The Word Among Us

June 2008 Issue

Publisher's Letter

Prior to my conversion in 1971, I was what you would call a "good Catholic boy." I went to church because I was supposed to go, because it was good for me, and because I did not want to go to hell. But everything changed when I had a conversion experience during a prayer meeting in my parish. I knew Jesus as my Savior, Lord, and best friend. I saw the cross no longer as a nice statue but as a reminder of the suffering that Jesus went through for my sake. My whole life changed, and I can still say that my conversion was the best thing that ever happened to me. More »


“Neither  Do I Condemn You.”

Have you ever felt just a little bit jealous of the people who met Jesus while he walked the earth? Don’t you wish you had the chance to see him, just as Mary Magdalene, Peter, and all the others did? Wouldn’t it be marvelous to actually hear Jesus’ voice and experience his touch? Of all the people who encountered Jesus, it must have been the ones who experienced his mercy who were touched the most deeply. Think of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). More »

After having confessed your sins, your confessor will probably offer some advice or maybe even ask a few more questions to help open your heart to the healing grace of this sacrament. Then, he will invite you to make an act of contrition before he says the prayer of absolution. More »

The Sacrament of  Transformation

While recent studies have shown a significant decline in the number of people who regularly celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, there is another side to the story. Church leaders are trying to address these results, and it appears that something is beginning to change for the better. More »

Confession and 
the Cross

It’s Pentecost Sunday in Jerusalem, and the apostles have just been filled—and surprised, no doubt—by the Holy Spirit. A crowd forms, and everyone is trying to figure out what is going on. That’s when Peter steps up and offers an explanation. His preaching is passionate, joyful, and powerful. And at the core of his message is a proclamation that continues to be central to the message of the gospel: “God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). More »

1. Contrition.

Contrition is “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.” The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an examination of conscience made in the light of the Word of God. The passages best suited to this can be found in the Ten Commandments, the moral catechesis of the Gospels and the apostolic Letters, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the apostolic teachings.

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Special Feature

Saint of the Confessional

On a gray and misty late afternoon in February 1818, a thirty-one-year-old priest reached the outskirts of a backwater village north of Lyons, France. Immediately, he knelt down on the roadside and prayed. Fr. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney, just beginning his first assignment as pastor, was already interceding for a mission that he knew to be beyond his ability. “There is not much love for God in that parish,” the vicar general had told him about the little town of Ars. “You will bring some into it.” More »

My last boyfriend called it “stacking.” “You’re stacking,” he’d say, when he caught me unnecessarily reviewing every problem that I might possibly have in a lifetime all at once, rather than dealing with problems that were present and solvable. More »

For the past month, I have been reading a portion of Matthew’s Gospel during my morning prayer. I’ve done this before, on my own, but this time around, I have a guide to accompany me: George Martin’s new book, Bringing the Gospel of Matthew to Life. Martin, a popular and reliable biblical commentator, not only unpacks the meaning of the text for me, he also illuminates it with insights that have practical consequences for my life. More »