The following letter was written by Padre Luigi Duilio Graziotti, co-founder with Mother Providence, of the Missionaries of Faith in Bergamo, Italy. Mother left this world on 16 June 2002. Padre and the Sisters are working every day to gather all the documents and teachings of Mother Providence in order to bring her cause for sainthood to light. Padre Graziotti writes simply, but with great love from the heart. Please read on . . .
We have reached the beginning of a new year. Therefore, our first thought towards God must be to thank Him for having preserved us in life until today; while so many millions of people younger than us have already died.
As a sign of gratitude, we must thank Him not only with the mouth and with the heart, but also, needing to show Him through our actions. And, since the proverb says: “New Year, new life”, we are invited to improve our way of living. This can happen by using the means that the Church offers us, and that helps us to become better. Such a means are the Holy Sacraments. Among them there is one that, we could say, is the most important, Penance.
Even if I have spoken to you at other times of this means, it now seems to me opportune to return to it, because unfortunately many will have forgotten. There are those, who believe themselves to be good Christians, who don’t think about confessing even once a year. And yet they approach to receive Holy Communion in such a state, not even considering if they are in God’s grace, or in deadly sin…with no thought of the risk of committing such a serious sacrilege. It is important, therefore, to deeply ponder such a Sacrament, above all to know its necessity, its greatness, its effectiveness and its power for the Christian life. If some Saints confessed themselves every day, the reason was that they had understood the very fruitfulness of this Sacrament.
Indeed, we can say that Penance is the only Sacrament which we can approach every time that we want to, when we need to, or even more than once a day.
In this Letter, however, I want to speak to you only of the essential means to make a good Confession.
1st. Invoking the Holy Spirit
First of all it is opportune to prayerfully invoke the Holy Spirit to help us know well all the sins we have committed. This unfortunately almost nobody does, while indeed, it would be very profitable.
2nd. Examination of conscience
To make a good examination of conscience it is beneficial to see what and how sins had been committed by recalling our last good Confession. Then it is necessary to take to mind the Ten Commandments and the Laws of the Church to see also in what virtue we are lacking, above all sins against charity towards another.
3rd. A sincere repentance and intention not to commit them anymore
To receive pardon of our sins, it is necessary to be sincerely repentant and resolute not to commit them anymore. The repentance and the intention not to repeat the same sins, are essential conditions to receive pardon from God. God cannot be deceived, because He sees within, and if He understands that the aforesaid good dispositions are not present, He doesn’t forgive us, even if the Priest lifts his hand and acquits us.
4th. Confessing our sins in the presence of a Minister of God
Regarding the accusation of sins, I want to specify this: Confession is not valid done in front of the Crucifix, as some unfortunately believe. The sins that you are forced to confess are above all deadly, and these need to be specified in kind, in number and the circumstances.
A) In respect to the kind, it must be said what Commandment we have infringed, to let the Confessor understand well what type of sin has been committed.
B) In respect to the number, we have to say how many deadly sins have been committed, possibly saying the precise number, or at least approximate.
C) Finally, we give the circumstances in which they have been committed, because it makes known the gravity of the sin. In fact it is well different, for example, to curse when he is alone, or to curse in public. The swearword pronounced in front of adult people, or even in front of their children has a different gravity, both for the scandal, both because those who hear it could follow the example of such a behaviour. This applies to all sins.
5th. Penitence proposed by the Priest
The last condition, so that the Confession is valid, is to make the penitence that the Priest imposes upon us, so that the due punishment for the confessed sins may be expiated.
I bless you all, I greet you from the heart, and I assure my prayers.
P. Luigi Duilio Graziotti