Today is the Byzantine calendar's "Sunday of the Prodigal Son" when we hear Luke 15:11-12, and rejoice again at the reminder of the Father running to forgive and welcome his child home, and there was no line to the open door to the confessional room at the front of church.
|From Priest's Homily today: "We are all Prodigal Children. But how do we act when we need to be the one showing mercy and forgiveness like the Father? Do we want mercy for us, but for those that offend us justice like the older son?"|
I went in and the priest, same one I went to last week, laughed when I said, "I know I was just here, but since there was no line . . . " I think he was thinking the same thing. But then he told me it is a blessing to repent and go to Confession on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, and that Our Lord's heart is filled with joy when someone repents and goes to Confession. Nothing fills my heart with joy more than hearing that the simple couple steps from my pew to the confessional room bring joy to my Lord's heart . . . well that my repentant heart in action brings joy to his Sacred Heart.
The priest gave me some great advice to meditate on a prayer of St. Faustina's that I have included below. He ended by first putting his hand on my shoulder reminiscent of the embrace of the father in the Prodigal Son parable. He then put his hand on my head for the Absolution, the words of which alone are beautiful, but the moment they are said is one I wish I had the spiritual sensitivities to absorb.
I am trying to say that words are too small to contain the ocean of grace that washes over a person to forgive, heal and strengthen as the priest in the person of Christ says the prayer of Absolution.
Then he left his hand there and prayed for the Holy Spirit to come upon "your handmaid". He prayed for me, for my husband, for our children. So beautiful and so powerful right after the grace of absolution.
This doesn't happen every time I go in. He seems to know when I need the extra laying on of hands and praying.
My heart has been so peaceful all day and God's loving presence within my soul so obvious and wonderful. In short . . . an ocean of grace.
Prayer of Absolution in the Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Rite (a.k.a. Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church):
May our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, by the grace and mercies of His love for us, pardon you, my child, N, all your faults, and I, an unworthy priest, by His authority given to me, pardon and absolve you of all your sins, in the name of the +Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Prayer of Absolution in the Roman Catholic Rite:
God, the Father of mercies, (2 Cor. 1:3)
through the death and resurrection of His Son
has reconciled the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19; cf. Rom. 11:15; Col.1:20)
and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; (John 20:21-23)
through the ministry of the Church (2 Cor. 5:18-20)
may God give you pardon and peace, (Luke 7:50; Col. 1:14)
and I absolve you from your sins
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, +
and of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer of St. Faustina that he recommended I meditate on and pray, emphasis added by me:
163 JMJ The Year 1937 General Exercises
+O Most Holy Trinity! As many times as I breathe, as many times as my heart beats, as many times as my blood pulsates through my body, so many thousand times do I want to glorify Your mercy.
+I want to be completely transformed into Your mercy and to be Your living reflection, O Lord. May the greatest of all divine attributes, that of Your unfathomable mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors' souls and come to their rescue.
Help me, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbors' needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings. Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.
Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.
Help me, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. My true rest is in the service of my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my kindness. And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will bear my own suffering in silence. May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me.
+You yourself command me to exercise the three degrees of mercy. The first: the act of mercy, of whatever kind. The second: the word of mercy-if I cannot carry out a work of mercy, I will assist by my words. The third: prayer-if I cannot show mercy by deeds or words, I can always do so by prayer. My prayer reaches out even there where I cannot reach out physically.
O my Jesus, transform me into Yourself, for you can do all things.