Saint for the Day

  • August 18—St. Helena, Empress; St. Agapetus, Martyr

    St. Helena, Empress

    IT was the pious boast of the city of Colchester, England, for many ages, that St. Helena was born within its walls; and though this honor has been disputed, it is certain that she was a British princess. She embraced Christianity late in life; but her incomparable faith and piety greatly influenced her son Constantine, the first Christian emperor, and served to kindle a holy zeal in the hearts of the Roman people. Forgetful of her high dignity, she delighted to assist at the Divine Office amid the poor; and by her alms-deeds showed herself a mother to the indigent and distressed. In her eightieth year she made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with the ardent desire of discovering the cross on which our blessed Redeemer suffered. After many labors, three crosses were found on Mount Calvary, together with the nails and the inscription recorded by the Evangelists. It still remained to identify the true cross of Our Lord. By the advice of the bishop, Macarius, the three were applied successively to a woman afflicted with an incurable disease, and no sooner had the third touched her than she arose, perfectly healed. The pious empress, transported with joy, built a, most glorious church on Mount Calvary to receive the precious relic, sending portions of it to Rome and Constantinople, where they were solemnly exposed to the adoration of the faithful. In the year 312 Constantine found himself attacked by Maxentius with vastly superior forces, and the very existence of his empire threatened. In this crisis he bethought him of the crucified Christian God Whom his mother Helena worshipped, and kneeling down, prayed God to reveal Himself and give him the victory. Suddenly, at noonday, a cross of fire was seen by his army in the calm and cloudless sky, and beneath it the words, In hoc signo vinces—”Through this sign thou shalt conquer.” By divine command, Constantine made a standard like the cross he had seen, which was borne at the head of his troops; and under this Christian ensign they marched against the enemy, and obtained a complete victory. Shortly after, Helena herself returned to Rome, where she expired, 328.

    ST. AGAPETUS suffered in his youth a cruel martyrdom at Præneste, now called Palestrina, twenty-four miles from Rome, under Aurelian, about the year 275. His name is famous in the ancient calendars of the Church of Rome. Two churches in Palestrina and others in other places are dedicated to God under his name.

    Reflection.—St. Helena thought it the glory of her life to find the cross of Christ, and to raise a temple in its honor. How many Christians in these days are ashamed to make this life-giving sign, and to confess themselves the followers of the Crucified!

    Cross of Jesus in Flowers

    Taken from the “Pictorial Lives of the Saints: with Reflections for Every Day in the Year”

     

     

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  • THE CRY OF THE SOULS IN PURGATORY TO US

    Purgatorynovena
    by Rev. John Evangelist Zollner, 1884

    “Friend, lend me three loaves.”–Luke, 11: 5

    The efficacy of continued, fervent prayer, our dear Lord one day illustrated to His disciples by a very consoling example: A man went to a friend’s house at midnight, asking him to lend him three loaves of bread, because he had nothing to set before a friend of his who had come off his journey to visit him. We may easily imagine, that this petition, at midnight, was very inopportune to the friend, who with his children, had retired to rest for the night; he, therefore, refused the petitioner, in these words: “Trouble me not, the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.”–Luke, 11:7. But he does not go away. On the contrary, he continues knocking the longer and louder, and because of his importunity, his friend rises from his couch more unwilling than willing, opens the door and gives him the three loaves. This petition, “Friend, lend me three loaves,” the souls detained in the prison of purgatory direct to us on this day of All Souls, for they are certainly in greater distress, and need our help far more, than the petitioner mentioned in the Gospel. They cry out to us at midnight, in the dark night, i. e., from the dismal prison in which they are detained; they call us their friends, and ask us to lend them three loaves of bread. Let us contemplate this cry for help of the suffering souls, and reflect upon it word for word. Let us consider–

    I. The word “Friend,”
    II. The word “Lend”
    III The word “Me” and finally,
    IV. The words “Three loaves.” 

    Part I -“Friend”

    The suffering souls in purgatory cry out to us: “Friend” and justly, for we are related to them both spiritually and corporally.

