Saint Ledislava of Lemberk, O.P.

The Order honours Saint Ledislava as a faithful wife and a loving mother who raised four children, but her care extended to all those in need, especially the sick and the poor.  Saint Zedíslava was one of the first Lay Dominicans and established two Dominican priories.  Died 1252.  Canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1995.  We remember in our prayers today all those people associated with the Order and especially the friends and benefactors of our own community.

It is amazing how we become used to the dark.  Whether it’s the gradual shift from evening to night-time or the way we grope around when we first enter an unlit room, we gradually become accustomed to the darkness and find some way to keep functioning.  To a certain extent we can accept the limitations of the darkness and muddle through the best we can.

The same could be said of our relationship with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Long-standing or repeated sin can create a gathering darkness in our hearts that keeps us stumbling through life, muddling through the best we can.  But this isn’t what God wants for us.  Through Confession, he invites us to step out of that darkness and into his glorious light.

We may think that we are doing okay in the darkness because we are accustomed to it.  We have learned how to cope with it, and our lives seem to go on unhindered.  So why bother dredging up the sin?  Why bother trying to change?  We do it because life is so much easier in the light and staying in the darkness limits our freedom and places a heavy shroud over our relationship with God.  Just as we would be foolish to choose the unending darkness of night or an unlit room, we wouldn’t want to live in the guilt and shame of sin.

But there’s more to the Sacrament of Reconciliation than simply receiving God’s forgiveness.  Confession also opens us to God’s healing power.  Whatever our “sickness” is—whatever mind-sets we have that keep us distant from God—Our Lord wants to heal us, just as he healed the physical sicknesses of those who came to him.  St. Paul calls these mind-sets strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4).  In fact, there is a strong link between being forgiven for individual sins and seeing these sinful strongholds weakened or destroyed.

The good news is that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  It is there for anyone who steps out of the darkness of sin and into the light of God’s love and mercy.  And it all begins with a few simple words: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…”

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