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Jesus Is Lord: Repentance – Recognize and Receive {Week Four}

REPENTANCEchrist-king3Welcome to the Jesus Is Lord series! This is the fourth installment of the Jesus Is Lord course offered for adults at St. William Catholic Church in Round Rock, Texas.

If this is your first time visiting this series, I encourage you to take a few moments and read through the series introduction that will give a clear picture of the purpose and content of the Jesus Is Lord course. The introduction post not only outlines the course, but goes over the motivation to share in this class on the internet. 

Today’s class is about Repentance – Recognize and Receive. Last week’s class was about Salvation – God’s Solution for SinIf you would prefer to watch this class, please scroll to the bottom. Keep in mind the recorded classes are not from our current class and contain testimonies from different people presented in the text below. Check back next week for Confession and then the following installment which will cover Holy Spirit – Going from the Seat to the Feet

TEACHING

Begin with prayer.

Noe starts the evening by sharing that repentance has two components – recognizing and receiving

EXAMPLE.  He gave his daughter the car, but there was something wrong with the suspension. The mechanic recommended putting new wheels on the car, too, and suggested another company to do the work. Fixing the alignment without putting new tires on it wouldn’t truly fix the alignment. It would just be a matter of time before the alignment was off again. 

And so it is with true repentance. We need to both recognize and receive in order to have true repentance. We are going to explain in detail how to receive God’s forgiveness.

  1. We have to take responsibility for our sins. The blame is mine.
  2. We need true contrition. I feel sorry for what I’ve done.
  3. We need to take an active role in avoiding the near occasion of sin. My intention is to not sin again.

Father Uche Andeh spoke to the group about Repentance: Recognize and Receive. The following is a summary of his talk:

We continue in our journey – the next phase – thanking the Lord for His special mercies and favors. So far we have talked about God’s Love, Sin and Its Consequences, and Salvation and God’s Solution for Sin. The process of “cashing the check” was written by the work on the Cross. We started talking about the Kerygma – the original message by the apostles – the message included repentance. It did not start with the apostles, but Jesus Himself as we see in

Mark 1:15 “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

The message Jesus preached then still applies. It is what He is telling you TODAY. The right time has come. The ball is in your court. You need to turn away from your sins and believe in the Good News. When He talks about turning away from sin – and Pope John VI hammered this point – He is talking about metanoia {literally repentance or penance} When you turn your back on God, God is saying turn back – 180 degrees. Bishop Fulton Sheen says when we turn away from God through sin, it’s like you turn away from the sun – what do you see when you turn away from the sun? You see your shadow, your fears, the things that give you fear, and as you walk away from the sun, the shadow gets longer. But, when you turn towards the sun, the shadow is behind you and the closer you get to the sun, the shorter the shadow is. It’s forgiveness from all the worry and anxiety we place on ourselves. But we first have to turn towards God.

CONTRITION IS AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT

Not because we fear Him, but because we love God. It is not the only thing needed in Catholicism. It is contrition and ALSO avoiding the near occasions of sin. The Catholic understanding of repentance is not “oh, I’m sorry” only.

Example. An alcoholic encounters Jesus – he knows it destroys the family. He wants to turn his life around, so he is sorry for drinking. He knows that hanging out with his friend Louie will lead to drinking…excessively. Avoiding the near occasion of sin means telling Louie the new state of affairs and ask Louie to change, too. If his friend does not, he knows spending time with his friend is an occasion of sin and he knows he will fall into the same behavior again.

Repentance is saying I’m sorry

and I’m going to make an effort to avoid situations that cause me to fall

Repentance has to involve both components. Avoiding the near occasion of sin is being as shrewd as serpents and as simple as doves. If you intentionally put yourself in the path of sin, you are just like a child playing with fire.

When Jesus called His disciples – they left everything {metanoia} and they follow Him. That’s what we’re supposed to do as Christians – old things have passed away and new things are here now.

CONTRAST this with

John 6:66 As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Following Christ means changing everything – your attitude, motives, thoughts, behaviors, etc. You are a completely new creation in Christ Jesus.

CCC 1431  Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart).

Turning away from evil, sin, wrongdoing, and from ruining your life is the point at which we STOP being the boss of our own life. We turn it over to Jesus. Two conflicting options will always be present, though. We can choose what we want to do instead and not what God wants us to do due to lack of trust. What we are striving for is returning to a life of obedience.

Turning away from sin has consequences and will come with some pain.

You have to be willing and able to deal with that pain in exchange for the peace that God gives you. 

Turning towards God is about falling in love. What happens when people fall in love? They do things they wouldn’t normally do. Without the falling in love part, you will feel like you are being punished. Love makes it a little bit easier to bare – not easy, but easier to bare.

Being lukewarm is no longer an option.

Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

We have to make up our mind.

God has courted us all these years and now you have to decide.

You can’t stay in no-man’s land. 

It takes action.

Mark 9:43-49 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ “Everyone will be salted with fire.

What does Jesus mean? He’s not talking about actually mutilating yourself, but rather some of these things we do – sins – we need to cut them from our lives. We are as attached to our sins as our hands are to our body. In other words, cutting ourselves off from our favorite sins can be as painful as cutting off our hand or foot.

Example. You are with someone who wants to gossip all the time. Something has to give…sin can become so engrained in us that it becomes second nature – it’s impossible for us to separate from it. God says bring your addiction to Me and we will remove/operate/cut that aspect off so that you can start the healing process.

God gives you a simple proposition at this point in your journey. Are YOU willing to take this step with Him? This 180? Sometimes we doubt, but if you do your part, God will do His part because He is always faithful.

