Saving Graces

new mercies each and every day

Confession: Why I’m Catholic 1


I get to work and find my sister has sent me an email with the subject line, “watch it all please with an open mind” and I just know its something to do with the Church or its a joke. It was the former and in the body was a link to I decided to do so with an “open mind”; which I did, and then I decided to “reply” her. I also decided why not start a new mini-series on it about why I am Catholic because there is no way I’d respond to everything in one email, or as it may be here, in one post. Hence this is instalment one of ‘Why I am Catholic’. Be warned I am no scripture scholar so if I am wrong do post a comment. I sent her the following:

I have come across some of these “ideas” before this and I did read with an open mind, so here are some counter arguments. If you will allow me to do so I’ll write this over time and give a bit of info in each session, I’ll probably post on my blog as well 😀 I know its a long answer, but do read it, it may not be eloquent but I’ll give it a bash, even the links are important so click through…

One main point raised is:
Only God can forgive sins – and I say right on! Yes only He can forgive sins, and He said anything you ask in my name will be granted you. During confession the priest says “May God forgive your sins in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit….” we invoke His name, how is this different from someone who commands a devil or sickness to leave someone else in the name of Jesus… when we sin it is like a debt to God, if I have a debt to you can I give the money to someone else and say the debt has been paid? No! I have to give back to him I owe, to God who can forgive me my debt or accept the payment for it. He and He alone.

Here is a link from the catechism. It explains better what we actually subscribe to.

Our Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”Mk 16:15-16 Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that “we too might walk in newness of life.”Rom 6:4; Cf. 4:25. After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles “so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.”Lk 24:47.

This article is a bit more learned than I am 🙂

Another reason I’m catholic goes not only on what i believe, but what god has revealed over the ages. we do not discard lesson from Genesis anymore than we discard what He gave to the first Fathers of the church. Yes we move with the time as long as it does not move us further away from God. Confession brings us closer to God. For instance in this article God’s truth does not change with the weather and fashions. But as with most churches now and even more Christians, even those who say they are catholic, being gay is OK and not a sin; contraception, most of which is abortive is OK and not a sin. I say we love the sinner not the sin! And my thinking is God is the same yesterday today and forever, what He calls sin is forever sin. How can i trust in someone or anything that changes doctrine at a whim? and the Lord said let there be leaders, judges, teachers, bishops among you, this is reiterated throughout the new testament, He gave the early apostles great power, why should i limit Him on giving that great power to His apostles today?

We say Christ is the church and the church is Christ for we are the body of Christ. Can we not forgive those who trespass against us and when we forgive them are we not extending God’s forgiveness thereto… confession is not about someone saying you are forgiven because i say so; its about the priest being a conduit like the prophets of old, Elijah, Elisha, Isiah, its about being given a sacramental grace to help you not sin again, it also has its psychological benefits if you want to go all new age. We are charged in the bible to be held accountable for our actions by our brethren, so it forms a part of accountability, it also introduces humility into the picture. If you cant be honest in your confession and in examining your conscience, your soul and your actions using the ten commandments when can you be honest? Confession is also all about getting spiritual direction, where a priest who is a scripture scholar, spiritual director or anything along those lines can hep you discern what the Word tells us or tell you where to go. We are not always well equipped to interpret what the bible says and may not have the gift of interpretation which another has, are we not supposed to use our gifts for the body of Christ and hence partake of others gifts for the building of the same body?

Well I’ll stop here for now and continue later and i think the next one will touch on contraception another reason I’m still catholic…. below are links i found useful so here’s me hoping you read them… with an open mind 😀

1. Sacrament of reconciliation – a large directory on the sacrament
2. Some Catechism
3. On sin and an examination of conscience
4. Another examination of conscience

Mortal Sin or Venial Sin?


I’m part of this Facebook group called “We are not Crazy, We’re just Catholic” and there is this thread that discusses purgatory in a way that is so clear it’s full of ‘aha’ moments. But most profound was a post by Andy Simms which I

just had to quote… the thread had somehow lead to explaining the meaning of mortal sin and venial sin…

From Andy: ” As I understand them, Mortal sins are any sins that take glory or power from God and transfer them to those to whom it does not belong. For instance, murder is a mortal sin. The authority to determine the life cycle of a human being belongs to God alone, but when we end the life of another with intent to do so we are taking that authority upon ourselves. To worship another god is a mortal sin. It is transferring glory and honour due to God alone to another. Contraception is a mortal sin. It places the choice of when life is created on the person rather than on God. Mortal sins are sins against God Himself.

Venial sins, however, are not as damaging to the soul as mortal sins, but an abundance of venial sins could amount to a mortal sin. In this case, willful and repeated refusal to follow the commandments of God, even though these are minor in nature, adds up to a denial of the supremacy of God. Back to venial sins, though. Venial sins are those that violate the spirit of the laws of God but do not replace the authority, glory or power of God. For instance, lying about how much money is in my wallet when my wife asks me is a venial sin. Intent is very key in determining severity of sin. If I tell a lie with the intent of keeping money to myself, it is a venial sin. If I tell a lie that ultimately leads to the expected result of death to another, for instance false testimony in a capital murder trial or telling a drug dealer that someone else stole the drugs, that would likely be a mortal sin.

It all sounds very legal, but the best answer I can give you is that mortal sins are direct affronts to God and venial sins are affronts to fellow men or indirect affronts to God.

Mortal sin speaks to death to the soul, not death to the body.”

That just jumped out at me, mortal sin speaks death to the soul. If I don’t hearthat then I’m doomed. It makes me want to go to confession like now! not that I have any mortal sins that need confessing but the more often I go to confession the more grace I have to not commit the same sins over and over again… I am so going to try and memorise most of Andy’s post to make sure more people know and that I never forget… a mantra of sorts; ‘Do not commit mortal sins, for mortal sin speaks death to the soul.’ Hell is real Y’all!


sin photo

Photo by bionicteaching


Struggling… again


I always seem to end up back here time and again. Struggling. Why Lord why? I hate the term backsliding it makes me think of being on a hill and trying to find purchase, so you climb up and use your hands even looking for any finger and toe holds.  But the ground is wet with this muddy sludge and you’re not just mired in the bog, it’s pulling you down! And there seems like there is nothing you can do. No not true that there is nothing you can do; there is something you can do. See you have a guide but you don’t want to ask for help from the guide beside you. You want to do it yourself and you begin acting like a pig and thinking the sludge and crud ain’t too bad. it’s kinda fun playing in the dirt – and before you know it you are at the bottom of the hill and the stink comes up and you are asking yourself how did I get down here?!?!?

ButIi was doing so well Lord… what part of me just does not learn Lord?… I KNOW I don’t want to be down here. And I know how to keep out of this stinky bog. So why do I lose sight of You and of Your love for me and of Your light? Stand firm, steadfast in the faith, come daily to God, persevere, immerse yourself in God’s word… is this not yet emblazoned on my heart??? And yet somewhere somehow I am left again by the wayside. I don’t even have an excuse that’s the pathetic thing about it.

Way back when I used at least to justify my sins, tell myself I know it cant be that bad, I mean did God really mean 123 and not ABC, you know stuff like that. But this time around I know it’s wrong I don’t even try false justification anymore. I just went right along and did it.

It’s like a man who has developed an allergy to his favourite food, say caramel and he sees this delectable caramel cake all sticky and wonderfully gooey. Instead of taking himself away from temptation coz he knows it is bad for him it could kill him, what does he do? He keeps coming to view it, taking pictures and putting them on his desktop, finding new recipes for caramel cake and even trying them out himself, to give away of course. He comes to inhale in its all so wonderful scent and he cuts a piece telling himself he won’t eat it he just wants to imagine himself doing so. Before you know it he has convinced himself a 5mm teeny incy wincy corner won’t kill him and it’s in his mouth; and anyway he has his EpiPen ready.

Then it dawns on him after that minuscule taste that what he is doing is wrong, wrong, wrong. He may as well be eating the whole thing and having an EpiPen won’t save him if he keeps that cake around so he comes to his senses and dumps the whole thing, pictures and recipes included, in a big black bag, drives to the furthest dumpster out of town and leaves the bag there whilst he hightails it out of there. But the taint of the tiny taste lingers in puffy eyes, a rash that has developed on his lip and in a stain on his heart – well caramel does not put stains on the heart but I figure you know what I mean. So I am trying my level best to take myself away from temptation… the pains and agonies of Christian-hood

So to help me out I have decided to pump up my one-on-one me time with God. I have never been really good with my daily devotions but I am really hoping this time it sticks and stays. I saw this beautiful plan here, An Hour with God and I am hoping that this time it works better than the other times I’ve started and it’s fizzled out. There is value in the struggle though, and I should be thankful for it. And I’m hoping that I actually turn to the Lord for help and not think I can do it all by myself. If I have learned anything this past year it’s that I have no control over anything. I may make plans but the world always comes in my way and I can not change a single thing by worrying.

Makes me think of this verse, have no idea where it is in the bible, but it goes something like “who of you can add a single hair to their head or a single year to their lives by worrying”. I may have paraphrased a lot… see am still a long way from memorising my verses.

I’d best get going I have to study for my exams… how did I get here? This aked by the chief procrastinator… moi!

On a sin… and communion (Part II)


After asking my questions and googling as if my life depended on doing so, (which it does in a sense) I have been getting an education on what constitutes sin. Here are some conclusions I have come to:

What I have gotten is that:
1. it is wrong to miss Mass without a grave reason, and to go to a Protestant service as a substitute without grave reason… (emphasis on grave)
2. if I go to a Protestant church instead of a Catholic one, I fail to fulfil my Sunday obligation and am in a state of mortal sin
3. it is wrong to fully and actively participate in a non-Catholic service, i.e. communion, reading, etc.
4. it is unclear whether it is wrong to attend other Christian services ‘passively’ – if one can be passive – as well as mass. It is advisable not to go, as one’s faith is put in peril, could be attacked and undermined.And attending these services is not in the best interests of the church; of not condoning the different Christian denominations as we want to encourage the return of all the Christians to the church
5. if I attend Protestant services for different reasons like pleasing family or just because I like it, I tolerate the hurt to Christ’s Body and make light of the scandal that wounds our Lord deeper every day

