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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


Anthony Claret: The "spiritual father of Cuba" was a missionary, religious founder, social reformer, queen’s chaplain, writer and publisher, archbishop and refugee. He was a Spaniard whose work took him to the Canary Islands, Cuba, Madrid, Paris and to the First Vatican Council. 
<p>In his spare time as weaver and designer in the textile mills of Barcelona, he learned Latin and printing: The future priest and publisher was preparing. Ordained at 28, he was prevented by ill health from entering religious life as a Carthusian or as a Jesuit, but went on to become one of Spain’s most popular preachers. </p><p>He spent 10 years giving popular missions and retreats, always placing great emphasis on the Eucharist and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Her rosary, it was said, was never out of his hand. At 42, beginning with five young priests, he founded a religious institute of missionaries, known today as the Claretians. </p><p>He was appointed to head the much-neglected archdiocese of Santiago in Cuba. He began its reform by almost ceaseless preaching and hearing of confessions, and suffered bitter opposition mainly for opposing concubinage and giving instruction to black slaves. A hired assassin (whose release from prison Anthony had obtained) slashed open his face and wrist. Anthony succeeded in getting the would-be assassin’s death sentence commuted to a prison term. His solution for the misery of Cubans was family-owned farms producing a variety of foods for the family’s own needs and for the market. This invited the enmity of the vested interests who wanted everyone to work on a single cash crop—sugar. Besides all his religious writings are two books he wrote in Cuba: <i>Reflections on Agriculture</i> and <i>Country Delights</i>. </p><p>He was recalled to Spain for a job he did not relish—being chaplain for the queen. He went on three conditions: He would reside away from the palace, he would come only to hear the queen’s confession and instruct the children and he would be exempt from court functions. In the revolution of 1868, he fled with the queen’s party to Paris, where he preached to the Spanish colony. </p><p>All his life Anthony was interested in the Catholic press. He founded the Religious Publishing House, a major Catholic publishing venture in Spain, and wrote or published 200 books and pamphlets. </p><p>At Vatican I, where he was a staunch defender of the doctrine of infallibility, he won the admiration of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore remarked of him, "There goes a true saint." At the age of 63, he died in exile near the border of Spain.</p> American Catholic Blog The greatest tragedy of our world is that men do not know, really know, that God loves them. Some believe it in a shadowy sort of way. If they were to really think about it they would soon realize that their belief in God’s love for them is very remote and abstract. Because of this lack of realization of God’s love for them, men do not know how to love God back. —Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 
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