Christ Crowned with Thorns - c. 1633-1639 Stom, Matthias

Treading the Wine-press

By a contrite confession of our sins followed by the absolution of the priest, we cause the Blood of Jesus to flow from His Sacred Heart into our own soul for our purification and sanctification. In sacramental absolution that yearning of the Royal Penitent for the cleansing effect of the Precious Blood is fulfilled: Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. When the priest raises his hand to absolve the penitent sinner, he sprinkles him, so to speak, with the Blood of Christ. Making peace through the blood of His Cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven The Precious Blood of Jesus which is poured out over the sinner in confession imparts to the humble and contrite soul an indescribable beauty, and fills it with such courage and strength as to enable it to resist temptations and preserve its nobility and royal beauty.

Sacrament of Penance II - Nicolas Poussin

What is the beauty of the human soul?

Behold a dead body, how hideous, how gruesome it is! It does not see, it does not hear, it does not feel, it moves neither hand nor foot; the forehead is cold as marble, the mouth overflows with nauseating matter, the lips are black and the whole body emits such pestilential odors as to fill those who approach it with loathing and drive them away in horror. What makes the dead body so hideous? The soul has fled. This is a picture of the soul in mortal sin when the Holy Ghost withdraws from it. Now, if the body owes its charm and beauty to its vivifying principle, to the soul in its natural state, what splendor and glory must this same soul possess in its supernatural state of sanctifying grace? The sun is so beautiful, so brilliant, that its departing rays, shining upon the broken windows of an old dilapidated house in the distance, converts even that shack into a palace of shimmering gold. But St. Bonaventure assures us, that if God should destine the soul in habitual grace, instead of the sun, to illuminate the world, it would diffuse more light and splendor than the sun. The reason for all this is, because the soul in the state of grace is the temple of the Holy Ghost; God dwells in it and communicates to it as much of His own glory as the creature can bear, and thus, in a measure, as St. Thomas teaches, deifies it. Now, sanctifying grace, the highest gift of the soul, is the fruit of the Precious Blood and a reflection of its beauty. Sacramental confession and absolution may also be called the formal and expressed renewal of the holy covenant made between God and the penitent soul and signed by the Blood of Christ, as foreshadowed in the testament between God and the people of Israel. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. All satisfaction intended as an expiation for sin and as a reparation to the outraged justice and majesty of God, has its satisfactory value from the Blood of the Atonement. This divine Blood liberates us from the slavery of our bad habits, ransoms us from the thraldom of Satan, and makes us children of God and heirs of heaven.  God the Father hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins.  Making peace through the blood of his cross. In this holy Sacrament of Penance, says St. Bonaventure, that feeling of sadness and depression caused by sin is driven out of the soul by the Blood of the Redeemer, which is a purveyor of heavenly peace and happiness.

Sanguis Christi sanat poenam tristitiae corda fidelium consolando.




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