    1. Spiritually. Our spiritual relationship with the suffering souls consists in this, that we and they are members of the One Church, which will exist until the end of the world in a triple state; militant upon earth, suffering in purgatory, and triumphant in heaven. By reason of this triple relationship–

    (a) We believe that there is a place called purgatory, in which the souls who depart this life without being perfectly cleansed from all imperfections are detained and must suffer until they have fully satisfied the justice of God. This faith is founded upon Scripture, tradition, and reason. In the Old Testament we read: “It is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”–II. Mach. 12:46. St. Paul writes: “If any man’s works burn, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.”–I. Cor. 3: 1 5. The Apostle here speaks of a state in the other world, in which souls are tried by fire for some time; or, in other words, he speaks of purgatory. Of the Fathers of the Church who give testimony to the existence of purgatory, I shall mention only one, St. Gregory of Nyssa, who says: ” If any one has departed this life knowing the difference between virtue and vice, he cannot approach the Deity, until a purifying fire has obliterated the stains with which the soul is contaminated.” Reason also teaches us that there is a purgatory. How many people die who have not been guilty of mortal sins, but are not free from lesser faults. Where will they go? To heaven? Impossible, because nothing defiled can enter. To hell? By no means. For it would be contrary to the mercy and justice of God to condemn man to hell for all eternity on account of a few small faults, counterbalanced by a living faith and numerous good works. Therefore, there must be a middle place where souls are detained until they have rendered that fall satisfaction to God which they neglected here, after which they are admitted into heaven.

    (b) We hope that with the suffering souls we shall one day be admitted into heaven, for which we are still combating, and they suffering. Is it not just, that we assist those suffering souls as far as we can, to attain the happy end for which they sigh, and to which we also aspire, and where we wish one day to be united with them forever? Indeed, if any one would take no interest in the suffering souls, and do nothing for their relief and release, of him we should judge, that he is not solicitous either for his own salvation, and that he has no desire to be numbered among the elect in heaven. But such a disposition would evidently be unchristian, and would lead, not to heaven, but to hell.

    (c)  We love the suffering souls, and endeavor to help them as much as we can in their great need. Consider the members of a body, what sympathy one has for the other; how willingly they assist one another as often as is necessary. For instance, if a hand is wounded, is it not the eyes that carefully look at the wound, the tongue that asks for help, the feet that move to obtain the appropriate remedies, the other hand that applies the remedies? Now, since all Catholics, whether living upon earth, or suffering in purgatory, or triumphing in heaven, are members of one body, should there not be the same sympathy, the same love as amongst the members of a natural body? Should we not in particular willingly and with readiness succor the suffering souls in their utmost need? Would it not be a violation of Christian charity, if we should leave them without help in their need?

    2. Corporally. In a wider sense we are corporally related to the suffering souls, because we have a human nature in common with them, and like them are descendants of the first human pair, Adam and Eve. There subsists, however, a still closer corporal relationship between us and the suffering souls. There is scarcely one among us who has not lost by death a father or mother, or perhaps both parents, a brother or sister, a wife or husband, a son or a daughter, or other near relations. These departed souls, in all probability, do not yet enjoy the beatific vision; they are suffering perhaps for faults committed on your account; and should you be indifferent towards them?

    Should you neglect to console them in their abandonment and to assist them to reach heaven? Would this not be very uncharitable, would it not be sinning against the debt of gratitude which you owe them, since they, while on earth, did so much good for you? Would it be right for you, children, if you would scarcely ever say an Our Father for your parents, who during their life toiled so hard and did so much for you, and who, perhaps for faults committed on your account, are suffering in purgatory? Would you deserve the name of grateful children? And with what eyes would your parents look upon you, when you would meet them in eternity. Take care, then, that you do not violate the love and gratitude which you owe the suffering souls, who are spiritually and corporally related to you.

    Part II -“Lend”

    The suffering souls in purgatory do not cry out to us: “Give,” but “Lend.” They ask no help of us without requital, but only, so to say, to lend them help. What we do for them is, as it were, a capital, which will be returned to us with interest. The benefits which we confer on these suffering souls will be richly repaid,

    1. By themselves. When Joseph of Egypt was in prison he requested the chief butler of Pharaoh, to whom he had foretold his deliverance from prison and reinstatement in office: “Only remember me when it shall be well with thee, and do me this kindness, to put Pharaoh in mind to take me out of this prison.”–Gen. 40: II. But the butler forgot his benefactor for two years, and probably would have forgotten him forever if he had not been reminded of him by a special event. Not so the suffering souls. They do not forget us when all is well with them in heaven, but remember us in grateful love for the good we did them while in prison. They supplicate God graciously to keep from us all that might injure us in soul or body, to preserve us in his love, to grant us a happy death, and after our departure from this world to give us eternal rest and to let perpetual light shine upon us. We may also believe with many divines that the suffering souls even while in purgatory intercede with God for us and obtain many benefits for us; for although they are not able to help themselves or acquiremerits, they can pray for us, and since God loves them there is no doubt that he will graciously hear them. St. Catherine of Bologna testifies that she obtained many graces and benefits through the intercession of the suffering souls, even such as she could not obtain through the intercession of the Saints in heaven.

    2. From heaven. If we show ourselves merciful towards the suffering souls, we gain the gratitude of the whole heavenly court. The Angels and Saints will look down upon us with particular pleasure, because by the release of these souls we increase their number and also their joy in heaven. If according to the words of Christ they re joice so much over the conversion of one sinner, who, because he is yet capable of sins, is not entirely sure of heaven, how much more will they rejoice over the release of the suffering souls, since they are sure of their eternal salvation. We thereby even confer a favor upon our Blessed Lord himself, for He loves them and ardently desires to see them with him in heaven. Finally, by our mercy and compassion for the suffering souls we merit the love of the Blessed Trinity; for these souls, if I may be permitted to use the expression, are daughters of God the Father, sisters of God the Son, and spouses of God the Holy Ghost, and are deprived of the blessed vision of the most Holy Trinity, because they are yet defiled by the stains of some imperfections.

    Part III -“Me”

    Every soul suffering cries out to us: in order to express thereby her great torments. And really, their sufferings are great,

    (a) On account of the pain of loss, since they are banished from heaven and the vision of God, for whom they long most ardently. In order to conceive an idea of this pain, represent to yourselves a man who is tormented by the most violent hunger and the most burning thirst. He sees before him a table supplied with the best meats and viands, but he can touch nothing, although he knows that all has been prepared for him; will not his sorrow be very great? Behold, similarly situated are the suffering souls. Separated from the burden of the body, from sensual enjoyments and from all the distractions of the world, their thoughts are directed exclusively to God, the centre and object of all beauty and loveliness; they feel within themselves an irresistible impulse to be united with Him; they know, too, that they are destined to possess God and the unspeakable joys of heaven; how painful, therefore, must it be to them, that they cannot possess the object of their most ardent desires! How often and how fervently may they not sigh with the Psalmist: As the hart panteth after the fountains of water, so my soul panteth after thee. My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come, and appear before the face of God? My tears have been my bread day and night, whilst it is said to me daily: Where is thy God?”–Ps . 41: 2-4.

    2. On account of the pains of the sense, that is, on account of the real pains which they have to endure. The holy Fathers unanimously teach that these pains are very great, and that no earthly sufferings can be compared with them. St. Augustine says: “Although we are saved by fire, yet that fire will be more severe than all whatsoever man can endure in this life.” St. Gregory the Great says: “I believe that the passing fire (in purgatory) is more intolerable than every present pain.” Venerable Bede is of the opinion that no punishment of the martyrs can be compared with the purifying punishments of the suffering souls. From these and similar expressions of the holy Fathers we may infer the greatness of the pains which the suffering souls in purgatory have to endure. How great were the sufferings of the martyrs! We shudder when we hear or read of the tortures they endured! How much misery there is in this world! Who can describe the pains which people often have to endure in their sickness! And behold, these pains are nothing in comparison to what the souls in purgatory have to suffer. There is no difference between the pains of hell and those of purgatory except that the former will last forever, and the latter will end in glory; the souls of the damned suffer in despair, the souls in purgatory inflamed with love and comforted by angels. What wonder, then, that these poor souls stretch out their arms to us, exclaiming: “Me, me!” “Lend me!” “Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you, my friends, for the hand of the Lord has stricken me.” “O help me, because I am tormented without measure, and am unable to help myself. Help me, that I may be freed from my torments and may be permitted to enter into the eternal rest of heaven.”

