Bethlehem just before the birth of Our Lord?
A. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph went to Bethlehem in obedience to the Roman Emperor, who ordered all his subjects to register their names in the towns or cities of their ancestors. Bethlehem was the City of David, the royal ancestor of Mary and Joseph, hence they had to register there. All this was done by the Will of God, that the prophecies concerning the birth of His Divine Son might be fulfilled.
Q. 358. Why was Christ born in a stable?
A. Christ was born in a stable because Joseph and Mary were poor and strangers in Bethlehem, and without money they could find no other shelter. This was permitted by Our Lord that we might learn a lesson from His great humility.
Q. 359. In giving the ancestors or forefathers of Our Lord, why do the Gospels give the ancestors of Joseph, who was only Christ’s foster-father, and not the ancestors of Mary, who was Christ’s real parent?
A. In giving the ancestors of Our Lord, the Gospels give the ancestors of Joseph: (1) Because the ancestors of women were not usually recorded by the Jews; and (2) Because Mary and Joseph were members of the same tribe, and had, therefore, the same ancestors; so that, in giving the ancestors of Joseph, the Gospels give also those of Mary; and this was understood by those for whom the Gospels were intended.
Q. 360. Had Our Lord any brothers or sisters ?
A. Our Lord had no brothers or sisters. When the Gospels speak of His brethren they mean only His near relations. His Blessed Mother Mary was always a Virgin as well before and at His birth as after it.
Q. 361. Who were among the first to adore the Infant Jesus?
A. The shepherds of Bethlehem, to whom His birth was announced by Angels; and the Magi or three wise men, who were guided to His crib by a miraculous star, were among the first to adore the Infant Jesus. We recall the adoration of the Magi on the feast of the Epiphany, which means appearance or manifestation, namely, of Our Savior.
Q. 362. Who sought to kill the Infant Jesus?
A. Herod sought to kill the Infant Jesus because he thought the influence of Christ — the new-born King — would deprive him of his throne.
Q. 363. How was the Holy Infant rescued from the power of Herod?
A. The Holy Infant was rescued from the power of Herod by the flight into Egypt, when St. Joseph — warned by an Angel — fled hastily into that country with Jesus and Mary.
Q. 364. How did Herod hope to accomplish his wicked designs?
A. Herod hoped to accomplish his wicked designs by murdering all the infants in and near Bethlehem. The day on which we commemorate the death of these first little martyrs, who shed their blood for Christ’s sake, is called the feast of Holy Innocents.
Q. 365. How may the years of Christ’s life be divided?
A. The years of Christ’s life may be divided into three parts:
1. His childhood, extending from His birth to His twelfth year, when He went with his parents to worship in the Temple of Jerusalem.
2. His hidden life, which extends from His twelfth to His thirtieth year, during which time He dwelt with His parents at Nazareth.
3. His public life, extending from His thirtieth year — or from His baptism by St. John the Baptist to His death; during which time He taught His doctrines and established His Church.
Q. 366. Why is Christ’s life thus divided?
A. Christ’s life is thus divided to show that all classes find in Him their model. In childhood He gave an example to the young; in His hidden life an example to those who consecrate themselves to the service of God in a religious state; and in His public life an example to all Christians without exception.
Q. 367. How long did Christ live on earth?
A. Christ lived on earth about thirty-three years, and led a most holy life in poverty and suffering.
Q. 368. Why did Christ live so long on earth?
A. Christ lived so long on earth to show us the way to heaven by His teachings and example.