By Fr Tim Finigan
I have been away from the Church for a while but the recent bad publicity has made me feel that I should be pulling my weight. What should I do to come back to the practice of the faith?
The Holy Spirit uses many different circumstances to draw people back: you are certainly not alone in being prompted by the stories of scandal to come back to the Church. Thanks be to God the process is a simple one although it does require moral courage.
I would suggest obtaining a copy of the Simple Prayer Book published by the CTS. As well as a good collection of vocal prayers which you can use, this book also contains an examination of conscience and prayers for Confession.
If possible, come and spend some time in the church when it is open for Confession. Give heartfelt thanks to God for his inspiration in drawing back to Him and providing the opportunity to return to His grace. For your Confession, recall any serious sins that you have committed along with the principal faults that you are conscious of on a daily basis. Tell the priest roughly how long you have been away from Confession and Mass and confess your sins briefly and straightforwardly, making a sincere act of contrition with the resolution to change your life to live in accord with God’s commandments.
Having done so, prepare well for your Holy Communion at Mass: again you can use the prayers that are in the Simple Prayer Book to help. Resolve to set some time aside each day in the morning and evening to pray. It would be excellent to say the rosary each day which would take about a quarter of an hour, as well as some vocal prayers of your choice.
To begin with, you are likely to experience a great joy and consolation but be aware that this feeling will probably wear off in time. That does not mean that your newly found devotion is lacking; rather it is a common experience which represents a call to fidelity through the ups and downs of life.
What’s your view? And do you have a dilemma of your own? Write to us at the address on this page or e-mail editorial@ catholicherald.co.uk