Sunday 28 August 2022

A New Penance Book - Father J Webb and Father Robert Taylerson - CTS Devotions and Prayers

A New Penance Book 
Father J Webb 
Father Robert Taylerson
ISBN 9781860821868
CTS Booklet D660
1977, 2003

Over the last few years I have read over 300 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society and many of them more than once. I have ready many books in the CTS Devotions and Prayers Series that have been of benefit to my faith. This was one of two I read back to back and they are different versions of the dame book, even though they have different ISBN’s and CTS Booklet numbers. The two are:

A New Penance Book - Father J Webb and Robert Taylerson - CTS Devotions 1977 revised 2003 D660

A Simple Penance Book - Revised by Mgr Paul Grogan - CTS Devotions 2014 D777

There is a lot of material from A New Penance Book in A Simple Penance Book so if you are going to track it down I recommend the newest edition. But both were well worth reading. 

The description of this volume is:

“A New Penance Book will help you understand how to go to Confession. It explains the Christian disciples need for a continuous conversion of the heart, which produces a gradual change of life. It explains what the sacrament is and how to prepare for penance. Prayers are included. This booklet is suitable for personal use, and for instruction of adults, as well as young people and children.”

And the back cover states:

This little booklet will help you understand how to go to confession. It explains the Christian disciple's need for a continuous, 'true interior conversion'. It is this 'conversion of the heart', which produces a gradual but sure and real change of life. In this sense we discover the radical nature of the Sacrament of Penance. This booklet explains what the sacrament is, why we need it, how to approach the sacrament and prepare for it. There is a section for use when going to confession, and a collection of helpful prayers and scripture passages, for preparation and thanksgiving. This booklet is suitable for personal use, and for instruction of adults, as well as young people and children, in a school or family setting.

The chapters and sections in this work are:

Why go to Confession? 
Sacrament of Reconciliation - Summary
Preparing for Confession 
Examining your Conscience 
Going to Confession 
Scripture Passages 
Prayers of Penance and Thanksgiving 
Rediscovering Penance and Reconciliation

I highlighted several passages while reading through this book some of them were:

“Many people find the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or penance, or confession - keep to the old names if you like), difficult. It is for some a rather neglected sacrament, approached out of duty rather than with joy. There is a feeling that one is not getting the best out of it, if indeed there is anything to be got out of it, over and above confession and absolution.”

“First of all, what happens when we are reconciled in the words of absolution? Put simply, Christ unites himself with us by grace. He floods our soul with his presence.”

“Naturally, the more you realise what there is to be gained from the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the more you will want to take care that you make the most of it.”

“An important part of preparation is looking forward to going to confession. Yes, looking forward. The more we look forward to an event the more we are likely to benefit from it - that's the point of Lent and Advent – and is not being restored to wholeness and soundness of soul worth looking forward to? What God works in us is cause for deep spiritual joy, and therefore well worth looking forward to.”

“The essential ingredient of the sacrament is, from our point of view, sorrow. But we tend to forget, perhaps, that sorrow is not something we can manufacture by ourselves; it is a gift from God - so the best way to achieve sorrow is to ask for it, knowing it will never be refused.”

“Real sorrow consists in acknowledging that through our own fault we have offended our maker and redeemer by going against his will. We acknowledge this in humbly asking pardon, in intending to turn away from sin and in a willingness to do our best to make up.”

“Spiritual development or striving for perfection is nothing else than seeking a closer relationship with Our Lord, and there can be no relationship with anybody without regular personal contact.”

“We need to pray more often than we need confession, but both should be done as a regular practice. We have more cups of tea than we have warm baths, but hopefully we have both regularly.”

“Be patient; there is no such thing as instant improvement, and the results of being regularly reconciled to God will be gradual and cumulative.”

The Six Chief Commandments of the Church
1. To keep the Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation holy, by hearing Mass and resting from servile works.
2. To keep the days of Fasting and Abstinence appointed by the Church.
3. To go to Confession when we are conscious of having sinned gravely.
4. To receive the Blessed Sacrament at least once a year, at Easter or thereabouts.
5. To contribute to the support of our pastors.
6. Not to marry within certain degrees of kindred without dispensation.”

“This sacrament has many names, and is commonly known as Confession. While Confession itself forms an essential part of the sacrament, it is not all of it. It is more accurately known as the Sacrament of Conversion in which we respond to Christ's call to return to the Father; of forgiveness since the priest grants us Christ's pardon and peace; of reconciliation, where we are reconciled to God and our neighbour.”

Mercy produces mercy
Regular confession is recommended. Confession to the same confessor also. Why? Because it helps us form our conscience, fight against selfish and evil tendencies, and opens us to Christ's healing and to progress in the life of the Spirit - to become more and more like our Master. The constant receiving of mercy helps us in turn to be merciful as he is merciful.”

If I had not read the two editions of this book back to back I might not picked up on how much of this volume appears verbatim in the new edition. That being said if you can lay your hands on this edition it is not incorporated completely in the new. And there is enough material omitted that I am thankful I read both. There were some prayers in this one that were not translated to the newer edition. 

This was an excellent read. If you are going to track it down I would recommend the 2014 edition as either a physical booklet, which is still in print, or an eBook available on a few platforms. If you stumble across this one and want a different look at the subject by all means read both. I know I benefited from it. It is not the first time I have read two books from the CTS to find out there was a first and second or once even a first, second, and third edition. But both of these are excellent. It is a great resource from the Catholic Truth Society.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Robert Taylerson:
Teachings on Prayer: The Christian Tradition - CTS Deeper Christianity Series
Daily Examination of Conscience: Using Scripture Texts Suggested in the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Story of Prayer Through Scripture – CTS Deeper Christianity Series

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