    Part IV-” Three Loaves”

    What are these three loaves for which the suffering souls pray?

    1. The white bread, or the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Judas Machabeus had sacrifices offered for the dead, of which the Scripture says, that they were wholesome. Now, when the sacrifices of the Old Law, which consisted only of animals and fruits, were wholesome for the dead, what rich blessing must the adorable Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the crucified God-man, Jesus Christ Himself, afford to the suffering souls! Hence in the earliest ages of Christianity the Sacrifice of the Mass was offered for the dead. Thus Tertullian, in the second century, numbers it amongst the duties of a pious widow to have the Sacrifice of the Mass offered for her deceased husband on the anniversary of his death. St. Augustine declares prayer and sacrifice for the repose of the souls of the departed to be an Apostolic ordinance, saying: “Because it is observed in the whole world, that the Sacrifice is offered for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed, and prayers are said for them, we believe that it is an Apostolic Tradition; for it is everywhere observed by the Catholic Church.” From the most ancient liturgies we perceive, that from the beginning, as today, a memento was made for the dead, and the fruits of the Sacrifice of the Mass applied to them. Hence the Council of Trent teaches that the prayers of the faithful, but especially the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, are very useful to the souls in purgatory.

    2. The home-made bread , which we use daily, or Prayer, which we offer for the suffering souls, e.g., the “Our Father,” “Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them,” “a Rosary,” “the way of the Cross.” That our prayers are of benefit to the suffering souls is evident from the Sacred Scripture: “It is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from sins.” Prayer for the faithful departed was customary in the primitive ages of the Church, and St. Chrysostom expressly remarks that it was ordained by the Apostles that the departed should be remembered at the celebration of the holy mysteries. St. Ephrem, in his last testament, desires that prayers should be offered for him after his death. The emperor Constantine the Great ordained that his body should be interred in the Church, that he might become a participator in the prayers which the faithful say in that place. And St. Monica, shortly before her death, said to her son, St. Augustine: “Lay this body anywhere; be not concerned about that. The only thing I ask of you is, that you make remembrance of me at the altar of the Lord wheresoever you are.” St. Augustine scrupulously complied with the wish and mandate of his mother; he prayed for her himself and conjures all readers of his confessions to pray for her.

    3. The black bread , which is usually given to the poor, or alms. The constant belief of the Church proves that the souis in purgatory can be helped by alms and other works of mercy. St. Augustine says: “Without doubt the works of mercy whereby we recommend the departed (to God’s mercy) are of great advantage to them, but I speak of those departed, who have so spent their life, that after death they are not unworthy of such helps.” Again he says: “There is no doubt that the faithful departed are helped by the prayer of the Church, by the wholesome Sacrifice (Mass), and by alms, which are offered for them, so that God deals with them more according to his mercy than their sins have deserved.” And he adds: “The whole Church acts according to this Tradition which she has received from the Fathers.” If, then, you give alms, or perform other good works, and thereby have the intention that the fruits of these works be applied to the suffering souls, they are helped by them. This is particularly true of indulgences, which we can apply to the souls in purgatory by way of suffrage.

    PERORATION

    Let us then show sympathy and mercy to the souls in purgatory. Their cry to us is: “Friend,” lend me three loaves.” “Friend” because they are spiritually and corporally related to us, therefore, love and gratitude oblige us to succor them. “Lend” they cry out to us, because they, and the whole heavenly court, will return with interest the good we do them. “Me” they cry out to us, making known to us their great need, which is beyond expression, in order to move us to mercy and compassion. “Three loaves” they cry out, beseeching us to help them through the Sacrifice of the Mass, prayer, works of mercy and charity. Let us listen to their cry, and do what they so urgently and entreatingly ask of us. Not only to-day and during this week, but as long as we live, we should show ourselves merciful towards them, and do what we can to release them from their prison that they may enjoy the vision of God. The love and mercy shown to those poor souls will prove to be of benefit to ourselves, for the words of Christ will be accomplished in us: ” Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”–Matt 5: 7. Amen.
    Taken from- The Pulpit Orator, Containing, for Each Sunday of the Year, Seven Elaborate Skeleton Sermons 
    by – Johann Evangelist Zollner
  • pharisee and publican

