Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia - Encyclical on the Priesthood - Pope John XXIII - Part 18

His Concern for Sinners
90. St. John M. Vianney always had "poor sinners," as he called them, in his mind and before his eyes, with the constant hope of seeing them turn back to God and weep for the sins they had committed. This was the object of all his thoughts and cares, and of the work that took up almost all his time and efforts. (92)

91. From his experience in the tribunal of Penance, in which he loosed the bonds of sin, he understood just how much malice there is in sin and what terrible devastation it wreaks in the souls of men. He used to paint it in hideous colors: "If we"—he asserted—"had the faith to see a soul in mortal sin, we would die of fright." (93)

92. But the sufferings of souls who have remained attached to their sins in hell did not add to the strength and vigor of his own sorrow and words as much as did the anguish he felt at the fact that divine love had been carelessly neglected or violated by some offense. This stubbornness in sin and ungrateful disregard for God's great goodness made rivers of tears flow from his eyes. "My friend"—he said—"I am weeping because you are not." (94)

93. And yet, what great kindness he displayed in devoting himself to restoring hope to the souls of repentant sinners! He spared no effort to become a minister of divine mercy to them; and he described it as "like an overflowing river that carries all souls along with it"95 and throbs with a love greater than that of a mother, "for God is quicker to forgive than a mother to snatch her child from the fire." (96)

The Seriousness of Confession
94. Let the example of the Cure of Ars stir up those who are in charge of souls to be eager and well-prepared in devoting themselves to this very serious work, for it is here most of all that divine mercy finally triumphs over human malice and that men have their sins wiped away and are reconciled to God.

95. And let them also remember that Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XII, expressed disapproval "in the strongest terms" of the opinion of those who have little use for frequent confession, where it is a matter of venial sins; the Supreme Pontiff said: "We particularly recommend the pious practice of frequent confession, which the Church has introduced, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, as a means of swifter daily progress along the road of virtue." (97)

96. Again, We have complete confidence that sacred ministers will be even more careful than others in faithfully observing the prescriptions of Canon Law, (98) which make the pious use of the Sacrament of Penance, which is so necessary for the attainment of sanctity, obligatory at certain specified times; and that they will treat those urgent exhortations which this same predecessor of Ours made "with a sorrowful soul" on several occasions (99) with the supreme veneration and obedience they deserve.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be respectful in your comments. Anonymous comments are no longer taken.