Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments: June 2012 Archives

A person who attends a bible study I organize asked if indulgences are still possible, in vogue, as it were. "Weren't they done away with at Vatican II?", I was asked. I assured this person that indeed indulgences were still a common practice in the Catholic Church and that they have received a renewed sensibility with Benedict XVI. THE thing that catapulted the Church into the protestant revolution is now being talked about with seriousness and sincerity because it is realized that the practice of giving indulgences does help us to know ourselves and the mercy of God better.

In brief, the Catechism teaches that "The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance" (1471ff).

So, what is an indulgence? Why would a Catholic be interested in knowing more about indulgences?

"An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints."

The Sacrament of Confession (aka Reconciliation or Penance) is a source of a new life for the Christian. It sets the soul ablaze in the love of God. It radically re-orients your life anew.

Change is difficult; admitting that one is a sinner is the grace of God in action. It is only by God's grace do we have the fortitude and courage to face our ugly self. Who wants to admit one is a sinner? Not many people. But when you realize that holiness is recognized in knowing who you are, that you are a loved sinner, and accepting the invitation to speak with Jesus Christ through the ministry of the priesthood, all is different.

The confession of sins helps us to confront our pride and our wrong-doing in a concrete, loving manner. This sacrament is nothing more, nothing less than taking the merciful hand of God.

Throw yourself onto the mercy of the Triune God. A little encouragement is here in this short video on Confession.
Corpus Christi procession.jpg

The feast of Corpus Christi has a rich fare to savor: prayers, Bible readings, music, and poetic texts. The point of the Church offering us this opportunity to honor the Eucharistic Presence is to extend in our lives a deeper grace given in Communion theology, to have a closer with the Lord in His promised hundredfold. It is, of course, a deepening in our lives what the Lord Himself did and gave to us on Holy Thursday with Eucharist and the priesthood.

The Sequence (the poetry which follows the second lesson at Mass and directly precedes the Alleluia verse), Lauda Sion Salvatorem, is ideally fitting for the sacred Liturgy. Google this masterpiece of poetry expressing theology in a way that stimulates prayer and deepens one's faith.

The English priest Father Ronald Knox offers a perspective on what we're doing in observing the great feast of the Lord's Body and Blood. The following is taken from his meditation on Corpus Christi:

Like the Jewish Temple, the Christian altar is the rallying point of God's people. The whole notion of Christian solidarity grows out of, and is centered in, the common participation of a common Table. The primitive Church in Jerusalem broke bread day be day from house to house; its stronghold of peace was not any local centre, but a common meal. Christian people, however separated by long distances of land or sea, still meet together in full force, by a mystical reunion, whenever and wherever the Bread is broken and the Cup blessed.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Sacred Liturgy & Sacraments category from June 2012.

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