    GOSPEL. Luke xviii. 9-14. At that time: To some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others, Jesus spoke this parable:Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee, standing, prayed thus with himself: O God! I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men: extortioners, unjust, adulterers: as also is this publican; I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven: but struck his breast, saying: O God! be merciful to me a sinner! I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other, because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

     

    Our Lord, after having spoken of faith and prayer, addressed Himself to those who thought themselves good and just, telling them the parable of the Pharisee and publican in the Temple. Two men went to the Temple to pray: one was a Pharisee, a proud man, who thought he had always done great things, who was puffed up with his good deeds and boasted of them even to God Himself. The Pharisee asked for nothing, but took all the glory to himself. He stood up right, head erect, and facing the altar, full of pride, he prayed in this manner: “God,” he said,

    “I give Thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men: extortioners, unjust, adulterers: as also is this publican; I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess.”

    What did he pray for? Really, nothing; he came to pray, but he broke out in praise of himself. May not this Pharisee be a picture of ourselves? May there not be also some Pharisees among us, my dear young friends? Are there not many who go to church to pray, but forget for what they are there? Ask that young man when he comes out of the church what favors he has asked of God at this most precious time of public prayer. You have been present at Mass, you have recited some prayers, but you did not think of what you were doing. St. Augustine says: “How can you expect that God will attend to your prayers when you do not think of them yourself?”

    Young people are very apt to enter a church just as the Pharisee did, as if they were going to a place of amusement; their genuflection is a careless jump before the Blessed Sacrament, their heads are raised, their eyes are wandering and in a few minutes they will be able to tell who is present; they notice who comes into the church, and who goes out, and all this while the holy sacrifice of the Mass is being offered. It is almost impossible to believe it: they are disrespectful here in their exterior deportment, but they would know very well how to behave in company or in the presence of some great one of the world. But many come to church to do worse than the Pharisee: they come to laugh, to talk, and to disturb others who wish to pray; they come to commit sin and make others commit it. The Apostle Paul cried out with zeal, “Have you not your homes, or do you despise the church of God?” as if he wanted to say, have you not places where you can talk and laugh, need you come to the house of God to do this? No good pastor can look at this without concern; he will not allow you to talk, he will step in at once with a reprimand or send you out of church as a punishment. “My house is the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves,” he would say, using the words of Our Lord when He drove the desecrators out of the Temple. The pagans shame us in this regard; they go to the temple of their false gods with reverence and respect; the Mohammedan never goes into his mosque without taking off his shoes at the entrance and washing his feet as a sign of respect. These idolaters worship false gods made of wood, stone or metal, but with such respect that our outward show of piety and devotion, in many cases, is inferior to theirs.

    Almighty God, who is thus carelessly treated by His worshippers, will not let such conduct pass unpunished. St. Chrysostom says that the reason of many of our calamities, wars, and famines, is because our churches are not held in sufficient respect, and kept exclusively for the purposes of prayer. Even Socrates, the pagan philosopher, asserts that the desecration of the temple is a sign of the anger of God, and foreshadows great calamities that are about to come upon the nation. The first Christians considered the churches heaven itself: here they came sprinkled with ashes, clothed in sackcloth, with a rope around their waist and humbly kissed the feet of the priest: not only did the common people do this, but even tyrants and kings.

    The Emperor Theodosius entered the cathedral of Milan in a poor garment, and when he came to the threshold fell flat on his face, repeating the words of the psalm: “I have been humbled, Lord, exceedingly; quicken Thou me according to Thy word.” He remained in that attitude during the sacred functions.

    St. Gregory of Nazianzen writes of his mother that she was so recollected in church that she never sat down, never spoke, never turned her back to the Blessed Sacrament.

    These examples show that in former times great outward respect was shown in church. I will not ask you to come to church covered with ashes or dressed in sackcloth; but when you are there assume a respectful posture and ask God to pardon your sins.

