Confession Problems (?)


#1

I've recently been helping a friend with Religious matters (She is a Catholic that doesn't really go to Mass), and I've been taking her to Mass every Sunday (and Holy Days). However, I'm afraid that she might be receiving Communion in a state of mortal sin; and whenever I advise her to go to Confession, she says that she feels 'judged' for her mistakes. Does anyone her know how I can help her overcome this fear?


#2

[quote="yaycatholic, post:1, topic:337176"]
I've recently been helping a friend with Religious matters (She is a Catholic that doesn't really go to Mass), and I've been taking her to Mass every Sunday (and Holy Days). However, I'm afraid that she might be receiving Communion in a state of mortal sin; and whenever I advise her to go to Confession, she says that she feels 'judged' for her mistakes. Does anyone her know how I can help her overcome this fear?

[/quote]

Yes, tell her that to receive Communion without Confession is equivalent to her passing judgment unto herself, as it is written:

For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy way eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not discern the body of Christ. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

You can quote the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve, that so writes about the Eucharist:

Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . . On the Lord’s Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure

You can also remind her of the words of Church Father Irenaeus, who said:

Some of these women make a public confession, but others are ashamed to do this, and in silence, as if withdrawing from themselves the hope of the life of God, they either apostatize entirely or hesitate between the two courses.

or those of Ignatius of Antioch, who we honor as being a successor of Peter in Antioch (the first city where the disciples were called Christians) and a disciple of John the apostle, who said:

as many as shall, in the exercise of penance, return into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ.

And you may remind her of the warning of Cyprian of Carthage:

But [the impenitent] spurn and despise all these warnings; before their sins are expiated, before they have made a confession of their crime, before their conscience has been purged in the ceremony and at the hand of the priest . . . they do violence to [the Lord’s] body and blood, and with their hands and mouth they sin against the Lord more than when they denied him.

Of how much greater faith and salutary fear are they who . . . confess their sins to the priests of God in a straightforward manner and in sorrow, making an open declaration of conscience. . . . I beseech you, brethren, let everyone who has sinned confess his sin while he is still in this world, while his confession is still admissible, while the satisfaction and remission made through the priests are still pleasing before the Lord.

And you may remind her that she is in very good company, for everyone from the humblest layman to the Pope in Rome confess, and even further, Basil the Great recalls:

It is necessary to confess our sins to those to whom the dispensation of God’s mysteries is entrusted. Those doing penance of old are found to have done it before the saints. It is written in the Gospel that they confessed their sins to John the Baptist, but in Acts they confessed to the apostles.

As for this power granted to priests to listen to our sins privately in the name and in the person of Christ the Head and to absolve us, we must necessarily give praise to God in the words of John Chrysostom:

‘Whose sins you shall forgive,’ he says, ‘they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.’ What greater power is there than this? The Father has given all judgment to the Son. And now I see the Son placing all this power in the hands of men.

If she follows your kind guidance on the sacred matters, perhaps the wisest thing to do may be to simply lead her to talk to a priest, not in confession but just casually, and expose this fear or worry that she has. The priest, then, who is endowed with the gifts needed for his ministry, as each of us is, will be able to dispel her fear and lead her to the Sacrament.

He may, perhaps, make her heart experience the feeling of the lamb at the sight of the Good Shepherd that is not angry at her running astray, but is rejoicing at her return, or like the son who, returning full of humility and shame, sees his father running full of joy to embrace him. Such things you cannot transmit to her: you reflect Christ the friend, but the priest acts in the person of Christ, the mighty to save.

May the Lord reward you a hundredfold in this life and the next for your love, and strengthen you as you work for your own salvation.


#3

Thank you so much for this reply! It is also a bit of disappointing that despite my support. She has decided to bail on me this weekend, we were supposed to attend the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass but then she decided that 'hanging with her friend' is more important.


#4

I seriously doubt she'll be interested in quotes from Church Fathers or eloquent apologetics. Keep it simple. Maybe take the line that receiving Communion implies full agreement with all the Church teaches. Obviously there's much more to it than that, but if you throw too much at her at once, she's just going to be overwhelmed.


#5

on the subject of confession and communion, my church offers confession after services on saturday and saturday is the day i go to church. is it ok for a person to partake of the Eucharist before confession?


#6

[quote="donna369, post:5, topic:337176"]
on the subject of confession and communion, my church offers confession after services on saturday and saturday is the day i go to church. is it ok for a person to partake of the Eucharist before confession?

[/quote]

If you are in a state of mortal sin, it is definitely not ok to receive the Lord, maybe you can ask the priest before the Mass if you can confess?


#7

[quote="Ad_Orientem, post:4, topic:337176"]
I seriously doubt she'll be interested in quotes from Church Fathers or eloquent apologetics. Keep it simple. Maybe take the line that receiving Communion implies full agreement with all the Church teaches. Obviously there's much more to it than that, but if you throw too much at her at once, she's just going to be overwhelmed.

[/quote]

Yea, I tend to explain beliefs to her in a simple and straightforward way. Maybe she hasn't really got the hang of Communion since she kind of recently learnt that the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of OLJC during consecration?


#8

[quote="yaycatholic, post:3, topic:337176"]
Thank you so much for this reply! It is also a bit of disappointing that despite my support. She has decided to bail on me this weekend, we were supposed to attend the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass but then she decided that 'hanging with her friend' is more important.

[/quote]

Don't be disappointed.

So far she does not seem to realize yet that the Eucharist is the Real Presence of her best friend. She may see it as something abstract and symbolic, not as a personal encounter with the living God.

