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What is the difference between confession and spiritual direction?


Q: Dear Father John, what is the difference between confession and spiritual direction? A: Confession and spiritual direction are like partially overlapping circles: they share some common characteristics, but their centers, their essences, are distinct. The Distinction of Confession The essence of confession is the sacramental grace that Christ gives to our soul through the ministry of his priest.... Read More

Confession, Devotional-Navigating the Interior Life Spiritual Dictionary


CONFESSION – DEVOTIONAL: The practice of regular confession even when one is not aware of mortal or even venial sins. This practice includes setting and keeping a specific schedule of self-examination and confession. This may also include the confession of past mortal or venial sins even if confessed previously in specific or in general. Devotional confession can also make note of imperfections though... Read More

Saint Angela of Foligno and the Enlightenment of Penance

October 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Anthony Lilles, Featured, Penance/Confession


Even though she died in 1309, Saint Angela of Foligno helps us appreciate the enlightenment that can come from a life of penance.  It was a time not unlike our own. Epicureanism was destroying society even as great saints attempted to help their contemporaries see that there is so much more than the short term pleasures of the here and now.  Saint Angela started out more on the Epicurean side of... Read More

How Can I Forgive When I Can’t Forget?


How Can I Forgive When I Can’t Forget? While many people believe forgetting an injury is part of forgiveness, Fr. Justin Waltz, pastor of St. Leo’s Church in Minot, ND, suggested just the opposite. In fact, he stated that forgetting is not even possible. “The only type of forgetting I have heard of is stuffing,” he said during a retreat presentation and added, “The hurt is not gone,... Read More

Moments of Grace: Reconciling with God


While working as a Chaplain Associate a few years ago, I visited “Joe” in his hospital room.  He stopped drinking about ten days before but was getting very sick.  “Drinking is stupid,” he said, “I never used to drink.  One day I had a little bit, and then a little more and then I was drinking a lot, every day.   Now, they’re doing tests and something might be wrong with my... Read More

Saint Hildegard of Bingen on Receiving Holy Communion

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At the center of the spiritual life is the real presence of Christ Jesus given to us in the Eucharistic worship He instituted for our sake.  Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church, reminds us of the proper disposition we must maintain throughout our worship.  It is a disposition of quaerere Deum, a reverent and intense seeking of God in love that takes us beyond the limit of what we can... Read More

CSD Book Club – 33 Days to Morning Glory (Week 4 of 7)

May 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

Book Club image

A Kiss from His Sacred Heart Do we yet realize the mysterious link between the darkness we sometimes experience in our own lives and that of the Lord’s suffering?  Let us ponder Mother Teresa’s words on suffering that come from her own experience and so, like her, become better lovers of the Heart of Jesus: Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss... Read More

Open the Floodgates of Mercy!

Kazimirowski_Eugeniusz,_Divine_Mercy,_1934 Wikimedia copy

Beginning on Good Friday and culminating on Divine Mercy Sunday, the second Sunday of the Octave of Easter, the Church turns her attention to the divine mystery of merciful love.  This devotion in different forms is a special gift from the saints of our era.  St. Therese of Lisieux made an offering of herself to this mystery at the end of the 19th Century.   Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity understood... Read More

The Glory of Christ Crucified

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The Cross of Christ brings His glorious grace into the focus of contemplation.  It is a difficult mystery to dwell on. The heart sometimes finds itself weary and sometimes even too discouraged to fix its gaze on the agony of the Lord. This is where frequent confession and humble examination of conscience can help the practice of mental prayer – which is a humbled gaze of the heart on the mercy... Read More

CSD Book Club – The Imitation of Christ (Week 9 of 10)

February 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

Book Club image

The Imitation of Christ   Woe to you… Examine your conscience with great care, and cleanse and purify it as best you can by true contrition and a humble confession. Thus, nothing grievous will remain in you and you will know of nothing that could cause you remorse and hinder your free access to Me. In general, be sorry for all your sins, but in particular, you must grieve and bewail those... Read More

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