List of points

There are 3 points in Friends of God refer to Confession; Reconciliation .

Our Lord has come so close to his creatures that we all hunger in our hearts for higher things, to be uplifted, to do good. If I am now prompting similar aspirations in you, it is because I want you to be convinced of the confidence he has placed in your soul. If you let him work in you, you will become, right where you are, a useful instrument, more useful than you could ever have imagined. But to make sure that cowardice does not make you betray the confidence God has placed in you, you must avoid the presumption of naively underestimating the difficulties that you will meet in your Christian life.

These difficulties shouldn't surprise us. As a consequence of our fallen nature, we carry within us a principle of opposition, of resistance to grace. It comes from the wounds inflicted by original sin, and is aggravated by our own personal sins. Therefore we have to strive ever upwards, by means of our everyday tasks, which are both divine and human and always lead to the love of God. In this we must be humble and contrite of heart and we must trust in God's help, while at the same time devoting our best efforts to those tasks as if everything depended on us.

As we fight this battle, which will last until the day we die, we cannot exclude the possibility that enemies both within and without may attack with violent force. And, as if this burden were not enough, you may at times be assailed by the memory of your own past errors, which may have been very many. I tell you now, in God's name: don't despair. Should this happen (it need not happen; nor will it usually happen) then turn it into another motive for uniting yourself more closely to Our Lord, for he has chosen you as his child and he will not abandon you. He has allowed that trial to befall you so that you may love him the more and may discover even more clearly his constant protection and Love.

Take heart, I insist, because Christ, who pardoned us on the Cross, is still offering us his pardon through the Sacrament of Penance. We always 'have an advocate to plead our cause before the Father: the Just One, Jesus Christ. He, in his own person, is the atonement made for our sins, and not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world,' so that we may win the Victory.

Forward, no matter what happens! Cling tightly to Our Lord's hand and remember that God does not lose battles. If you should stray from him for any reason, react with the humility that will lead you to begin again and again; to play the role of the prodigal son every day, and even repeatedly during the twenty-four hours of the same day; to correct your contrite heart in Confession, which is a real miracle of God's Love. In this wonderful Sacrament Our Lord cleanses your soul and fills you with joy and strength to prevent you from giving up the fight, and to help you keep returning to God unwearied, when everything seems black. In addition, the Mother of God, who is also our Mother, watches over you with motherly care, guiding your every step.

Holy Scripture points out that even 'the just man falls seven times'. Whenever I read this phrase my soul trembles with love and sorrow. This divine indication shows us Our Lord once again setting out to meet us and speak to us about his mercy, his tenderness and clemency that know no limits. Be sure of this: God does not want our wretchedness, but he is aware of it, and indeed he makes use of our weakness to make saints of us.

As I was saying, I tremble out of love. Looking at my life, I see quite honestly that I myself am nothing, am worth nothing and have nothing, that I can do nothing and, even more, that I am nothingness itself! But He is everything and, at the same time, he belongs to me and I to him because he does not reject me and has given himself up for me. Have you ever seen a greater love than this?

I tremble also out of sorrow, because when I look back at what I have done, I am amazed at the extent of my failings. All I have to do is to examine my behaviour in the few hours since I woke up this morning to discover so much lack of love, so little faithful correspondence. This truly saddens me, but it does not take away my peace of mind. I prostrate myself before God and I state my situation clearly. Immediately he helps me, he reassures me, and I hear him repeat slowly in the depths of my heart, meus es tu!, I know the way you are, as I have always known it. Forward!

It cannot be otherwise. If we strive continually to place ourselves in Our Lord's presence, our confidence will increase when we realise that his Love and his call are always present. God never tires of loving us. Hope shows us that without him we cannot carry out even the most insignificant duty. But with God, with his grace, our wounds will quickly heal; clothed with his strength we shall be able to ward off the attacks of the enemy, and we shall improve. To sum up, the realisation that we are made of clay, and cheap clay at that, has to lead us, above all, to strengthen our hope in Christ Jesus.

The struggle of a child of God cannot go hand in hand with a spirit of sad-faced renunciation, sombre resignation or a lack of joy. It is, on the contrary, the struggle of the man in love who, whether working or resting, rejoicing or suffering, is always thinking of the one he loves, for whose sake he is happy to tackle any problems that may arise. Besides, in our case, being united with God, we can call ourselves victors because, I insist, he does not lose battles. My own experience is that when I strive faithfully to meet his demands, 'he gives me a resting place where there is green pasture, leads me out to the cool water's brink, refreshed and content. As in honour pledged, by sure paths he leads me; dark be the valley about my path, hurt I fear none while he is with me; thy rod, thy crook are my comfort.'

To win the battles of the soul, the best strategy often is to bide one's time and apply the suitable remedy with patience and perseverance. Make more acts of hope. Let me remind you that in your interior life you will suffer defeats and you will have ups and downs — may God make them imperceptible — because no one is free of these misfortunes. But our all powerful and merciful Lord has granted us the precise means with which to conquer. As I have already mentioned, all we have to do is to use them, resolving to begin again and again at every moment, should it prove necessary.

I would like to see you going to the holy Sacrament of Penance, the sacrament of divine forgiveness, every week, and indeed whenever you need it, without giving in to scruples. Clothed in grace, we can cross mountains, and climb the hill of our Christian duty, without halting on the way. If we use these resources with a firm purpose and beg Our Lord to grant us an ever increasing hope, we will possess the infectious joy of those who know they are children of God: 'If God is with us, who can be against us?' Let us be optimists. Moved by the power of hope, we will fight to wipe away the trail of filth and slime left by the sowers of hatred. We will find a new joyful perspective to the world, seeing that it has sprung forth beautiful and fair from the hands of God. We will give it back to him with that same beauty, if we learn how to repent.

References to Holy Scripture
References to Holy Scripture