“There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to ‘the slavery of sin’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1733).
From a commentary on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop
The passion of the whole body of Christ
Lord, I have cried to you, hear me. This is a prayer we can all say. This is not my prayer, but that of the whole Christ. Rather, it is said in the name of his body. When Christ was on earth he prayed in his human nature, and prayed to the Father in the name of his body, and when he prayed drops of blood flowed from his whole body. So it is written in the Gospel: Jesus prayed with earnest prayer, and sweated blood. What is this blood streaming from his whole body but the martyrdom of the whole Church?
Lord, I have cried to you, hear me; listen to the sound of my prayer, when I call upon you. Did you imagine that crying was over when you said: I have cried to you? You have cried out, but do not as yet feel free from care. If anguish is at an end, crying is at an end; but if the Church, the body of Christ, must suffer anguish until the end of time, it must not say only: I have cried to you, hear me; it must also say: Listen to the sound of my prayer, when I call upon you.
Let my prayer rise like incense in your sight; let the raising of my hands be an evening sacrifice.
This is generally understood of Christ, the head, as every Christian acknowledges. When day was fading into evening, the Lord laid down his life on the cross, to take it up again; he did not lose his life against his will. Here, too, we are symbolized. What part of him hung on the cross if not the part he had received from us? How could God the Father ever cast off and abandon his only Son, who is indeed one God with him? Yet Christ, nailing our weakness to the cross (where, as the Apostle says: Our old nature was nailed to the cross with him), cried out with the very voice of humanity: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
The evening sacrifice is then the passion of the Lord, the cross of the Lord, the oblation of the victim that brings salvation, the holocaust acceptable to God. In his resurrection he made this evening sacrifice a morning sacrifice. Prayer offered in holiness from a faithful heart rises like incense from a holy altar. Nothing is more fragrant than the fragrance of the Lord. May all who believe share in this fragrance.
Therefore, our old nature, in the words of the Apostle, was nailed to the cross with him, in order, as he says, to destroy our sinful body, so that we may be slaves to sin no longer.
O Lord, I come before you just as David did so many years ago. I come freely admitting my sins. I come humbly, acknowledging that my offenses have been an affront to your holiness, your justice, and your love. Have mercy on me, Lord!
O God, you have shown me how my thoughts, words, and actions have turned me away from your grace and your protection. I can see how the consequences of my sins have affected not only my relationship with you but my relationship with my brothers and sisters as well. O Lord, in your loving compassion, blot out my transgressions! Wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sins!
Father, through faith in you and by trusting in your Son’s death and resurrection, I believe that I have been redeemed. I believe that you can throw my sins from me as far as the east is from the west. Filled with confidence—not in myself but in your power and mercy, I confess my sin and ask you to forgive me. Lord, I know that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation I can experience not only forgiveness but healing and restoration as well. And so I come to you, Father, hoping to receive your grace to begin again. Thank you, Lord!
Father, words alone cannot describe what it is like to come back to you and feel your embrace once more. You promised through your prophet that even though my sins are as red as scarlet, they can be made as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). How can anyone fully express what it feels like to be made so clean?
Sometimes I think that being forgiven is like having a large, crushing load lifted from my back, allowing me to stand up straight again. Other times it feels like a heaviness is lifted from my chest so that I can breathe freely once more. And every time, I feel a wonderful strengthening through your grace, Lord, enabling me to say “no” to temptation. Thank you, Father, for the joy that this brings!
Father, your love and mercy are unending!
(Word Among Us-March 2013)
"As we anticipate your coming to us a humble child this
Christmas, Lord Jesus, help us to embrace your gospel with simple, childlike faith: faith that is centered in humble gratitude for the gift of life itself; faith that inspires us to embrace your Spirit of understanding compassion; faith that is focused on making your Father's kingdom of reconciling peace a reality in our time and place." (Waiting in Joyful Hope-Jay Cormier)
"It is much easier for a person who is not self-absorbed to go toward holiness. Such a person, upon seeing his own evil, begs God for His mercy even though he does not know if he trusts His Creator, or if he is able to be grateful for His love. In his soul, however, there may be a certainty that God will come to rescue him."
(God Alone Suffices, pg.109)