As a group we read through Saint John’s description of the “Prison”, that place of deep repentance freely entered and embraced by those who had broken their vows and sinned against God.
John holds the image of this place before our eyes in order that it might act as a mirror. Listening to the description and envisioning it within our minds, we are to ask ourselves: Do we see the same kind of sorrow over sin and infidelity in the face of Love? Do we see anything within us of the zeal that these men have for the Lord? Having fallen into the pit of iniquity are we equally willing to sink into the abyss of the humility of the repentant?
We seem perfectly willing to bear the indignity of sin and its tyranny even though we understand that Christ took our flesh upon Himself, made Himself to be sin in order that He might also take upon Himself the consequence of that sin which is death. What is our awareness of that reality and faith revealed to us? Does it pierce the heart? Do we bewail the loss of virtues as if they were children that have died? Do we cry out, where is my purity of prayer? Where is my former boldness? Where the sweet tears instead of the bitter? Where is the hope of perfect chastity and perfect purification? Where is my faith in the shepherd?
Text of chat during the group:
00:17:46 Anthony: "Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted."
00:25:40 Anthony: Perhaps this mourning is actually the goal of even modern day sentences for fallen religious to retire to a monastery and do penance for great sins? This sounds like it is for the most serious of sins.
00:32:12 Daniel Allen: This oddly makes me think of Mary holding Jesus when he was taken from the cross. Her Son, all her joy and blessing, now lifeless and in her hands but not there. But awaiting the resurrection
00:39:21 Carol: It reminds me of the Song of Songs, chasing after the Beloved.
00:45:14 Rachel: you touched upon something that I was wondering about. How at the core of a lack of a desire to make reparation to live a penitential life in the acknowledgment of what sin does to us, is a lack of faith in the goodness of God.
00:54:42 Ren: The thought that is coming most to mind, for me, in reading this step is: do I take my sin seriously? Do I really accept the truth about what sin does, and what its “wages” are? - death. That death reenters the world within me with each sin. Or do I take the crucifixion for granted? So far removed from it as a historical event that I am comfortable with what has been done for me? Sadly, I realize that I really do hold sin lightly.
01:00:18 Anthony: The movie "The Professor and the Madman" illustrates this kind of lifelong mourning for a deed - even an evil deed that might not have been done by a madman.
01:00:35 Ashley Kaschl: Love that movie. So true.
01:00:39 Anthony: *might _have_ been done by a madman
01:05:21 Rachel: I want to add to what Ren was touching upon. Many people are uncomfortable with shame, I am speaking of a healthy shame that is the result of real sin. How one can be discouraged by others who are uncomfortable with really entering in to the suffering of another and what bigger suffering is there than sin and its consequences? This is why God became man.
01:08:58 Ashley Kaschl: A priest once helped someone I know to understand penance as a daily thing, not just something you do after confession, especially when he gave that someone a lifelong penance for a sin not connected to murder or something horrifically physical but for a spiritual sin. This priest did not do so as a punishment, and it was in the bounds of not being an unjust burden upon the person, but because the person had been approaching a sin against the Holy Spirit (despair of God’s mercy). So the balm, according to this confession, was a life-long, daily prayer as a penance so that the soul would not be confounded by this temptation. Obviously, this is not the norm these days, but I have met a few people who have such penances, who aren’t murderers or rapists or thieves, etc. But I think it is interesting to ponder.
01:15:11 Babington (or Babi): Thank you. 🙏🏼💔🙏🏼✝️
01:15:28 Rebecca Thérèse: Thank you 🙂
01:15:37 Cindy Moran: Thank you, Father.
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