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Confession And Eucharistic Coherence

July 8, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

There has been much talk of Holy Communion in recent days, but very little of the Sacrament of Confession by comparison. We have seen the tussle within the USCCB leading up to their June discussion over crafting a “Eucharistic coherence” document, which motion passed and therefore perhaps, as a result, we’ll see something come of it in November.
Meanwhile the whole issue started because of those who, despite being conspicuously unworthy, are conspicuously receiving Our Lord in the Sacrament. To make matters worse, a number of these, such as Biden, Pelosi, and Lieu among 60 other Democrats, are publicly and defiantly doubling down.
They have made clear that they will decide their own worthiness to receive our Lord, despite opposing His teaching on key moral issues touching on redefining marriage, the marital act, and human life and dignity.
What’s all the fuss about? It is morally and intellectually incoherent to support killing, sodomy, and elective sexual mutilation of the body while receiving the Holy Eucharist. One cannot honestly claim communion with Christ by means of grace, most perfectly achieved by means of receiving Him in the Eucharist, while violating the bond of love with Him by disobedience to His Commandments.
As Christ taught, loving Him is defined by our adhesion to the way of life spelled out in the Decalogue, as well as all of His moral precepts handed down by the Church’s Magisterium. “If you love me you will keep my Commandments.”
The sacrament needed by those who commit or support evil by thought, word, or deed is Confession, not Communion. When we reject Him by knowingly choosing to do something sinful, we have recourse in Him for returning to a state of grace by means of the magnificent sacrament of His forgiveness won for us by His death on the cross.
Those not in a state of grace due to mortal sin must abstain from receiving the Body of the Lord, as taught by St. Paul. He counsels us to “discern” the Body and Blood of the Lord by first examining ourselves.
Examination of conscience is how we describe the spiritual exercise undertaken to prepare either for worthily receiving the Eucharist or for making a good Confession. The latter is necessary upon discovering that our conscience, our last best judgment, establishes that we have acted or thought sinfully in a grave matter with sufficient reflection and full consent of the will.
In their discussion of Communion, one would suppose that the bishops will again catechize us on the purpose of the Holy Eucharist, which is to build up the graces given to each soul for the first time in Baptism.
Baptism is given to redeem the soul, born with the stain of original sin, through the graces poured forth by the death and Resurrection of the Lord. “Dying He destroyed our death and rising He restored our life.”
Eucharistic coherence means receiving the superabundant life of God, by means of His true and real Presence in the Eucharist, in this state of grace first conferred by Baptism, to be built up as a river “welling up to Eternal Life.”
The objective of all we do as Catholic Christians is to one day live forever in the “love of God poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us,” beginning such already primarily by means of the sacraments which come through the Church.
Though we will inevitably as Catholic faithful be engaged in worldly matters as necessary for the needs of the body, we should never neglect the simple practical matters of living out our faith for the sake of our souls. For this we remain loyal to Christ, persevering in clinging to Him as the way, the truth and the life.
Care for the body must be balanced by and not take precedence over that for the soul: The salvation of souls is the highest law of the Church. For this reason a Catholic who would be truly faithful must never allow anything else to replace this matter of first importance.
Confession is much neglected in these times of rampant heresy and apostasy, also within the Church hierarchy. Numberless commentators and pastors have remarked time and again on the long lines for Communion and the concomitant massive neglect of Reconciliation.
We all know the statistics on the plague of porn, for example. The sins of society afflict Catholics as much as anyone else due to the ubiquitous cell phone and Internet. We must preach and exemplify the freedom from addiction to sins of all kinds in order to call the complacent to hope through the regular and proper practice of Confession.
A falling off in the practice of examination of conscience accompanies a falling off in Confessions. Parish bulletins and homilies can treat regularly of these themes to keep the discussion and discernment ongoing.
The following is a suggested text for use in these fora and might be entitled, “How often should I go to Confession?”
“Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church. For this reason conversion entails both God’s forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church, which are expressed and accomplished liturgically by the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1440).
“Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: Above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the Sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification” (CCC, n. 1446).
According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year” (CCC, n. 2042, Code of Canon Law 989).
“Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession” (CCC, n. 1457, see also Code of Canon Law 916).
“Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament of the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful” (CCC, n. 1458).
What does this mean practically?
First: Upon becoming conscious of having committed a mortal sin, go to Confession as soon as possible. Do not receive Holy Communion until you do so.
Second: At an absolute minimum, you must go at least once a year as per the precept (commandment) of the Church.
Third: Most pastors and confessors would agree that by regular or frequent Confession is meant at least once a month and not more than two months between Confessions. Even weekly Confession is encouraged, especially if you are trying to overcome a particular sin or fault that is holding you back from growing spiritually.
Eucharistic coherence begins in cohering with the Commandments and seeking out Confession as soon as possible when we have failed to do so.
Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
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