How To Make a Good Confession, by Fr. John Kane, Here is the help you need to open your soul to the vast reservoir of mercy found in Confession. This down-to-earth, practical guide shows how to transform your confessions into profound experiences. 'Don't go to Confession without it!' says author Patrick Madrid. Every Catholic needs to pay more attention to this endangered sacrament. click here 



Few realize that in the sixteenth century -- during the 1500s -- there were Indians in America carrying their own bibles and Catholic prayer books.

That's at a time when in Europe, students of the Catholic faith still had to learn it by rote (they had no books over there).

The Indians were the Timucuans of northeastern Florida, and they had been evangelized by Spanish missionaries after the landings of explorers such as Ponce de Leon and Pedro MenÚndez de AvilÚs.

The Timucuans -- who were largely peaceable -- took quickly to Catholicism and co-authored instructional books with the missionaries, leaving behind at least a thousand pages in various archives.

This we learned the other night, attending a regular meeting of the Council on Culture in the diocese of St. Augustine, Florida (which celebrates its 450th birthday later this year).

It was a presentation by a "distinguished professor" of religion, Dr. Timothy Johnson, of Flagler College, that captivated our notice and gets to the essence not so much of a historical lesson but a spiritual one.

For we learned the Timucuan legend of the "disappearing woman" -- a maiden who regularly crossed a bridge in what was still wilderness.

Seems Satan used to wait in lurk for her by that crossing. He planned to drown her by shoving her into the water, affording him the opportunity to take her soul with him (she was not known as one for Confession).

As it turned out -- according to this Indian lore -- the maiden safely navigated the bridge because when she came by -- at a particularly crucial moment -- Satan could not see her. She slipped right past him.

Unbeknownst to the devil, the Timucuan maiden had gone to the Sacrament of Reconciliation just before, and had given a full, heartfelt Confession.

This Confession by her, goes the account (in the old record, and in the old way of talking), "stole the devil's knowledge": He was no longer able to see her.

She walked right past.

She, on the other hand, saw her path clearly.

Think of this prospect: that when we confess our sins, we blind the devil -- whereas, before Confession, we are blinded by sin.

How does the devil see you? What does he see? Does he attach to you through darkness?

Sin is a darkness around us and if there is no sin, the devil -- who can easily see darkness -- can't so readily find or identify us. We have fewer markers.

Meanwhile, as the missionaries (operating in the aftermath of the Council of Trent, which codified a lot of sacramental lessons, including how to practice Confession) taught: the more we go to Confession, the more our souls are "illuminated." We see more while the devil sees less.

Our "blinders" are lifted. We see danger. We see imperfection. Mysteries are solved.

Like the great saints (and certain mystics), the Lord can make us invisible to our enemies (physical and non-physical): a trait that comes in handy in this journey called life, as we cross its many bridges.

[resources: How To Make a Good Confession, What You Take To Heaven and The Bridge To Heaven]

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