He is challenging you today – if you do your part, He will do His. He will see you through.

DURING THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION. Whatever sins you forgive are forgiven – and that confession is principally between you and God. So that you can make a good confession, do not focus on the priest, do not worry with what he might think of you. Think of the priest as the phone you would use to talk directly to God. Confession is complete when you do penance.

Based on Psalms 51:10, play this song and use the music as meditation to allow it to be an administration of the Holy Spirit to you. Use the words to respond to God and make it a prayer to Him.

SCRIPTURE

Below is a summary of the Scripture that Noe used to break down Father Uche’s talk.

Sacrament

Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

When we get rid of the obstructions in our lives through the sacrament of Confession, the light of Jesus will touch people.

EXAMPLE. Noe uses a flashlight to demonstrate how we are a light for others. Facilitators turn off the lights, but…

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…darkness. The light doesn’t work!

The flashlight should have lit the whole place! It’s a Catholic flashlight! I saw it going to confession! The light of Jesus should have shown.

Examination of conscience

We need to let the Holy Spirit show us our sin. The more sin we allow Him to show us, the better our confession is and, the more we confess, the brighter our light can shine.

An examination of conscience is like reading through the Texas driver’s handbook – you might know some of the rules, but not all of them. A good examination of conscience will help you go over all the rules, not just the ones you know. The one above is based on the Ten Commandments.

::Please click AFFExamination of Conscience to retrieve the examination of conscience used for this class::

EXAMPLE.  I am the Lord, your God, you shall have no other gods besides me. Looking over the first commandment, our first reaction may be no, I don’t break that one! I don’t bow down to tree stumps or have golden calves in my living room. So, we look to the italicized questions that further break down each commandment. It says I am the Lord your God. God is in charge and it is He who tells us what to do. Consequently, no other gods should be before Him. 

So, how do I find out what God wants me to do each day?

I report for duty…through prayer.

If I don’t pray, I don’t get my marching orders and I end up doing my own thing.

Not praying everyday is bending the first commandment.

EXAMPLE.  If you’re going to write on your examination of conscience, don’t write your name on it. Noe put his name on his EoC booklet – certain parts were highlighted. He used his booklet so often that one time he went to confession – and it was devastating. He had his list and was waiting for the line to get smaller. He left his booklet in his haste, but when he went back to church, it wasn’t there and didn’t see it again until an old lady gave it to him. Noe jokes the woman probably knew him better than anyone else!

Let the Lord tell you what you need to take to confession and you will make a good confession. 

EXAMPLE. You shall not desire your neighbor’s goods. 10th commandment – Do I trust that God will care for all my material and spiritual needs? Noe spoke about his car and transmission that fell out in Denton, TX. He gave the mechanic a hard time. He was angry that the mechanic couldn’t get the car fixed and he refused to pay the mechanic who had already put in 20 hours labor. All of this came back to Noe as he reflected on that question. His answer was no, I don’t think God can fix a Honda. And that’s why I’m acting so rude and unfair. Noe repented and confessed – called mechanic to apologize for how he spoke to him. He agreed to pay for the 20 hours.

The next day the car was running. 

Don’t think the Holy Spirit isn’t going to use your experiences to help you make a better confession.

EXAMPLE. Noe, opens the flashlight and sees there were some sins the flashlight didn’t confess – pornography, lying, deliberately missing Mass {and he has little flashlights who are following his example!}.

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Now that he has confessed those sins, let’s try the flashlight again.

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Confession helps us better shine the light of Christ!

TESTIMONY

54:03 is where the testimony starts.

This testimony is taken from another semester, but is the same person who shared for the Fall 2013 Repentance: Recognize & Receive class.

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION

  • PRAYER
  • QUESTIONS
    1. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE HOMEWORK? {read and share why}
    2. ANY COMMENTS ON PRAYING FOR YOUR PARTNER?
    3. WHAT STRUCK YOU ABOUT THE PRESENTATION?
  • STUDY:  Read John 14 and Acts 2

SUMMARY

Homework is to be done daily – reflect on Scripture and Repentance: Recognize & Receive through the week. If you are in a group, pair up two or three and commit to pray daily for your prayer partner. Small groups come together for a few minutes of question and answer in the large group. If you have any questions, please leave a comment in the combox below so that we can help in any way possible.

CONCLUSION

Prayer of Abandonment

Father,
I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do, I thank You:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only Your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into Your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to You with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for You are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld

OPTIONS: If you would like to watch the class, please visit the St. William Adult Faith Formation page to watch the previously recorded class on Repentance: Recognize & Receive. The testimony is given by the same person, but is from a different semester, OR you can watch the video below of the same class given by Father Uche in Spring 2013. The testimony portion begins at 49:40 on the video shown below.

 

 

About Martina Kreitzer

Martina is a cradle Catholic, wife to Neil, and mother to seven kiddos here {and three in heaven}– 4/96-1/17. She decided to homeschool the kiddos in 2010 after many years in public schools. She is the creator of Catholic Sistas which focuses on a feminine perspective of the Catholic Faith. The website was the result of an existing camaraderie by the contributors in a Catholic women’s group she created. She is also a Seal of Approval evaluator for the Catholic Writers Guild. Lest you think she spends all her time online, Martina has enjoyed getting out into the community by serving on the Pastoral Council from 2010-2013. She is constantly on the lookout to make her parish as welcoming as the small town she grew up in East Texas. This task is not easy given that St. William is the largest parish in the Austin diocese, serving well over twenty thousand parishioners. She loves Jesus, coffee, bacon, chocolate, photography, more bacon, evangelizing, and the company of those unafraid to use their sense of humor.