By Fr. John Jonah A. Orat
Our Lord narrated this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you,” our Lord concluded, “that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. [Lk 18:-14]
God saw the sincerity in his heart.
Divinicias went to a healing priest and asked him to pray over her because her head had been hurting for several days already. “Have you gone to confession?” the priest asked. “Yes,” Divinicias answered. “Communion?” “Yes.”
The priest started the healing prayer. She growled like a mad dog. She spat and spewed bits of saliva. Her eyes became furious red. “Get away from me, priest!” the demon in her shouted. She was a woman possessed by an evil spirit. How come?
She was never forgiven because there was no sincerity in her heart. Read an anecdote below.
Bertha went to confession. A mechanical confession because she wanted to receive communion. There was zero remorse and zero resolution not to do it again. The requisites of a good confession were absent.
After, she said to the man next in line, “Your turn.” The man went to confession. Both of them received communion. After the Mass, they went to the motel. The man was not her husband. She was also a married woman. No remorse. No resolution.
The demon saw the insincerity in their hearts.
In these times of Corona, we are only allowed to attend Mass thru social media. No way, we can receive communion. Neither can we go to confession. We have been told to be sorry for our sins [remorse] and to pray the Act of Contrition [resolution not to do it again.] “An Act of Contrition well made,” Pope Francis tells us will make our soul become white as snow.”
I read this story from a very old book I could not find any more. A priest got lost in a forest. The 2nd World War had just ended. He found himself in the vicinity of an old abandoned Church. There were flickering candles inside. He went to peer into the window and investigate. There was an old man at the altar. Children were surrounding him. The old man said, “This is my body. Eat it. This is my blood. Drink it.” The children ate and the children drank. There were tears in their eyes.
The old man said, “When they will remember us, they will send a true priest to serve our Church. For the moment, we will just try to remember the Holy Eucharist of our Lord.” “Grandpa, when will we be able to receive the true Body of Christ?” The grandfather answered,” When the war will be over my child. When the war will be over.”
Outside, the priest was also crying. It was a very sad scene. “Sadder still,” he thought to himself, “because they did not know that the war was already over.”
With the Corona virus, we are now at war with an invisible enemy. God in your mercy help us! May God see the sincerity of our remorse and our resolution to convert our lives back to him.
No priest will hear confessions because he is not allowed by the guidelines of the Archdiocese. It is just too dangerous. “Do not think that you cannot be infected,” the medical advise goes. “Think that you have already been infected and isolate yourself before you will infect others.” In other words, keep yourself and everybody else safe.
“Do what the Catechism says,” Pope Francis stressed, “it’s very clear: if you don’t find a priest to hear your Confession, talk with God, He is your Father, and tell Him the truth: ‘Lord, I’ve done this, and that, and that . . . I’m sorry,” and ask Him for forgiveness with all your heart, with the Act of Contrition and promise Him: “Afterwards I will go to Confession, but forgive me now.” That you truly desire to go to confession but you cannot because circumstances does not allow it. The longing to confess is called “Votum Confessionis.”
You remember, of course, that when you are celebrating Mass, and then you have not gone to confession, and then you feel this great desire [votum] to receive communion. Receive communion and make that promise that you will go to confession as soon as you can.
When the war will be over, we will have our regular sacramental confessions and our regular Eucharistic celebrations with our regular parish priests inside our own regular parish Church again! And we can look at one another in the eye, with big smiles on our cheeks, clasp our hands, bow and hug and kiss in a sign of universal peace and brotherhood of all men.
Because with God we will overcome all wars!