Practice of Penance and Growth in Holiness

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A recurring motif in the Holy Father's words to us is the call to repentance. Hope without repentance is a false hope. Repentance is the beginning of growth in holiness. Here is an excerpt from the Holy Father's homily at yesterday's Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit in Washington, D.C.

Growth in Holiness

Today I encourage each of you to do what you can to foster healing and reconciliation, and to assist those who have been hurt. Also, I ask you to love your priests, and to affirm them in the excellent work that they do. And above all, pray that the Holy Spirit will pour out his gifts upon the Church, the gifts that lead to conversion, forgiveness and growth in holiness.

Prayer From the Depths of the Heart

Saint Paul speaks, as we heard in the second reading, of a kind of prayer which arises from the depths of our hearts in sighs too deep for words, in "groanings" (Rom 8:26) inspired by the Spirit. This is a prayer which yearns, in the midst of chastisement, for the fulfillment of God’s promises. It is a prayer of unfailing hope, but also one of patient endurance and, often, accompanied by suffering for the truth. Through this prayer, we share in the mystery of Christ’s own weakness and suffering, while trusting firmly in the victory of his Cross. With this prayer, may the Church in America embrace ever more fully the way of conversion and fidelity to the demands of the Gospel. And may all Catholics experience the consolation of hope, and the Spirit’s gifts of joy and strength.

The Sacrament of Penance

In today’s Gospel, the risen Lord bestows the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and grants them the authority to forgive sins. Through the surpassing power of Christ’s grace, entrusted to frail human ministers, the Church is constantly reborn and each of us is given the hope of a new beginning. Let us trust in the Spirit’s power to inspire conversion, to heal every wound, to overcome every division, and to inspire new life and freedom. How much we need these gifts! And how close at hand they are, particularly in the sacrament of Penance! The liberating power of this sacrament, in which our honest confession of sin is met by God’s merciful word of pardon and peace, needs to be rediscovered and reappropriated by every Catholic. To a great extent, the renewal of the Church in America depends on the renewal of the practice of Penance and the growth in holiness which that sacrament both inspires and accomplishes.


God bless you Father, at least you are listening to the Holy Father and reflecting upon what he teaches, rather than criticizing the liturgical celebrations he participates in.

This is exactly what I noticed when I read Holy Father's homily and the last sentence (the one you wrote in bold letters) is what impressed me the most. I wish I could hear my dominican fathers from the parish mention confession in their sermons.

Thank you father for your blog. On more than one occasion after being a bit down I went to your blog and found an inspired passage from the life of a saint or from a homily or a prayer. There is so much superficial, argumentative, unimportant and degrading stuff on the internet and the main reason I like your blog is that with every post you try to direct our gaze to our Lord, our Lady and the saints without false sentimentality.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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