In the fullness of time, by God's grace, she'll realize that of all friends she wants to hang with, Christ is the one to be preferred above all others.

In fact, you may even tell her with some humor that her best friend was saddened that she didn't go see him this Sunday ;)


#9

[quote="yaycatholic, post:1, topic:337176"]
I've recently been helping a friend with Religious matters (She is a Catholic that doesn't really go to Mass), and I've been taking her to Mass every Sunday (and Holy Days). However, I'm afraid that she might be receiving Communion in a state of mortal sin; and whenever I advise her to go to Confession, she says that she feels 'judged' for her mistakes. Does anyone her know how I can help her overcome this fear?

[/quote]

It is wonderful that you have had an influence in helping your friend attend Mass once again.

You have done your part, you invite her to Mass, bring her to Mass, and have even advised her at least once of going to Confession.

You are not responsible for her actually going to Confession. God knows you have brought this friend a bit closer to Him. He does not expect you to suddenly "make her a full practicing Catholic." You can not be responsible for her decision to receive Holy Communion.

It is also a bit of disappointing that despite my support. She has decided to bail on me this weekend, we were supposed to attend the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass but then she decided that 'hanging with her friend' is more important.

Accept that it is her choice that she has decided not to attend Mass this Sunday. She has been following this same path for a long time. Going back to what she usually does on Sunday is to be expected.

Don't think of it as "she decided to BAIL on me". No, she decided not to attend Mass. She decided to do what she usually does on Sunday. Don't take it as a personal stance, it isn't. Don't think of it as "despite my support". Its really about her and God. Its about the Holy Spirit working in her life. Sometimes the Holy Spirit uses us to help someone, but they still have the freedom to make their own decisions and its not personally about us or our support.

Be at peace. Continue to be a friend. Continue to invite her to Mass. You can invite her to other events at the parish and invite her to confession on the day you are going.

We are to be a sweet fragrance helping our friends along their path to God. She does not fully understand the Mass and her call to attend or she most likely would not be away from the Church for so long.


#10

Tell her to picture Jesus in the confessional with the priest, forgiving her. (You can google images of this sacrament to give you some ideas.) Also, let her know that she can remain anonymous behind the screen or simply go to another parish to confess.


#11

[quote="Ad_Orientem, post:4, topic:337176"]
I seriously doubt she'll be interested in quotes from Church Fathers or eloquent apologetics. Keep it simple. Maybe take the line that receiving Communion implies full agreement with all the Church teaches. Obviously there's much more to it than that, but if you throw too much at her at once, she's just going to be overwhelmed.

[/quote]

Why would you seriously doubt what anyone might be interested in? It might be exactly what she would find the answers in.

Just think if St. Ignatius had been told, "you wouldn't be interested in reading about the saints"?

Peace and all good.


#12

[quote="RoseMary131, post:9, topic:337176"]
It is wonderful that you have had an influence in helping your friend attend Mass once again.

You have done your part, you invite her to Mass, bring her to Mass, and have even advised her at least once of going to Confession.

You are not responsible for her actually going to Confession. God knows you have brought this friend a bit closer to Him. He does not expect you to suddenly "make her a full practicing Catholic." You can not be responsible for her decision to receive Holy Communion.

Accept that it is her choice that she has decided not to attend Mass this Sunday. She has been following this same path for a long time. Going back to what she usually does on Sunday is to be expected.

Don't think of it as "she decided to BAIL on me". No, she decided not to attend Mass. She decided to do what she usually does on Sunday. Don't take it as a personal stance, it isn't. Don't think of it as "despite my support". Its really about her and God. Its about the Holy Spirit working in her life. Sometimes the Holy Spirit uses us to help someone, but they still have the freedom to make their own decisions and its not personally about us or our support.

Be at peace. Continue to be a friend. Continue to invite her to Mass. You can invite her to other events at the parish and invite her to confession on the day you are going.

We are to be a sweet fragrance helping our friends along their path to God. She does not fully understand the Mass and her call to attend or she most likely would not be away from the Church for so long.

[/quote]

What a lovely response


#13

[quote="RoseMary131, post:9, topic:337176"]
It is wonderful that you have had an influence in helping your friend attend Mass once again.

You have done your part, you invite her to Mass, bring her to Mass, and have even advised her at least once of going to Confession.

You are not responsible for her actually going to Confession. God knows you have brought this friend a bit closer to Him. He does not expect you to suddenly "make her a full practicing Catholic." You can not be responsible for her decision to receive Holy Communion.

Accept that it is her choice that she has decided not to attend Mass this Sunday. She has been following this same path for a long time. Going back to what she usually does on Sunday is to be expected.

Don't think of it as "she decided to BAIL on me". No, she decided not to attend Mass. She decided to do what she usually does on Sunday. Don't take it as a personal stance, it isn't. Don't think of it as "despite my support". Its really about her and God. Its about the Holy Spirit working in her life. Sometimes the Holy Spirit uses us to help someone, but they still have the freedom to make their own decisions and its not personally about us or our support.

Be at peace. Continue to be a friend. Continue to invite her to Mass. You can invite her to other events at the parish and invite her to confession on the day you are going.

We are to be a sweet fragrance helping our friends along their path to God. She does not fully understand the Mass and her call to attend or she most likely would not be away from the Church for so long.

[/quote]

Thanks for this lovely reply! Instead of worrying about this, I will continue praying for her like what Saint Monica did for her son! I might also invite her to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in the future!


#14

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