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Spiritual Reflection - May 2024


This article is a continuation of the other essays produced for 2024 on the subject of prayer.

Over the years of my life in the priesthood, I have been fortunate enough to work with people prepared to devote a time to being with God in stillness and quiet.

The one thing I have repeatedly noticed is, when someone really commits to giving a time to prayer on a regular basis, they will very soon become aware of their own feeble response to God. Often, this is preceded by a powerful experience of God’s love. It seems that the more powerful the experience is, the greater will be their awareness of sin, or, how far away from God they have been living. 

One writer expressed it this way: the powerful experience of God’s love, ejects the skeleton out of the closet. The lesson to be learned here is, when we are considering our response to God, we should always do it in the context of God’s love. This we can do, by considering how blessed we are in the first place. The more we practice this, the more we believe in a merciful God and then we lose the fear of facing our truth, which may at times be disturbing and even extremely painful.

In our present day in New Zealand, the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation) or Confession as we used to call it, has practically disappeared. This isn’t because people don’t believe that the Church has the right to forgive sin, or that they don’t need forgiveness. It is more likely they just are not going the right way about it. Trying to think up a few sins you might have committed, without any sense of being reconciled, makes the practice of confession somewhat meaningless.

When your prayer is immersed around the love of God, you will have no trouble facing the issues which prove to be difficult for you. All you need to deal with when making a Confession are the issues that don’t sit very comfortable within you. What disturbs your peace?

Praying with Scripture is of course the most helpful tool we have. Taking a single text from the readings of the day will sooner or later bear fruit. Within the popular hymn ‘Come to the water’ are the words: Just as the rain falls to water the earth … my word upon you can never return, until my longing is filled!’


1)     What are your thoughts about the usefulness of the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

2)     We used to call this Sacrament, ‘confession’. Do you know why we attempted to discard that term?


God, my God

Why have I abandoned you?

Help me answer that question.

Teach me

Guide me

Send your Spirit upon me

Help me know the Good Shepherd

The light of the world that darkness cannot overpower

The way, the truth, the life.

Open my heart to see that I am blessed.