Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It’s hard to believe, but today we begin Holy Week with the Mass of Palm Sunday. As our Lenten journey draws to a close, we enter Jerusalem with Christ and walk with him through the moments which form the very heart of who we are as Christians. If any week is going to be transformational in our lives of faith – this is the one.
I offer two words of encouragement then to make this a beautiful and enriching Holy Week. First, let’s all do our best to go to confession! There is no better way to begin than by cleansing our hearts of all our sins so we can make room for Christ. We have a beautiful custom in this area, where every Church in the Dioceses of Rockville Centre, Brooklyn, and New York will have a priest hearing confessions from 3PM to 9PM. It’s incredibly easy, and no matter how long it’s been, all we need to do is just pop into any church and get into a confessional, and when we walk out we’ll feel like a new person, with all the weight of sin lifted from our shoulders. Monsignor McDonald, a wonderful priest, invited parishioners, if they were unsure of themselves, to enter the confessional and say “I am a friend of the Blessed Mother,” and that would be the cue to the priest that he should walk the person through everything. Please feel free to follow that advice! Another priest friend came up with what he likes to call the 90% confession. It contains 90% of the things that 90% of people can confess 90% of the time. If you’d like to bring this guide, just sit down, say “Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been ______ (how long) since my last confession, these are my sins,” and read off the applicable ones from this list, along with any others that might come to mind – no need for too many details. Here they are:
I have not loved God with all my heart, and all my soul.
I have placed people or things in my life as taking priority over God I have been disrespectful to my parents or legitimate authorities.
I have used the name of God carelessly.
I have brought scandal upon God or the Church through my bad example as a Christian.
I have missed Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.
I have been prideful.
I have not been kind to everyone in my life.
I have been impatient with people in my life.
I have let anger get the best of me.
I have judged others.
I have dwelled on impure thoughts.
I have been impure with myself or with another person.
I have artificially frustrated God’s desire to create life.
I have dwelled on impure images that objectify men or women.
I have overindulged in food or drink.
I have abused drugs.
I have told lies.
I have been envious of what others have.
I have not been thankful for all the gifts I have been given.
With that you’ll get some advice, a penance (on confession Monday I subscribe to the one Hail Mary rule for anything and everything), and absolution which wipes it all away. Either method is an easy way to get in the confessional, where we can humbly stand before God, admit our wrongs, and allow Him to begin to transform us.
My second encouragement then, after we have gone to confession, is to do our best to come to the Triduum services. The Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Good Friday Service of the Lord’s Passion, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, are all powerful moments to truly enter into the mystery of Easter. If it’s not something we are accustomed to doing, maybe we consider making this year a first. What better gift could we give to God then once a year spending some extra time in the Church, thanking Him for the gift of our redemption?
Yours in Christ,