    Now let us go back to the Gospel; the Pharisee said, “I give Thee thanks that I am not like the rest of men.” What pride, what blindness this is! In reality this Pharisee was an impudent sinner. Here he was, in the presence of this great healer of the human race, standing before God with his soul stained by this dreadful malady of pride, yet he utters not a word to ask for help in the sickness of his soul. He should have opened his heart to God in groans and lamentations; he should have recognized the meanness of this vice, and begged of God the grace to overcome it; but the Pharisee never thought he was sinfully proud; that all the good in him was changed into wickedness by this vice.

    We sometimes feel about the same way, for how often do we hear as an excuse for the want of religion, “I do not steal, nor curse, nor get drunk. I do no man any injury.” Supposing you are all that you say, are you therefore free from sin? Are not the bad conversations held with your companions, sins? Are not bad thoughts which kill the soul, sins?

    I am ready to believe, my young friends, that you are not guilty of great sins, but even so, can you say, “I thank God, I am not like those other young men.” Just reflect for a moment: supposing you are not guilty of grave faults ought you on that account be proud? You know well enough that you lack much, as followers of Jesus Christ. You commit many venial sins; you know you tell many little lies; you are frequently disobedient; you have very little devotion, very little respect for God in church; you are careless at your prayers, and by these smaller sins, instead of advancing in the path of virtue, you are going back. Again, you say with some pride, we are not as bad as others, for we have not committed great crimes.

    If, my dear young people, by a special grace of God you have not, up to the present, fallen into certain great sins, yet if you continue in your cold way, you will in the course of years certainly fall into them. If pride is your governing vice, you will certainly come to a great fall, for it is the punishment of pride to descend into the most abject humiliation.

    In the lives of the Fathers, we read of a monk who lived a long time in the desert, doing great penance and practicing many virtues; but somehow he had not that humility which a holy man ought to possess. Almighty God wished to save him and so, to humble him, He sent him a temptation and the monk fell.

    Instead of keeping your eyes on the wicked so that you may say, “Thank God, I am not so bad as to be capable of doing that,” keep your eyes on young people who are virtuous and exemplary, and ask yourself why you are not as good as they are. These people are devout in church, they frequent the Sacraments, hear the word of God, are obedient to their superiors, patient, mild, polite and modest in thought, word and action. Am I like them? Remember you must acquire all the virtues of the good if you would be good yourself. Even supposing you are doing very well, that you appear to walk in the path of virtue, you cannot consider yourself perfect, and you cannot thank God that you are better than others; for after all you are only like a servant who has merely done his duty and is not worthy of special commendation for that.

    Athens was a great school of philosophy and many students flocked to it. In the first years the Athenian student boasted that he knew everything; some years later on he felt that he knew but little, and finally, compared to what he ought to know, he admitted that he knew nothing. It used to be said at that time that the student who had reached that pitch of philosophy was the one most applauded for his success.

    Solon, the Gentile philosopher, held this principle: “Of this,” said he, “I am sure, that I know nothing.” I think the same holds true of virtue; the greater opinion we have of our virtue the less we have of it.  “When you have done all that is required of you, say you are useless servants.”

    We have said enough of the proud Pharisee; let us now consider the publican. Who is that at the farthest end of the church? Why does he not come up and approach the altar? It is the poor, penitent publican. There he stands, beating his breast with shame, and with tearful eyes raised to heaven, cries, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Yes, truly he was a sinner; but he acknowledged himself as such, he bewailed his sins and received pardon for them at once. We ought to have that same feeling, that we are sinners; we should acknowledge that we are not fit to stand before God in His holy place. Let us with sorrow confess our sins to a priest and say,

    “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Make a good examination of conscience, that your sorrow may extend to all your faults, none forgotten and none concealed. Make up your mind firmly that you will hate these sins in the future; turn your eyes to the Heart of Jesus, and pray to Him that He, your Judge, may forgive you.  “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.” And when you rise from the feet of the priest, you will hear the sweet words, “Son, thy sins are forgiven thee, go in peace and sin no more.”

    St. Francis de Sales says, “When you go to confession, imagine you stand with your sins beneath the cross, that drops of blood are falling on your soul from the wounds of the dying Lord, washing away every stain of sin.”

    082-Celsiana