THE WEEK OF EPIPHANY – FRIDAY
LESSON: ROMANS 6:15-19
Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:20,21
The Sacrament should be given only to those who have declared their need before God and are seeking strength and consolation through it as a means of grace. If a man does not really feel any great need for the Sacrament, he would be better advised to stay away from it. He should not follow the example of those who observe a special period of real ascetical martyrdom before they come to the Sacrament, and who nevertheless do not really know why they come.
When you have received the Sacrament, go forth and practice your faith. Participation in the Sacrament enables you to say, “I have publicly received the Word which assures me of the forgiveness of sins, and have taken the public sign of this in my mouth. This I am able to attest as I have publicly confessed it before the devil and the world.” If death and a bad conscience assail you, you can take your stand on this with boldness against the devil and sin, and thus strength your faith and lighten our conscience over against God.
On this basis you can also look for improvement from day to day. Without the Sacrament, you become sluggish and cold, and the more you withdraw yourself from it the more sluggish you become. But if you feel that you are sluggish, weak, and lacking in faith, where else can you find strengthening than here? If you make a long delay until you become pure and strong enough, you will probably never come to the Sacrament, and it will be of no use to you.
PRAYER: Dear God, enable us at all times to recognize the open door which you have provided for us in the Sacrament, so that our faith is increased and we derive strength from it to follow in the footsteps of your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen