Monday 29 August 2022

A Simple Penance Book - Mgr Paul Grogan - CTS Devotions and Prayers

A Simple Penance Book
Revised by Mgr Paul Grogan
ISBN 9781860829260
eISBN 9781784693053
CTS Booklet D777

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:

“Acting as a guidebook for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, A Simple Penance Book guides penitents through the institution of the sacrament and its benefits, culminating in a guide on how to make a good confession.

The practice of Confession, Penance and Reconciliation bears rich fruit not only in the Christian’s own life but impacts directly on the lives of those around us. The true joy needed in the mission to share our faith arises from a real experience that our sins have been forgiven.

For those familiar with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and those who are not, A Simple Penance Book acts as a simple and helpful guidebook for the sacrament. Taking penitents through the institution of the sacrament and its benefits, it culminates in a guide on how to make a good confession.”

The chapters in this work are:

Scripture and Confession
 Sin and reconciliation in Scripture
 The Institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Confession and the Christian Life
 Benefits of confession
 Contrition, confession and satisfaction
 Call to continuous conversion
 Preparing for confession
 Making a good confession
 The practice of regular confession
 Writings of Popes and saints
How to go to Confession
 The Rite of Penance
 Scripture passages
 Examination of conscience
 Prayers of sorrow
 Prayers of thanksgiving
 Other prayers

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

“There is a new interest in the Sacrament of Penance. Young people long to unburden themselves to Christ and to receive his forgiveness and with suitable encouragement they are able to overcome any apprehension they may feel about disclosing their sins. More mature Catholics too are rediscovering the sacrament.”

“The title the Sacrament of Confession, conveys two aspects: our readiness to acknowledge what we have done through articulating our sins and our confidence in God’s mercy which we confess through our celebration of the sacrament. The title the Sacrament of Reconciliation illuminates the fact that God reconciles us to himself, restoring that friendship which our sins have damaged so that we experience a “true ‘spiritual resurrection’” (CCC 1468).”

““Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so am I sending you.’ Then he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’””

“Our understanding of the benefits to be gained from the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be heightened if we pause to consider how necessary reconciliation is.”

“If we need to convince ourselves of the need for reconciliation, let us not think of our sins and failings, let us rather stand by the cross with Mary our mother and the disciple whom Jesus loved and let it sink into our heart that all his pain and agony was joyfully undergone to save each of us-you and me-from our sins.”

“Regular confession is recommended. Confessing to the same confessor is also a good arrangement. Why? Because it helps us to form our conscience, to fight against selfish and evil tendencies, and it 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.”

“Conversion is not just a human work. It is a gift of God given to the contrite heart-by God who loved us first. It does not mean changing faith. It involves an acknowledgement of our condition and a willingness to change the direction in which we are going. It is not a quick or superficial process, but deep and can take as long as is required.”

“Recognising sin is the first step to the joy of being freed from sin. To start, I need to see my sin, to know that my sin is mine. I am to blame. It is my responsibility. This sin is then also mine to confess to Christ and so to be freed from it. I am not free to confess what I don’t admit to owning. I have to recognise and admit to my sin before I can give it to Christ. Then he will lift the burden from me, taking my sins on his cross.”

“There are several problems and difficulties which regularly seem to get in the way when I try to examine my conscience. If these are a problem, it is good to recognise them, and to have some way to deal with them.”

“A simple, but detailed explanation is more likely to give me true insight into my sin, and make me more contrite. Candour and simplicity are great paths to both contrition and repentance. They help my conscience to be open and at rest.”

“Heartfelt sorrow for our sins and a determination not to sin again are at the centre of our reconciliation with Our Lord and his Church. Before approaching the priest we need to prepare ourselves by prayer and examining our conscience.”

“What Christ offers in this sacrament is the very thing we need in order to avoid what is wrong and be better enabled to do what is good. It stands to reason that we need it as regularly as we need to pray. Note, as regularly, not as frequently. 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.”

“St Josemaría Escrivá "you revealed your past wounds–full of pus–in Confession. And the priest dealt with your soul like a good doctor, like a conscientious doctor. He made an incision where he had to, and would not let the wound heal over until everything had been cleaned out. Be grateful.” (Furrow, 168)”

“St John XXIII "Doing penance for one’s sins is a first step towards obtaining forgiveness and winning eternal salvation. That is the clear and explicit teaching of Christ, and no one can fail to see how justified and how right the Catholic Church has always been in constantly insisting on this. She is the spokesman for her divine Redeemer. No individual Christian can grow in perfection, nor can Christianity gain in vigour, except it be on the basis of penance.” (Paenitentiam Agere, 1)”

“The Church recognises the dangers in mere routine repetition of the sacrament, and so she provides a rich variety of choice to suit our spiritual needs at different times; even if we always go to the same priest (generally a good thing to do) details of the celebration of the sacrament will change as he sees growth and change taking place in our determination to be ever renewed in the way of Our Lord.”

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.”

“Lord Jesus, you opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick, forgave the sinful woman, and after Peter’s denial confirmed him in your love. Listen to my prayer: forgive all my sins, renew your love in my heart, help me to live in perfect unity with my fellow Christians that I may proclaim your saving power to all the world.”

I hope those quotes will give you a feel for the content and therefore the value of this booklet. Having read the older edition and this one back to back, if I had to pick one it would be this volume. It is much more extensive. There are a greater number of prayers, scriptural passages. And the overall length is longer. Some of the passages in this edition are word for word from the previous iteration of the book. But many have been rewritten or are entirely new way of presenting the material. The booklet was written for personal use, for teaching RCIA, or for use in the school, church or home.  

This is a wonderful volume and one I know I will return to often. It is an excellent resource for personal growth. I can easily recommend this book to all Catholic readers, knowing they would benefit by the reading of this book. It is an excellent resource from the CTS.

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.

No comments: