Bishop Ricken

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The Most Rev. David L. Ricken is the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.

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Lent is good time to repent sins

By | March 10, 2010

As these present circumstances call us to conversion and to intercession, they ought also call us to move more fully into the truth. The truth that none of us is here in this transitory world for very long, that each of us is on a pilgrimage. Every day ought to be a step closer to our final destination, which is union with God. There are many pitfalls, obstacles and accidents along our journey. Sometimes we even take detours that we know will lead us to a dead end. Those detours abound and are called sins. Through the beautiful gift of the sacrament of reconciliation, we can once again recover our sense of direction on the road to the Kingdom of God. Through fruitful examination of conscience and confession of sins, we recover a lost innocence and can be restored with a new and fresh spiritual life.

Keep us priests busy this Lent in the confessional. Celebration of the sacrament with people who are truly prepared and repentant, brings great meaning and joy to our life as priests. For those of you who have been away from the sacrament for a long time, come back to this beautiful gift. If you have forgotten how, ask the priest for some assistance and he will be glad to help you. “There is more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over the 99 who have no need of repentance.” Welcome back to the sacrament, to a fresh new beginning.

There is a well known story about St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, from France, who was experiencing apparitions of Jesus Christ who appeared to her in the form of his Sacred Heart, beating with love and mercy for his people. Her spiritual director did not know whether to believe her spiritual experiences and so he asked her one day to ask Jesus to reveal to her the sins which he confessed in his last confession. Obediently, she mentioned to Jesus that her confessor had asked her to ask him, “What were the last sins he had confessed in the sacrament?” Jesus’ answer was, “I don’t know. I forget.”

When we come to the sacrament of mercy, we recognize that through his passion and death, Christ forgives our sins and in this encounter of mercy, we are able to free ourselves through the grace of the sacrament from the burden and effects of these sins, which we carry with us for weeks, months, or even years.

May this time of fear and nervousness over the situation of the economy in the world bring us to a greater simplicity of life that helps us to set aside our rebellious spirit and to be obedient to Christ who is all love, who is all truth, all mercy.

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