In the Gospel at Mass today Our Lord tells us that it is not the food which we eat that makes us unclean, rather what proceeds out of our hearts. As a result of our fallen human nature, each of us is in continual need of having our hearts purified. At the close of each day we should examine our conscience and ask forgiveness for the sins of the day. If we don’t think we’ve sinned, we are too superficial for Proverbs 24:16 reminds us that even “the just man falls seven times per day.”
Often we hear it said that we should make it a regular practice to go to confession. But the next question is: how often? The quick answer is usually “once a year or as often as is necessary.” Typically this means as soon as a person falls into a grave sin or sins in such a way that it stings his conscience. If we really think about it, this is a defensive approach to the Sacrament and a defensive posture to assume in our struggle against sin. An offensive posture would to be to go to confession before it is a necessity, frequently. I’d define frequently as being at least monthly, if not more often. Even in our fight against sin and Satan, the best defense is a strong offense.
While we do see Our Lord heal the external disfigurements of numerous people, it is clear from today’s Gospel as well as others that he is really concerned with the internal state of our hearts. Christ’s teaching illumines our minds so that we can recognize and choose the good while at the same time recognizing and rejecting what is evil. May each of us guard our hearts as a privileged dwelling place for the Holy Spirit!
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!