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February 15, 2013
The Joy of a Clear Conscience
ISAIAH 58:1–9A; MATTHEW 9:14–15
We all do things every day that are contrary to the ways of God, things that stop us from being the-best-version-of-ourselves. Then we carry all this baggage around with us and it affects us in ways that we are often not even aware of. Our sins affect us physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and psychologically. They affect our relationships, our work, our health, our intellectual clarity, and our ability to genuinely embrace and experience all of life.

Sin limits our future by chaining us to the past. Yet, most people are able to convince themselves either that sin doesn’t exist, that they don’t sin, or that their sins are not affecting them. But if we take an honest inventory of our thoughts, words, and actions, it becomes abundantly clear that every one of us does things that are self-destructive, offensive to others, contrary to the natural laws of the universe, and in direct conflict with the ways of God. If we really think that we can carry all this around inside us and that it is not affecting us, then we are only deceiving ourselves.

If you want peace in your heart, I want to personally invite you to go to confession. There is no treasure in life like a clear conscience. If you want the joy of a clear conscience, go to confession. If you haven’t been to confession for a while, maybe now is your time. Perhaps it has been ten years, or twenty years, maybe even longer. Jesus says to you, “Do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Bring the sins of your life and place them at the feet of Jesus in this sacrament of reconciliation.

God sees your unrealized potential. He sees not only who you are but also who you can be. Ask him to share that vision with you.

Am I willing to make confession a regular part of my life? How and when will I begin?
from Rediscover Lent by Matthew Kelly


Ignatius of Loyola: The founder of the Jesuits was on his way to military fame and fortune when a cannon ball shattered his leg. Because there were no books of romance on hand during his convalescence, Ignatius whiled away the time reading a life of Christ and lives of the saints. His conscience was deeply touched, and a long, painful turning to Christ began. Having seen the Mother of God in a vision, he made a pilgrimage to her shrine at Montserrat (near Barcelona). He remained for almost a year at nearby Manresa, sometimes with the Dominicans, sometimes in a pauper’s hospice, often in a cave in the hills praying. After a period of great peace of mind, he went through a harrowing trial of scruples. There was no comfort in anything—prayer, fasting, sacraments, penance. At length, his peace of mind returned. 
<p>It was during this year of conversion that Ignatius began to write down material that later became his greatest work, the <em>Spiritual Exercises</em>. </p><p>He finally achieved his purpose of going to the Holy Land, but could not remain, as he planned, because of the hostility of the Turks. He spent the next 11 years in various European universities, studying with great difficulty, beginning almost as a child. Like many others, his orthodoxy was questioned; Ignatius was twice jailed for brief periods. </p><p>In 1534, at the age of 43, he and six others (one of whom was St. Francis Xavier, December 2) vowed to live in poverty and chastity and to go to the Holy Land. If this became impossible, they vowed to offer themselves to the apostolic service of the pope. The latter became the only choice. Four years later Ignatius made the association permanent. The new Society of Jesus was approved by Paul III, and Ignatius was elected to serve as the first general. </p><p>When companions were sent on various missions by the pope, Ignatius remained in Rome, consolidating the new venture, but still finding time to found homes for orphans, catechumens and penitents. He founded the Roman College, intended to be the model of all other colleges of the Society. </p><p>Ignatius was a true mystic. He centered his spiritual life on the essential foundations of Christianity—the Trinity, Christ, the Eucharist. His spirituality is expressed in the Jesuit motto, <i>ad majorem Dei gloriam</i>—“for the greater glory of God.” In his concept, obedience was to be the prominent virtue, to assure the effectiveness and mobility of his men. All activity was to be guided by a true love of the Church and unconditional obedience to the Holy Father, for which reason all professed members took a fourth vow to go wherever the pope should send them for the salvation of souls.</p> American Catholic Blog Venting negative emotions, contrary to popular misconception, doesn’t ease them. Through mental rehearsal, it tends to aggravate them. It can convince the venter that life is the way she sees it, even if in reality it’s not. Writing down all of one’s upsets doesn’t generally help ease those upsets.

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