Circle of Prayer -  Repentance
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"Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" Romans 2:3-5 (RSV)

Repentance is expressed regret. Within our hearts we acknowledge that we have done wrong and need to say we are sorry and make amends, both to God and to those whom we have harmed in any way. To carry that regret around unacknowledged and unspoken leads to guilt which eats away at the soul. Lay down the burden in front of the Lord in true sorrow and regret, seeking His forgiveness. Our Father in heaven waits for us every second to turn our hearts towards Him. He sent His only Son to earth to take on the whole sin of the world but we in turn have to make the moves.

"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" Luke 10:12-14 (RSV)

Jesus told the story of the Prodigal son and the joy the father had to see his son return after many years in exile and having spent his inheritance on 'wine, women and song'. Parents who have lost their children to the world of evil worry and pray for them constantly. If they return and change their ways imagine the happiness of those parents. God is the very same. We are His beloved children and He grieves over our bad decisions and misguided journeys too. But still He waits for us to return like the lost sheep to the flock.

"Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:6-8

We are human and we make mistakes and God loves us none the less for that but we block our way to Him through sin. WE block OUR way! God never abandons us, it is we who turn away from Him. The Redemptorist Fathers have given us a lovely simple system of looking into our hearts and finding the ways we have done wrong - an examination of conscience by dividing our lives into some general areas. But we must be truthful and honest to self, because to avoid or deny any area we are only fooling ourselves - God knows us through and through. Try going through the following list, asking the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to those areas that need change, and then say a small prayer of repentance, seeking His help and grace to avoid further occassions of repeating the wrongdoing.

  • My Relationship with God
    • Do I give time to God?
    • Do I pray every day?
    • Do I spend time with the Lord at Church, Temple, Synagogue or attend Mass regularly?
  • My Home Life
    • Am I hard to live with?
    • Do I make my home a happy place in which to live?
    • Am I moody or selfish?
    • Do I cause serious problems in my home - unfaithfulness, drunkeness, violence, long cold silences?
    • Do I seek help knowing the hurts I am causing?
  • My Relationships with Others
    • Am I tolerant of and unselfish towards others?
    • Am I kind in word and deed?
    • Do I pray for my enemies and forgive them?
  • My Practice of Justice
    • Do I respect the needs, rights and property of others?
    • Am I honest in my business dealings?
    • Do I pay my debts?
    • Do I work to the best of my energies and abilities?
    • Do I cheat, steal or make false calims?
    • Do I pay my taxes?
This little Prayer of Repentance should be said from the heart, meaning every word:

"God our Father, I thank You for loving me. I am sorry for all my sins - for not loving others and not loving You. Help me to live like Jesus and not to sin again."

For us as Catholics we believe that the graces given out through the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the confessional are all-powerful. The Priest is the representative of Jesus on earth and in humility we kneel before him, talking out the wrongs we have done, saying we are sorry and asking God for forgiveness.

"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." John 20;19-23 RSV

The Father's blessing to us comes through the hands of the Priest blessed by a long unbroken line of bishops right back to Jesus Christ.Yes, even those Priests who too have sinned in their own weakness as humans. God never takes away the gift He has given and through the Sacrament of Ordination to His Holy Priesthood He continues to use His Priests as conduits or pipelines to us. He is grieved by the sins of Priests and waits for them too to repent but He does not allow their sins to block our way back to Him.

Satan is using these human, weak and sorrowful men to claim people for himself. Their wrongdoing as Shepherds is scattering His Sheep, giving the weak 'faithful' an excuse to turn their backs on God and to stop going to Mass and Confession. We are all open to temptation and the heart and the mind of a Priest is no more divine than is ours, no more able to withstand temptation then we can. As members of the Body of Christ we should be praying for our Priests every day. They are more vulnerable to the attacks of Satan than we are! Satan knows well how to split and divide. See the page on Priests Need Prayers Too!.

Moytura has several other sites with a 'Christian flavour'. Prayerful Thoughts & Thoughtful Prayers is a little collection of prayers and thought-provoking stories, and a few links to some other really nice websites. Reflections for Lent offers a daily meditation for the 40 days of lent and the week leading into Easter. As part of my Journey section of the website join me to learn a little of the Early Christian Church in Ireland by visiting Clonmacnoise, founded by St. Ciaran on the banks of the River Shannon in the 6th. Century. Read about Saint Brendan the Navigator who started a Monastic settlement in the tiny village of Clonfert in the 6th century, located on the Galway/Offaly/Tipperary border. Travel on my journeys to two of Canada's most famous Catholic Shrines - Saint Anne de Beaupré and Cap de la Madeleine, both on the shores of the Saint Lawrence river in Quebec. Finally I welcome you to come with me to see a little of Medugorje, a peaceful haven in a war-torn country - Bosnia-Herzogovina. Please also pay a visit to  Moytura's Irish Bookshop where you can find books on the history of Christianity in IrelandIrish Prayers and Celtic Christianity

Below are some of the other areas of Moytura's web site.

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