And what I need to do is:
1. actively endeavour to go to mass every week and receive the Eucharist
2. study the catechism in order to understand why Catholicism is the true church of Christ
3. avoid actively participating in other Christian services and going there as I could be tossed around and confused by strange doctrines and beliefs
4. somehow get my friends and family to understand why it is important for me to be Catholic and lead them to the light…

As I read around I came across a site which had the following… “The new Catechism calls the Eucharist “the heart and the summit of the Church’s life,” as well as the “sum and summary of our faith.” (CCC, #1407, #1327). The Eucharist is the sacrament of sacraments, the divine reality toward which all the other sacraments point and in which they are all fulfilled.”(source) and I thought how profound, I think I was last at a benediction years ago I can’t remember when and yet I always felt immersed in His presence then so why don’t I go now?

In one of the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis which I am listening to, Screwtape was telling his nephew Wormwood something about how our bodies and what happens to them affects our spirituality… or something to that effect, it was about how the nephews ‘person’ could be led to being less prayerful by thinking that where I am and kneeling etc. are not important in the greater schemes of things for prayer or the quality of a prayer. As Catholic we hold that our bodies are the temples of the Lord, hence I’d want my temple (read body) to be positioned at the best place possible and not be desecrated and to be clean in preparation of the Lord coming into it… during communion.

Along the same lines, I’ll quote the following (also online) “…there were Gnostics who reasoned that the opposition of body and spirit meant the body could do anything without affecting the spirit. This school went in for orgies and every form of self-indulgence, all the while pretending they were ‘holy within’. But the Church of Christ went on teaching the truth: The Word became flesh. Body and spirit are married in Christ Jesus and we who are in him can and must glorify God in our bodies, not apart from them just as Jesus did when he died and rose–bodily–and ascended to his Father.(source) So indeed I have been woefully depriving myself by not receiving the Eucharist to be unified body and soul with the body of my Lord. and not only that, I’ve also been in a state of mortal sin by not attending mass; which leaves me very sad indeed.

“Many Catholics leave their bland parish for another denomination that serves up the Gospel hot and spicy. People who give up the Catholic faith often say they were looking for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. How much more personal can you get than to have Jesus literally and physically living within your body? Ex-Catholics who claim that they are now being “fed” with the written Word at their new church, don’t realize that they have abandoned the banquet of the Living Word, the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ. (source)

I used to wonder that if half the world did not believe in God for reasons out of their control as in been brought up way out wherever where Jesus is mostly unknown, and that if we can only get to heaven through His son then what would happen to them? It seemed … anathema…!!! Would so many perish?!? Then I would think that there must be another way to heaven or that there must be some flaw in the formula or that one’s deeds were a great part of it. Then I came to realise that there can not be two or more right answers… there is the truth and everything else. It may fill me with horror to think of people perishing in hell, as it well should, for without this fear would my faith grow?

It is not for me to try and figure out the mysteries of the Lord or to try and figure out how the rest of the world would get to heaven or to judge if they should… but it is for me to say yes to the truth when I hear it, for me to say no to the sin when it is recognised (as has happened here). I was sinning and I have to turn away from that sin ask for forgiveness and for the grace of the Lord to not sin again… for all my failures are my own and the triumphs are His. It his mercy that pulls me through.

On a sin… and communion (Part I)


Dilemma! Or not. When you sin and you know it’s a sin it’s different from when you sin and you didn’t know if it was sin and also different from when you sin and you weren’t sure it was in. So in which category am I in?… the latter I’m afeared on this current dilemma item.

What is sin? In this day and age, the lines between right and wrong get so blurred and logic is sometimes used to present an argument against doing what is right, we do love to rationalise don’t we? If one is not sure if something is sin what does one do? In my case, I asked around a bit but not enough, just enough for me to do the something. And then only after asking around a little more or sufficiently I find ’tis been a sin all along, so what to do? Stop, of course, that’s a given (I hope), repent and do better…

So what is the sin I’ve been grappling with? Receiving communion in a church that ain’t Catholic.

I remember how huge it seemed on day one then you let people talk to you and one rationalises and the deed loses it’s ‘horror aura’ and becomes less sinister. But that niggling that came from God never left me, it just didn’t gel with my spirit you know. And so I researched some more and was led to the Catholic on-line forum and asked my question and I am getting ‘educated’… no better word for it… so watch this space and I will give more info as I get it… or just go to the discussion, click here.

some may be thinking what’s wrong with receiving communion in another church, we are all Christian and we all want to be united spiritually in the body of Christ, don’t we? I get that if we believe different then we are not in communion anyway, as a Catholic I believe the Eucharist is the true body and blood of Christ in every essence except our physical experience of it. This is something I really need to study and pray for discernment on, and there is so much information I have to do a lot of sifting too, ok so let’s winnow…