Posted by: fvbcdm | June 7, 2017

Feast of Saint Anthony Gianelli (7 June 2017)

It happens with some frequency—that someone will come to confession and say something like this—“Father, I can’t remember committing any sins since my last confession, but I know that I am not perfect and that my spiritual life is not what it should be.  What can I do to improve the situation?  We ourselves have probably experienced the same feeling from time to time, and I think that the answer lies in the words of Jesus in the Gospel.

His enemies, always trying to catch Him in His speech, asked Him which is the greatest commandment of them all.  In terms of the Ten Commandments, one could argue for any one of them being the greatest; however, our Divine Lord—who is Truth itself—goes right to the heart of the matter and chooses none of them but rather a commandment given to the Chosen People in the Book of Deuteronomy—“Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is One God, you shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and your whole strength.”  And then He adds a second commandment like the first, which is also to be found in the Old Testament—“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

When we realize how far-reaching these commandments are, we begin to understand that most of our sins are sins of omission rather than evil deeds that we commit.  It’s not what we do but rather what we don’t do that is the problem with the spiritual lives of many of us.  Well then, what don’t we do?  We don’t speak to God often enough in the sanctuaries of our own mind and heart in prayer.  We don’t thank Him sufficiently for the good and beautiful thinks that we have, that we see, that we hear, that we think of each day.  We don’t take the opportunity to do good to others in the name of Jesus.  We don’t put forth the effort to be kind, attentive, caring, towards parents or spouses, or children, or neighbors or people with whom we work.  We don’t do our best in our duties but are sometimes slovenly, careless, lazy, irresponsible.  We don’t drive carefully and with consideration of other drivers. We don’t control our temper, our impatience, our selfishness in putting ourselves first.

The next time you examine your conscience, especially in preparation for the Sacrament of Penance, ask yourself what you have not done that God asks you to do.  You’ll probably find plenty of matters for confession in answer to that searching question.  Thank you for allowing God to love you, God bless you.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.  Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.

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