Real Conversion is Possible
by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
©Catholic Online 2004
The coming of the end of the year can effect personal reflection not only on the past twelve months but also on one's entire life.
Such self-examination may lead one to a fresh attempt for authentic holiness, convinced that this indeed is God's will.
Real conversion is possible even in areas the sinfulness of which is disputed. Take the issue of contraception. Although the Catholic Church is crystal clear on this subject, specific segments of our society are either ambiguous or outright supportive of this supposed "human right."
It is asserted repeatedly that a substantial majority of Catholic women of child-bearing age in the United States avail themselves of some form of artificial contraception. The same could be readily maintained for other, if not all, Western countries.
Birth control has become in many quarters the non-discussible issue. "Leave it alone" is the standard approach, even among certain Catholics.
Yet, the Church unhesitatingly teaches that every instance of the marital act must be open to the transmission of human life. This doctrine is unchangeable and binds all persons because it is derived from the Natural Law, whose tenets pertain to everyone regardless of creed, race, nationality or language.
Some Catholic dioceses have tried to instruct engaged couples about the meaning of the Church's teaching and their corresponding duty to obey God's Law in the context of their pre-marriage programs. But what about the forgotten men and women who, for example, used contraception three decades ago and never repented? They, too, are to be taught the truth.
Let us not forget to pray for those who are presently contracepting, those tempted to and those who have previously. I authored the following prayer with those persons in mind.
Prayer for the Conversion of Those Who Have Used Contraception
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family of Nazareth, assist those who are currently using contraception, those intending to, and those who have previously and have not repented. Help them to see that the conjugal embrace is sacred and meant for procreation and for deepening the communion between husband and wife. Enlighten them to know that contraception is a refusal to surrender to God's will for marriage and the family. Convince them to understand that contraception in our society ensures that abortion will remain, the virtue of chastity will be rejected, and the fidelity and self-giving necessary in marriage will be neglected. Inspire all to obey our Creator and to accept the authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church that every instance of the conjugal act is to be receptive to the possible transmission of human life. Direct those who have contracepted to seek pardon from the Lord so that hope and charity may reside in their souls. May they realize that forgiveness, manifested in the Sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion, is possible and that their genuine atonement for this sin is the desire of the Almighty Who loves us. O Holy Family of Nazareth, guide us always! Amen.
(Copies of this Prayer for personal use and for distribution are available from New Hope Publications, New Hope, KY 40052.)
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125
Contraception; Prayer; The Theological Virtue of Hope
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