Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies

Missale Romanum 1962 (MR '62)

For this week's meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we consider today’s Collect in the MR ’62 for Quinquagesima, Latin for the “fiftieth” day (approximately) until Easter. The following translation of this Collect is taken from the Angelus Press edition of the Roman Catholic Daily Missal:

"We beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously hear our prayers and releasing us from the bonds of our sins, guard us from all adversity. Through our Lord, etc. Amen.”

This Collect is a prime example of the Church’s pivot into the Lenten season, because it suggests to us the very beneficial practice of going to Confession towards the beginning of Lent. Literally, the prayer reads, “and having been loosed from bonds of our sins, guard us from all adversity.” The sense here is that God will indeed guard us against the coming adversities of the Lenten season (sin and temptation) as a consequence of our first having yielded to His action of grace in our souls, cleansing us from sin. In other words, penance will be more efficacious for ourselves and others, if we first cleanse our souls from sin in the sacramental laver.

We see this same argument put forward in the Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1430:  

“Jesus' call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before Him, does not aim first at outward works, ‘sackcloth and ashes,’ fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.” 

Confession is absolutely necessary if we are conscious of mortal sin (the requirements of mortal sin are grave matter, full knowledge, full consent). Yet even if we are in the state of grace, we do well to go to Confession with regularity as we see in Catechism no. 1458:

“Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as He is merciful.”

As we can see, there will never be a time when we walk out of Confession poorer than when we went in, because there exist what we might call concomitant graces of the Sacrament of Confession. God is very generous in all the Sacraments, providing many additional graces beyond the principal grace bestowed in each Sacrament. In Confession, God forgives our sins (the principal grace), but he also unites us more perfectly to Himself in charity in many ways (the secondary graces), so that we can dwell ever more securely in His embrace.

Confession opens our hearts more fully to this divine embrace, and so, increases our ability to remain and grow stronger in God’s friendship after absolution. This embrace is what enables us to grow in virtue and conquer vice. Ultimately, growth in this divine friendship will prove more powerful than sin, if we yield more and more to its influence. Our Collect appears to operate precisely within this very dynamic, implying that God will grant even more grace to us, the more we allow Him to place our sins in the rear view mirror. God is ever ready to give: the onus is on us to be ready to receive. 

Additionally, every sincere Confession leads us into a spiritual treasure hoard, wherein all the merits of Christ’s Passion and Death, as well as all the merits of Our Lady and Saints are present and available to us, so that we can come to know and love God more, and find further strength for ongoing conversion (cf. Catechism nos. 947-8, 1474-77). 

Yet another diverse array of concomitant graces! We are all the richer, therefore, if we frequent this awesome Sacrament.

(David Allen)

Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.


About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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