Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Consolations after Confession

“Devotions for Confession”, selected and arranged by Hubert McEvoy, S.J. was published in 1962. It is a 286 page manual consisting of 20 separate “Preparation” and “Thanksgiving” chapters of about 7 or 8 pages each. There are traditional prayers, scriptural readings, and selections from ancient and modern spiritual writers.

After confession yesterday morning, I found this little paragraph, quoting from “F. Devas, S.J.” to be very consoling:

WITH this constant falling into sin we are given two ways of accepting our falls. The first and obvious way is the constant struggle to resist the temptation; and the thing that ought to be so consoling to anyone who constantly falls is the knowledge that every effort—the tiniest as well as the biggest—that he has made to resist, is remembered for all eternity, and for every one of those efforts he will be rewarded. When he does give in and commit the sin, as soon as he confesses it, it is forgiven; and not only forgiven, but forgotten, while all that went before the sin, every kind of effort he made to resist, is never forgotten. Therefore, a man may sin and sin, and, at the end of it, it is the efforts he has made to overcome that sin, the determination not to give in, which is the crown of his glory. His struggle is incomparably more valuable in the sight of God than the petty struggles of those who have not the same severe temptation. He may feel, "What is the use of going to confession, when every time it is the same story over again?" But it is that steady accumulation of merit and perseverance that counts.