Innocence

For those who have lost their innocence:

The Gospels tell us that unless we become like little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. But it is often difficult to return to that initial innocence after what we have seen and heard and done. How can we start over again?

St. Anthony's preaching and actions showed a way. There was a gang of thieves who wanted to hear the saint, more out of curiosity than conviction. But the beauty of St. Anthony's words moved them to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The confessor told each of them that they were never to return to their previous evil ways of life. Those who listened to this instruction lived peaceful lives, while those who returned to their lives of crime soon reached a miserable end.

On another occasion, there was a man who went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Like many of us, he was very nervous, so nervous that he had to write down his sins lest he forget them. Yet, even after he had done this, he was still so nervous that he couldn't even read the list. St. Anthony read it for him. As he read off each sin, it disappeared from the list. God always gives us a second and third and fourth chance. But we have to take our conversions seriously and choose to become childlike again.

Prayer for oneself:

St. Anthony,
You preached so beautifully upon the mercy of God.
Help me to experience that mercy fully.
May I be honest with myself about
my spiritual condition.
May I make a good and holy confession of my faults.
May I be bathed in God's life giving mercy
and begin over again,
washed clean in the blood of Christ.
Amen.

Prayer for others:

St. Anthony,
You preached so beautifully upon the mercy of God.
Help ________ to experience that mercy fully.
May he/she be honest with himself/herself about
his/her spiritual condition.
May you lead him/her to make a good and holy confession
so that he/she might experience God's life giving mercy
and begin over again,
washed clean in the blood of Christ.

Amen.

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