Scrooge and Sacramental Confession

I found John Clark’s reflection on Dickens’ Scrooge to be as the less literary say (i.e. me), “Right On!”
Via Seton Magazine

“There is an antithesis to “sleeping in Heavenly peace”; and that is, lying awake in hellish chaos. It’s a theme that arises in the great literature from the ancients to the moderns. The solution is repentance, which Scrooge would soon realize.

“He went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro, and patted children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of houses, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed that any walk— that anything— could give him so much happiness.”

“Everything could yield him pleasure.”

Dickens’ words will resonate with the penitent who has just been absolved in the sacrament of Penance and regained the state of grace.

This Christmas, many penitents will stand in lines for Confession. When they step out of that Confessional, you may not see them dancing, but their hearts are doing what Fred Astaire could only imagine. Mere gravity is hopeless against tethering that joy. One need not try to fly; the tough task is staying on the ground.

There is a theological term for all this: the state of grace. The “state of grace” is a very formal term. It seems very stately and very graceful. Yet, there is a childlike exhilaration to the state of grace and an infantile innocence. The state of grace is the state of happiness, of peace, of rest, of joy, of love, of wonder, of excitement, of newness.

The story of Scrooge is a story of repentance. But the best stories of repentance are fact. Not fiction. As I have said, I love this story. It is regarded as some of the finest prose in the English language.

But please remember this: If Scrooge’s story moves you to sacramental repentance this Christmas, the greatest chapter wasn’t written by Charles Dickens. It will be written by you.”

With Charles Dickens’ Tiny Tim, we say, “God bless Us, Every One!”

“There is No Saint Without a Past – There is No Sinner Without a Future”


From Papal Audience of April 13, 2016

I once heard a beautiful saying: “There is no saint without a past nor a sinner without a future”. This is what Jesus does. There is no saint without a past nor a sinner without a future. It is enough to respond to the call with a humble and sincere heart. The Church is not a community of perfect people, but of disciples on a journey, who follow the Lord because they know they are sinners and in need of his pardon. Thus, Christian life is a school of humility which opens us to grace.

Such behaviour is not understood by those who have the arrogance to believe they are “just” and to believe they are better than others. Hubris and pride do not allow one to recognize him- or herself as in need of salvation, but rather prevent one from seeing the merciful face of God and from acting with mercy. They are a barrier. Hubris and pride are a barrier that prevents a relationship with God. Yet, this is precisely Jesus’ mission: coming in search of each of us, in order to heal our wounds and to call us to follow him with love. He says so explicitly: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (v. 12). Jesus presents himself as a good physician! He proclaims the Kingdom of God, and the signs of its coming are clear: He heals people from disease, frees them from fear, from death, and from the devil. Before Jesus, no sinner is excluded — no sinner is excluded! Because the healing power of God knows no infirmity that cannot be healed; and this must give us confidence and open our heart to the Lord, that he may come and heal us.

By calling sinners to his table, he heals them, restoring to them the vocation that they believed had been lost and which the Pharisees had forgotten: that of being guests at God’s banquet. According to the prophecy of Isaiah: “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined…. It will be said on that day, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (25:6, 9).

Words of Pope Francis

Full Text

Feeding the Hungry

“History cannot be detached from God and then run smoothly on purely material lines.”  Joseph Ratzinger,  Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI  

Thomas a Kempis on Love

“Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger or higher or wider, nothing is more pleasant, nothing fuller, and nothing better in heaven or on earth, for love is born of God and cannot rest except in God, Who is created above all things.”
― Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Quoting Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

H/T Barb Schoeneberger – From Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta:

We must never think any one of us is indispensable.  God has His ways and means.  God may allow everything to go upside down in the hands of a very talented and capable person.  Unless the work is interwoven with love, it is useless.  God will not ask that person how many books he has read but God will ask him if he has done his best for love of Him.

Quoting Thomas a Kempis

“What difference does it make to you what someone else becomes, or says, or does? You do not need to answer for others, only for yourself.”  Thomas a Kempis