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The Death Of A Distinguished Person

February 19, 2021 Frontpage No Comments


A very holy young priest who loved the souls of his parishioners made an announcement one Sunday morning after Mass. He said, “A distinguished person of the parish has died. The funeral will be held Wednesday at nine o’clock.”
Since Father never mentioned the distinguished person’s name, the whole parish was abuzz about who the person might be. They tried and tried to figure it out but couldn’t, so curiosity filled the church on Wednesday morning. In fact, the church was so full that people had to stand in the back.
When the casket was opened, the people filed past to see the remains of the distinguished person. Many people gasped in surprise as they looked into the casket.
After the Mass, the young priest said to the people, “As you looked into the casket, you saw that the dead person was you. I borrowed this casket and placed a mirror in it so you could see yourself. You, my children, are spiritually dead, so I thought I would bury you. Week after week I sit alone in the confessional, praying for you to come unburden yourselves of your sins, and week after week I see you receiving our Lord in the Eucharist when I know few of you are worthy. So this Mass was said for all of you.”
The young priest was never alone in the confessional again.
We have become products of our modern culture and society. As Pope Pius XII said, we have lost our sense of sin. Whereas sin should fill us all with horror, instead we pretty much ignore it. We have become a people who make moral judgments more from convenience than from a well-formed conscience.
We live in bad marriages, yet receive Communion. We use artificial contraceptives, yet receive Communion. We make use of pornography, yet receive Communion. We treat sex as a recreational activity and do so outside the bonds of Matrimony, yet receive Communion. We vote for candidates who promote abortion, contraception, and homosexuality, yet receive Communion. We skip Sunday and Holy Days Mass, yet when we do go to Mass we receive Communion. We commit serious sin but think it’s okay as long as we go to Confession, yet we receive Communion. We belong to forbidden societies, such as Freemasonry, yet we receive Communion. We disrespect our parents, elders, priests and bishops, or other legitimate authority, yet we receive Communion.
We wish evil on or desire revenge against others, yet we receive Communion. We look at other people with lustful intentions, yet we receive Communion. We willingly become an occasion of sin for others by dressing immodestly, yet we receive Communion. We steal by failing to do sufficient work for the wages we’re paid, yet we receive Communion. We unjustly injure the reputation of others by exposing their faults without necessity, yet we receive Communion. We rashly misjudge others because we don’t know “the whole story,” yet we receive Communion. We fail to fast and abstain when required to do so, yet we receive Communion. We go to Communion in a state of mortal sin and commit one sacrilege after another, yet we compound it every week when we continue to receive Communion.
As the holy young priest pointed out to his parishioners, we are dead . . . spiritually dead. Despite that we know this, we continue to live as if we have all the time in the world. Death is no respecter of persons. I could die before finishing the next word . . . or you could die before reading it. My son was thirty-eight years old and the picture of health, but he simply failed to wake up one morning. My father was only fifty-two and fit as a fiddle, but he was found on the kitchen floor. We have all known people who died of sudden, unexpected deaths, yet we seem to think and live as if it won’t happen to us.
John Henry Cardinal Newman once said the greatest tragedy in the Church is the ignorance of the laity. Although Blessed Newman’s words were absolutely correct, I think that willful lack of knowledge has led to something much worse — our prideful refusal to avail ourselves of the great benefits and graces of the confessional. That prideful refusal is causing far too many souls to go to Hell, souls who in this life mistakenly believed they would go to Heaven when they died.
Your priest loves your soul more than he loves life. Do you want to know how I know that? Priests are incredibly gifted and talented men. Every one of them I’ve ever known could have been captains of industry, mega-wealthy entrepreneurs, famous research scientists, doctors, lawyers, or any other successful position they wanted to be in. But that’s not what they did. They chose to become priests of the living God, which is a humble and extremely demanding vocation that pays squat and is thankless and under-appreciated. They became priests to serve both God and you. That’s how I know your priest loves your soul more than he loves his own life.
I’ve asked one question of almost every priest I’ve ever known: When do you most feel like a priest? Without exception, every single time a priest has told me he feels most like a priest in the confessional…when he can forgive people’s sins in Christ’s name and in His stead.
The holy Catholic Church only requires us by canon law to go to Confession once a year, during the Easter time, but that is only a minimum for the sake of our immortal souls and not the Church’s heart. The Church’s heart strongly recommends we go to Confession at least once a month, and she is most pleased if we avail ourselves of the life-changing benefits of the confessional once a week.
When you go to Confession to the same priest with frequency and regularity, that priest begins to know your soul the way you come to know a person who becomes your good friend. As he gets to know your soul, he is able to help you grow, improve, and learn as a person, and to become holy in the sight of God. Availing yourself of God’s mercy in the confessional only takes a few moments out of your day. And everything you tell the priest goes to his grave with him. In the entire history of the Catholic Church, not once has there been a documented case of a priest revealing what he’s learned in the confessional, as to do so would cause him to be defrocked and excommunicated.
Not even the greatest renegade, Martin Luther, revealed anything he ever heard in Confession. But there have been thousands of priests in our history who suffered torture and martyrdom rather than reveal what they have heard when souls unburden themselves of sin.
Find out today when Father will be hearing Confessions again and commit yourself to going. If you know your soul is in a state of mortal sin, call him today and make an appointment to let him show you God’s mercy in the confessional. He won’t mind taking time out of his busy day to hear your Confession.
If you have a question or comment you can reach out to me through the “Ask Joe” page of, or you can email me at
Hey, how would you like to see things like this article every week in your parish bulletin as an insert? You or your pastor can learn more about how to do that by emailing me at

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