“In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.”

This morning’s response (above) to the Psalm speaks of the necessary disposition in order for us to hear God’s voice in answer to our prayer.

The key here in this response is the disposition of the one who seeks to hear God’s voice. “In my Distress” is the disposition of a person who has removed themselves from any self-righteous PRIDE and approaches the Lord in Distress… Brokenness, sinfulness, weariness, anxiety, and fear. It is in this distress that a person humbles themselves and their voice is truly raised up to God and not the sound that is pleasing to their ears in self-fulfillment.

What does this look like? Remember the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax collector? (Luke 18:10-14)

“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.

The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Pharisee approaches God by first taking up the position of honor… in the temple. Before the feet of the Lord, he prays only to hear the sound of his own voice. He prays with great pride and condemnation of others. In essence, he prays not to hear the voice of God… For he prays not asking for anything but to pat “himself” on the back. This kind of pray needs no response to God.

But the Tax collector takes up the place of humility outside the temple. His position is one that recognizes a separation for God by choice (sin) brokenness and humility. When he prays, he admits that he is not a god but a sinner that he begs for the presence of God to come into his life….

Who was justified? The one who prays in distress. For in our distress we desire to hear God’s voice, not our own complaints or self-pity. We hear God’s voice for we desire to be restored into his presence!!

“In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.”

This is the disposition, humility, and prayer of one who seeks God’s presence in the Sacrament of Reconciliation!! We speak humbly our prayer of sinfulness and we hear his voice in the words of absolution from the priest!!

That is why the sacrament is so very important in our faith journey. Please find also in the Pastor’s Notes this coming week Step 5. The fifth step is reached when one humbly discloses to his (priest) all the evil thoughts in his heart, as well as those faults and evil acts he has actually committed. This means we should regularly confess our sins to a priest through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Please read the Pastor’s Notes and use this as a guide for making a good confession. At this time, when we are no longer able to gather for confessions (only by appointment in extreme need).

Our Holy Father Francis recommends that we speak our sins in the format of the Sacrament, impose our own penance and make an act of contrition. He assures us that our sins are forgiven and we can when the pandemic is over, go to the sacrament at that time to receive the sacramental grace!!!!