Friday, February 15, 2008

Plenary Indulgences and You

The church, at her most basic, is all about the salvation of souls. We are saved by Christ's grace, through faith and works which should be done in charity and are inspired by the Holy Ghost.

To that end, we have been given indulgences. What are indulgences you say? My NO catholic friends most likely have not heard of them. The word indulgence has the latin root
indulgentia, to be kind or gentle. An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, the guilt of which has been forgiven.

Which means you had to have gone to confession and confessed that sin to a priest.
Another foreign concept to be sure to my NO friends.

And there are two distinct kinds of indulgences, partial and plenary.

A partial indulgence is only a partial forgiveness of punishment. It can be 2 weeks less time in Purgatory, a month, a year, or whatever particular amount of time is associated with that indulgence. Some claim the church has done away with specific times, but then again, most NO catholics don't even know they exist. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me on this topic can shed some light.

But as for plenary indulgences, they offer the complete removal of punishment due to sin.

But there are terms and conditions.

1) Receive communion (ideally on the same day the indulgenced act is done)
2) Go to confession (within a week before or after the indugenced act)
3) That one pray for the Pope's intentions (usually by saying an Our Father and a Hail Mary)
4) That one be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin.

Now to the main point of my blog this second Friday of Lent: You can obtain a plenary indulgence every Friday in Lent by saying the following prayer before a Crucifix after receiving Holy Communion. The other usual requirements for a plenary indulgence also apply.

Prayer before a Crucifix
(Latin and English versions)

En ego, o bone et dulcíssime Iesu, ante conspéctum tuum génibus me provólvo,
ac máximo ánimi adóre te oro atque obtéstor, ut meum in cor vívidos fídei, spei, et caritátis sensus, atque veram peccatórum meórum pæniténtiam, eáque emendándi firmíssimam voluntátem velis imprímere; dum magno ánimi afféctu et dolóre
tua quinque vúlnera mecum ipse consídero ac mente contémplor, illud præ óculis habens, quod iam in ore ponébat tuo David prophéta de te, o bone Iesu: Fodóderunt manus meas et pedes meos: dinumeravérunt ómnia ossa mea.

Behold, O kind and most sweet Jesus, I cast myself upon my knees in Thy sight,
and with the most fervent desire of my soul I pray and beseech Thee
that Thou wouldst impress upon my heart lively sentiments of Faith, Hope, and Charity, with true repentance for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment,
whilst with deep affection and grief of soul I ponder within myself and mentally contemplate Thy five most precious Wounds; having before my eyes the words which David in prophecy spoke concerning Thyself, O good Jesus: “They have pierced my hands and feet; they have numbered all my bones.”

So my point? During Lent, follow the rules I outlined above, and partake of the forgiveness of Christ.

One day, you'll be glad you did.

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