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The difference between correct and wrongful use of the confession
87,1. Behold, the Prior goes to fetch those whom we have formerly left beyond the flaming gulf. You are wondering if there are any bridges across this gap that these sleeping souls can come over to us? I say to you, in this respect nothing has happened so far since our souls have begun to feel sorry for themselves, but this is a very bad situation for man in relation to the spiritual life.
87,2. In self-pity, man justifies himself, pushes all blame elsewhere, and thus presents himself as a guiltless man, and at the same time worthy of all mercy. Since this is precisely the case with our souls' hardships, as already remarked, there is no bridge over which they could reach us. But this also serves as a strong test for our prior, and it will be shown what effect the miserable condition of this soul-sleeping brotherhood will have on him.
87,3. You would want to be witnesses of his action, but I say to you, this is by no means necessary, for we shall see him again soon enough, for he shall return without having achieved a thing.
87,4. However, we would rather turn to another monastic brother and see what effect our treatment of the prior has had on him. We need not say: Come here and reveal yourself! For the shoe pinches, anyway; and so, as you see, he comes to us with purpose, and presently asks the following question to me, saying (the monk): Good friend and brother! I have listened to your teachings on the confession from the beginning to the end, with the greatest attention and inner appreciation, and from this, it is understood that this chief function in the Catholic Church is mostly because of the most wrongful use of the divine word. One cannot object to your pronounced pure truth. But, notwithstanding the fact that we recognize this, this function still exists in the very Church, as it has existed for centuries and will continue to exist.
87,5. But if this function is, for both the confessor and the confession father, of such a decidedly great disadvantage regarding the eternal life of the spirit, then with the best conscience of the world can the weighty question be asked why the most right, most loving, most wise, omnipotent Lord and God of heaven and earth tolerate such abomination in His way of life?
87,6. For I also must frankly confess to you that even by this confession, many people on the earth apparently became great favorites of the Lord, and He also oftentimes revealed that to them. And as much as I can recall, the Lord has not uttered his disapproval to any of His followers
87,7. On the contrary, I know of several instances where, in this way, the Lord has made known to the other man through His darlings, that they should work for their sins, repentantly confess, for the forgiveness of their sins. And I also know of several instances where men who have fully followed this advice have been fully reborn in spirit and in truth after such a confessional function, which has been carried out in full seriousness, and have remained from that moment the true, respectable friends of the Lord.
87,8. But if the situation with this function is like that as you have all taught us before, I must frankly confess that the guidance of humanity on the earth is an indissoluble mystery to me on the part of the Lord. As far as I can recollect, confession is in any case so designed that the sinner, by this penitential function, can only surrender the forgiveness of his sins, if he declares to the priest his most serious intention that he would never again commit these sins which he honestly regrets.
87,9. If on the part of the confessor, this condition is not fulfilled, as is often the case, the pulpits will be informed as often as possible, and especially before the general confessional times, that no one can, as we have said, receive the forgiveness of his sins without fully fulfilling these conditions.
87,10. Thus, both the pulpits and the confessionals most carefully preach and teach that no one can be remitted of sins by the Lord unless the confessor has first wholeheartedly sorted himself out with all his debtors. If perhaps someone would misuse this function, although the generalecclesiastical rule is that this function is supposed to be handled in such a pure sense, then the whole church could be accused of such misuse.
87,11. See, I do not want to touch on whether the Church has correctly or incorrectly understood the command of the known texts; but it is certain that the Lord does not regard it so unfairly, at least not on the earth, because He has made this function sprout and secondly, is He still tolerating this tree in His vineyard while this tree is, as is known, still yielding a plentiful crop.
87,12. For this is certain: if a man is ill, then he shall go to a physician, to diagnose the illness for effective treatment and offer the sufferer an effective remedy. If this cannot be called unfair on physical level, while one also can say that the Almighty Lord alone can heal all diseases, which He also certainly does according to His order, if the suffering would use the means given by the physician and blessed by the Lord, in the living trust in the Lord.
87,13. If, as I have said, this is true of the body, I really do not see why it should not be equally applicable to the sick soul of man. If the real physicians for the body are not redundant in sight of the divine love and omnipotence, for what reason would spiritual physicians at the side of divine love and mercy be redundant? Moreover, humans are charged to love each other.
