Back to the mission that SIL and I went to a few weeks ago. I shared some thoughts here. Before we get too far removed, here are some more. In no particular order...
Two "foundational graces" that we should ask God for (at the start of Mass, for instance) are the Grace of Openness and the Grace of Being in the Present Moment (not preoccupied with other concerns and issues).
Conversion is something that is ongoing in our lives.
A saint is someone who lets God love them as they are. Saints know where the power comes from. (It comes from God, and it comes from letting God see us and love us as we are.)
When we get to Heaven, there will not be a class to enroll in to teach us what we need to do in heaven. We are enrolled in "Heaven 101" right now!
Our core identity is that we are a beloved son or daughter of God - before all else.
The Voice of Love is the only voice that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
The doorknob to the heart is on the inside. God knocks, but only we can open the door. But if we crack open the door just a little bit, the Holy Spirit sticks his foot inside...
The second night centered on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Some of his talk was practical advice:
He gave the example of what not to do:
Bless me Father, it's been 30 years since my last confession.
("We might have been deep in prayer or taking a nap when you came in," Father says, "but believe me, when we hear '30 years', you have our FULL attention." The angels in heaven are on the edge of their seats getting the party preparations underway...)
Ummm... I think I took some pencils from work. And I think we might have missed Mass once about 5 years ago when we went to Gulf Shores for the weekend. I think.
Well, that's about it.....
Unfortunately, our society has lost it's sense of sin. Nothing is a sin any more.
"NAME THE PAIN" he says. Pain is NOT the enemy - even though our society teaches us that. It can be an ally. When you are going to confession - NAME THE PAIN. Be specific about what "hurts" in your life. You are speaking to the Divine Physician. Just like the doctor can't help you, if you don't tell him what's wrong; neither can the priest help you if you don't show him the wound.
This is what leads to conversion. And (see above), conversion should be on-going in our lives. God loves us too much to leave us where we are.,
He also included some meditations on courage, since confession/penance/reconciliation, by it's very nature requires some courage.
"Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point." (C.S. Lewis)
This means that every virtue requires courage when we are tested or tempted.
"Deliver me Lord, from the cowardice that does what is not demanded in order to escape the sacrifice that is!" (Thomas Merton) Meaning: Taking advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation may well be the "sacrifice that is demanded" from you this Lent. Once you make up your mind to go, there will be many other things placed in your way by the evil one. Cleaning your garage would be the sacrifice that is not demanded. (Can't go to confession....gotta clean the garage...)
"...many remain at the foot of the mount who could ascend to the top...I repeat and ask that you always have courageous thoughts. As a result of them the Lord will give you grace for courageous deeds." (St. Theresa of Avila) Meaning: It is a tough road to the top of the mountain to the foot of the cross. Going around the mountain are two interstate highways....much easier to take them than to struggle up the narrow, steep hill.)
May something here be useful to you!