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Identify and confess your sins ‘concretely,’ Pope Francis says

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by Hannah Brockhaus

Vatican City, Apr 29, 2020 / 04:05 am MT (CNA).- When identifying your faults, avoid being vague and tell God your sins honestly and frankly so that he can heal you, Pope Francis said at Mass Wednesday.

According to Francis, to say: “We are all sinners,” is abstract. People should instead think and say: “I am a sinner,” concretely naming what they have said, thought, and done wrong.

Like children, “we too must be simple, real,” he said April 29. “Concreteness leads you to humility.”

“It is important that within us we give names to our sins,” he stated.

Offering Mass in the chapel of his Vatican residence, the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s first reading from 1 John, the reading for the memorial of St. Catherine of Siena, a doctor of the Church.

John writes: “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, ‘We have fellowship with him,’ while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth.”

The verse continues: “If we say, ‘We are without sin,’ we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.”

Pope Francis said the devil wants people to be lukewarm, to live in gray areas.

He advised people to speak with God with the forthrightness of children, who say what they think and feel without trying to hide the truth.

To illustrate this point, the pope shared about a letter he received yesterday from a boy living in northern Italy.

The boy wrote that he had watched Pope Francis’ televised Mass and “he had to ‘scold me’ about one thing,” the pope related.

The boy said that because of the coronavirus, Pope Francis should not include the sign of peace during Mass, because “with the pandemic we cannot touch each other.”

Children’s letters are beautiful for their directness, Francis commented, explaining that the boy could not see that the congregation at his morning Mass does not shake hands, but bows their heads to exchange the sign of peace.

“But he has the freedom to say things as they are,” he said.

“We too, with the Lord, must have the freedom to say things as they are,” he continued. “Lord, I am in sin: help me.”

He said God “forgives us when we are concrete. The spiritual life is so simple, so simple; but we make it complicated with these nuances, and in the end we never get there.”

“Let’s ask the Lord for the grace of simplicity and that he gives us this grace he gives to the simple, to children, to youths who say what they feel, who do not hide what they feel,” he concluded.

After Mass, the pope presided at adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Afterward, the congregation sang the Easter Marian antiphon “Regina caeli.”

At the start of Mass, Pope Francis noted the day’s feast of St. Catherine of Siena, who is the patroness of Italy and of Europe.

“Let us pray for Europe, for the unity of Europe, for the unity of the European Union, so that we can all go forward together as brothers,” he said.

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