“If the serpent, the devil, bites someone secretly, he infects that person with the venom of sin. And if the one who has been bitten keeps silence and does not do penance, and does not want to confess his wound . . . then his brother and his master, who have the word [of absolution] that will cure him, cannot very well assist him” (Commentary on Ecclesiastes 10:11 [A.D. 388]).

I love the way the Holy Spirit is always present in my life – offering me guidance, wisdom, strength. I also find it appropriate that soon after the “celebration” of my son’s 21st birthday, how the readings this week really emphasize the need for the sacrament of confession. Heck, during my daughter’s district basketball game last night, my wife and my daughter got into the discussion with my two eldest sons about confession and how we shouldn’t take “advantage” of God and His Mercy as a way of doing wrong – purposefully – and saying “I’ll be alright – I’ll just go to confession.” I am still thinking about that this morning.

So I find it rather appropriate that I woke up to our readings that will be professed at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today. I kept thinking last night that we need to take advantage of God’s great Mercy through the sacrament of Confession, that’s why it was given to us. I have conflicting thoughts about all of this because we are told, not IF you fall but WHEN you fall, get up and seek the Mercy of our EVERfogiving God. I also understand the point made that Confession shouldn’t be used to our advantage to justify debaucherous behavior with the understanding that “Hey, sin on Saturday, be wiped clean on Sunday – see you again next Saturday.”

With that in mind, I started researching the Catholic Churches thoughts and understanding of this Sacrament. I found a number of good links to go to, but wanted to share this one with you this morning. This link goes back to the earliest days of the Church and offers a number of quotes for our early Church leaders and what was taught to the first members of the Catholic faith.

What the early Church Believed about the Sacrament of Confession

Do something great for our Lord today – repent and believe in the Gospel. Get to Mass; get to Confession and get to living the life God has created just for you.

I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

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