Tag Archives: advice


Quick relief

Let me tell you a story about Bishop Fulton Sheen. It well illustrates how delicately God, through thisĀ sacrament of confessionĀ , takes away from us the terrible burden of sins. Really it’s like having a tooth out with anaesthetic. Jesus took all the pain in his Passion. We just feel the relief.

Bishop Fulton Sheen was on a plane journey, and after a time the man next to him, seeing he was a priest, said, ‘You know, Father, I’ve got all sorts of troubles.’ Fulton Sheen said, ‘What are they now?’

The man started telling him all his woes, and after a time the Bishop said, ‘You know, from the way you’re talking you might be a lapsed Catholic.’ And the man said, ‘Well Father, I suppose you could call me that.’

Fulton Sheen said, ‘How long is it since you went to confession?’

‘About twenty years.’

‘Are you married?’


‘Are you living with your wife?’


‘Are you having an affair with another woman?’


‘Well, fasten your seat belt, and I’ll hear your confession.’

When he had been to confession the man said,

‘You know, Father, I reckon God wanted me to sit here, because I had a seat reserved on a previous plane but I missed my connection, and I had to ring my wife and say I was coming on the next plane. This seat I’m sitting on was the only empty seat left on the plane.’

God’s plans

Fulton Sheen said, ‘Does your wife go to the sacraments?’ and the man said, ‘No.’ ‘Is it long since she went?’ ‘About the same as me.’

So Fulton Sheen said, ‘When we get there you must introduce me.’

At LA Guardia airport, the man introduced Fulton Sheen to his wife and they found a secluded part of the airport and he heard her confession too.

Now that incident shows how confession defuses what could be an explosive emotional situation, the return of the prodigal son.

Confession makes the return of the sinner to God easier, because it concentrates the sinner’s attention and energy on the one essential element in the whole process of reconciliation: the movement of the will away from sin and towards God, in other words, a change of heart. This sacrament cuts out the frills. It keeps emotion in a duly subordinate place and enables the sinner to come straight to the point.

God respects our free will

God respects our free will. He does not force anyone. He does not force the sinner to come back. But confession makes it all relatively easy and unembarrassing.

It took God’s wisdom and love to invent this sacrament, which frees us so gently from our sins. I once knew a nurse who worked in a maternity hospital. She was a very gentle soul, and she once told me that women who’d had surgery would ask for her to take their stitches out. They knew no one could be more gentle. That’s how Jesus is with our souls when he comes to us in this sacrament. No one could be more gentle.

But he does more than just take away our sins. He also strengthens us against further temptation. For there are other graces we receive in this sacrament besides the forgiveness of sins…”

– Fr Hugh S. Thwaites, S.J.


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O Almighty God, Whose wise and amiable providence watches over every human event, be thou my light and my counsel in all my undertakings, particularly in the choice of a state of life. I know that on this important step my sanctification and salvation in great measure depend. I know that I am incapable of discerning what may be best for me; therefore, I cast myself into thy arms, beseeching thee, my God, Who hast sent me into this world only to know, love and serve thee, to direct by thy grace every moment and action of my life to the glorious end of my creation.

I renounce most sincerely every other wish than to fulfil thy designs on my soul, whatever they may be, and I beseech thee to grant me that grace which, by imbibing the true spirit of a Christian, will enable me to qualify myself for any state of life to which thine adorable Providence may call me. O my God, whenever it may become my duty to make a choice, do thou be my Light and my Counsel, and mercifully MAKE KNOWN TO ME THE WAY WHEREIN I SHOULD WALK, FOR I HAVE LIFTED UP MY SOUL TO THEE. Preserve me from listening to the suggestions of my own self-love, or worldly prudence, in prejudice to thy holy inspirations. Let THY GOOD SPIRIT LEAD ME INTO THE RIGHT WAY, and let thine adorable providence place me, not where I may naturally feel inclined to go, but where all things may be most conducive to thy glory and to the good of my soul. Amen.

Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, Seat of Wisdom and Help of Christians, pray for me.


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“Pray inwardly even if you do not enjoy it. It DOES GOOD even though you feel nothing, even though you think you are doing nothing…

Because of the tender love which our good Lord has for all who want to be saved, He comforts readily and sweetly: ‘It is true that sin is the cause of all this pain; but all shall be well, and every kind of thing shall be well.’

These words were revealed [to me] most tenderly without any kind of blame to me or to anyone who wishes to be saved.”


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If you wish always to press forward on the path of virtue without stopping, you should pay great attention to things which may serve as chances for acquiring virtue, and never let them slip out of your hands.

Therefore those are ill-advised who do everything in their power to avoid any kind of obstacles in their path of virtue, in spite of the fact that these might have helped towards success in their progress. For example, if you wish to gain the habit of patience, you should not avoid the people, things and circumstances which particularly try your patience.

Meet them with a good will and the resolve to submit to their unpleasant effect on you, but at the same time prepare yourself to suffer them with unshakeable calmness of spirit. If you do not act thus, you will never learn patience.

You should adopt the same attitude towards any work which displeases you, either in itself or because it is imposed on you by a man you dislike, or because it interferes with the work you do like. In other words, you must not avoid it but, on the contrary, must undertake it without digging in your toes, and must do and finish it through, as though it were the most welcome work, never letting your heart be troubled by it, especially by the thought that, were it not for this business, you would be completely at peace.

Otherwise you will never learn to bear the afflictions you will meet; nor will you find the true peace you seek by running away from such things, obviously through self-indulgence; for peace does not dwell in self-indulgent hearts.

I advise you to do the same in relation to the thoughts, which at times invade you and trouble your mind with memories of human injustices and other inappropriate things. Do not stifle them or drive them away, but let them leave you of their own accord, not through your opposition, but through the patience with which you endure them.
– Fr Lorenzo Scupoli, 16th century


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