87,14. If it can never be regarded as a failure to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, drink the thirsty, comfort the afflicted, redeem the prisoners, and the Lord Himself, in the example of who is the true neighbor, has sent help to the slain by the merciful Samaritan, -how, then, are the spiritual works of the Lord's mercy and love on the part of His spiritual doctors, as they exist, be an abomination to the Lord? If they are not as they should be, acting completely according to the purest realm of truth, we as a later generation cannot, however, fail to follow this main rule of the Church, since it serves unto the forgiveness of sins and betterment of the people.
87,15. I believe, however, that the Lord would have already long ago made an end to a sure abomination; but since it certainly does not exist in any bad sense, I would like, as I have said at the beginning, want to receive a somewhat brighter light in this regard from you.
87,16. Now I say: My friend and brother, your question is more important and weighty than you realize yourself, and to enlighten it properly, more light is needed than you can bear at present. For the time being, I will tell you only so much that the guidance of the souls on the part of the Lord is much more wonderful and extraordinary than you will ever be able to conceive of the smallest part of it
87,17. See, in view of the Lord, there is no wrong way; each one is well-known to the Lord, and each one proceeds from Him as a life-band. But you will also know the difference between a straight and a crooked path?
87,18. It is beyond doubt that the Lord can make his way through the crooked road; but a man does not reach his goal as soon as on a straight path, even though the goal is the same as that of the straight way. If a road has many detours which diverge from the goal, and one can often go around the earth several times before reaching his goal - this will not be so difficult to comprehend - it should be clear that the Lord cannot be indifferent about whether a man comes to Him via the detours or along the shortest way.
87,19. Though you say in your heart: All this is true; but nevertheless, you do not see how the confession fits into this example, for you also regard it as a very short path. I tell you, it is not to be denied, however, that this function was often a short way for some people; but how? Because the Lord met such a man who took it seriously with the improvement of his life and then guided him to the straight and shortest way. But this is not yet a reason to speak of this function with an approving word. There are also thousands and thousands of the Gentiles, whom the Lord also meets and leads them in His own way onto the straight path. Such is solely the mercy of the Lord. But should one speak well of paganism because the Lord has mercy on such Gentiles?
87,20. During my instruction, I have shown how confession should be in order to be approved by the Lord. I have quoted the parable of the unrighteous steward where the Master has shown the only correct way by which the Catholic confession can be justified. Would the confession father do as the unrighteous steward and would he fulfill his function in this only true and completely righteousmanner, then the confession would be according to the gospel and also a branch of the true tree of life. If it is only used in priestly self-interest, then it is a branch cut off from the tree of life and would bear no fruit.
87,21. That the Catholic community, under the direction of the Roman bishop, has borne many fruits pleasing to the Lord, and that this function is often a good humbling factor for men, we know even better than you; if it were not so, then you can be assured that the Lord always knows how to steer a pure evil back into good ways, as He did in the days of the various ecclesiastical reformations, because this function has reached a high degree of degeneration. But all this was no perfect endorsement in the realm of pure truth.
87,22. When the confessor says, he cannot forgive sins, but the Lord alone, and only considers himself to be a loving instrument, to help show those caught in spiritual need by means of confession, as well as in the pulpit, the pure way to the Lord, he is a good confession father; that is, he then is a loving, truthful friend of man, bearing the spiritual well-being of his brethren on his heart. But when he says, "I have the power to forgive your sins or not and it is up to me whether you go to hell or heaven, he then presumes divine power."
87,23. He thus makes God vestigial to his brother, breaks the bond between God and man and makes man either a despairing despiser of the Divine or an obdurate villain, who in the end is no longer afraid of all sorts of abominations, committing all kinds of atrocities without the slightest charge of conscience. He can also make a man either a sneak or a conscientious observer, who, after confession, dulls his conscience and became none the better for it. He believes that he had emptied his old bag of sin in confession; he finally convinces himself that he had to sin somewhat for the upcoming confession, as to have something to confess, and the priest, as usual, has something to remit.
87,24. If things are as such with this function, tell me, is it approvable! You deny that in your heart; so, I also tell you that your first question is to be regarded as futile for this present point of view; and secondly, it is answered by it. What is to follow, however, will bring a more powerful light to you in this respect.
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