Advent is here! below are some links and handouts to enhance your Advent season.
The night (1/10/14) will begin with a potluck dinner, then continue with retreat talks & time for reflection, confession & adoration. There will be time for friendship and fun as well. Contact the Faith Formation Office 267-803-0774 to register and let us know what dinner or dessert food you would like to bring to share. $10.00 donation is appreciated. Retreat Master – Father Tom Viviano!
This is the talk from the First Penance parent meeting on Nov. 11. For the handouts please see the PREP page and scroll down to First Penance.
“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster jar that gives forth perfume.”
- Vance Havne
Brokenness is the nature of a fallen world. It is a reality we live. It is the consequence of original sin. Even after our baptism we have a tendency towards sin. This is a truth which inspired St. Paul to write, “For I don’t do the good I want to do, but instead do the evil that I don’t want to do.” (Romans 7:19) And it is not just St. Paul, the Pope was recently speaking with a group of prison chaplains to whom he revealed that he still calls the prison in Buenos Aires where he used to visit every week. He said that it was good for him to reflect on the fact that because of original sin and our tendency towards sin we could all have gone wrong. “Why some and not others?” he said. “When we have the same weakness, why did they fall and I didn’t? This is a mystery that makes me pray and draws me to prisoners” (Oct. 23)
We are all sinners. We all have places in our lives that are broken. Broken relationships, broken bodies, broken spirits. We all know that feeling of being spent and empty. Yet God tells us it is in our brokenness that we are most His. This is especially true when we sin. This is why the psalmist cries out “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those whose spirit is crushed” (Ps. 34:19) and “A humbled contrite heart you will not spurn!” (Ps 51:19)
The day before Pope Francis spoke to the prison chaplains he gave a homily about sin. He said, “Maybe some of us don’t like to say this, but those who are closest to the heart of Jesus, are the biggest sinners, because He looks for them, he calls to all: ‘Come, come!’ And when they ask for an explanation, he says: ‘those who have good health do not need a doctor; I have come to heal, to save,’” (Pope Francis Homily Oct. 22, 2013)
Sooner or later all of us come face to face with our own capacity for sin. When this happens our vanity and pride rear up and we want to hide. We feel so low, so ashamed, humiliated, so UN-beloved. As Christians we know that God at this point is standing there in our unworthiness, there in our humiliation, there in our heartache. Knee deep in the muck of our sinfulness and brokenness he stands offering a hand. He touches us and he invites us and he forgives us our sin and he calls us BE-loved. And we are his beloved – we are!
Through repentance our broken places are a beginning not an end. With God’s help they are a point of conversion and change in our lives. We need to turn to God, trust in God, seek healing in his embrace, in his compassion and mercy. Because God truly does use broken things and broken people to bring about great change and transformation. Many of the lives of the Saints begin with a story of brokenness. This was true in the conversion of St. Augustine, the conversion of St. Paul, and the conversion of St. Francis to name just a few.
This change begins by turning to God in repentance for our sins and turning to others with mercy for their sins. Jesus consistently linked our ability to receive forgiveness with our willingness to forgive those who have hurt us. These are the truths that Jesus gave us, this is the Hope of our salvation. No matter how often we sin we must never stop seeking forgiveness and never give in to discouragement. Because God truly does use broken things and broken people – it is the message of the Gospel! It is the Good News!
For Catholics part of this process is going to confession. Too many people stay away from this Sacrament. Perhaps out of embarrassment, perhaps out of a disbelief in their sinfulness, perhaps out of fear or pride. If you have been away from the Sacrament now is the time to get back to it. Be an example for your children as they prepare for this Sacrament of healing, and be healed yourself. Feel the weight of the sin and brokenness lift off of you. I would encourage you to do this soon. (See Schedule below) There is a good examination of conscience here.
St. John Bosco Parish Confession Schedule
***We will have extra priests here on Dec. 10 during class time if you would like to go to confession. Or you can go during our regularly scheduled times which are M-F 8:15-8:35 Sat. 3-3:30.
All ladies of the Parish are invited to the 9AM Mass on Sunday, 1/5/14. Pews will be reserved on the Blessed Mother Side of the Church. Please join us in Drexel Hall right after Mass for our monthly meeting, light refreshments & a GETTING TO KNOW YOU social hour. Please fill out the form and bring it with you to our January meeting. Getting to Know You Come as a guest. Leave as a friend.
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