A good idea I learned from Steve Kellmeyer

I have been a little critical of Steve Kellmeyer in the past. But there was one thing I learned from something he said in one of his RCIA podcasts that I have taken to heart, for it is great advice.

His advice was this: “Every time you come out from Confession, make use of the opportunity that your state of grace gives you by seeking to gain an indulgence, either for yourself or from the faithful departed.” They may not have been his exact words, but it is the gist of what he said.

And I have tried to make this my own rule now too. An easy one is a partial indulgence that is granted for praying the “Anima Christi” after receiving communion. Plenary indulgences, by their very nature, take more effort, but one that is fairly straightforward (and for which the opportunity is now past for 2010) is this one: “on any of the Fridays of Lent”, a plenary indulgence is available to those who, fulfilling the necessary conditions of sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father, also “devoutly recite after Communion the prayer En ego, O bone et dulcissime Iesu before a crucifix.” For more information on this, and for the prayers, see here.

But now here are two that you should be getting yourself ready for right now: a plenary indulgence is available for those who take part in the Eucharist Procession on Maundy Thursday (details see here) and also for those who renew their baptismal vows at the Easter Vigil (details see here).

As I understand it, if you go to confession this week, you can obtain these plenary indulgences. I need a clarification on this from a reader, if you can. As I read it in the Manual, under the Norms N20, “a single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences…” and “the three conditions [including sacramental confession] may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work…”. I thought I had read somewhere that sacramental confession in connection with a plenary indulgence can be undertaken “15 days before or after” the prescribed work, but I can’t find where I read that now. That seems more than “a few days”. In any case, make your “Easter Confession” now, and make use of the opportunity on Holy Thursday and at the Easter Vigil for the Plenary Indulgences. One for you on Maundy Thursday and one for the Faithful Departed at the Easter Vigil!

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “A good idea I learned from Steve Kellmeyer

  1. Tony

    Blimey David, it’s like you’re speaking another language. I haven’t heard talk like that since I was a lad.

    The whole notion of indulgences is about as foreign to me as Ad orientem.

    • I AM a convert, Tony!

      But seriously, it is worth getting a hold of the Manual of Indulgences and reading it through.

      The language may seem quaint and old fashioned, but in the end what we are talking about is God’s grace, and our response to it. It is pretty fundamental stuff.

      Martin Luther once commented in support of private confession that if there was only one place on earth where he could receive God’s absolution and it was a hundred miles away, he would run all the way to get there.

      I would say the same thing in this regard (because my perspective on Indulgences is somewhat different to Br Martin’s!): would you not run one hundred miles to obtain a full remission before God of all the temporal punishment for your sins?

      Absolution remits in full the eternal punishment for our sin. But even as my old Lutheran prayers used to say, our sins deserve punishment both “in time and in eternity”. If you take your sins seriously, you realise that there are temporal consequences. But who would deny that the same God who remits eternal punishment cannot or does not also remit temporal punishment?

      And if you value the power of God’s absolution to remit eternal punishment enough to front up to the confessional at least once a year, why do you not value the power of God’s indulgence which removes temporal punishment also?

      Go and think about it, Tony. Two great opportunities are coming up in the next few days for a full plenary indulgence. As I said: one for you, and one for a needy departed soul. At least consider the latter: it is an act of mercy to obtain an indulgence for the departed.

  2. Tony

    David,

    I’m not trying to make some profound point here, but it would be a little like me trying to convince you to get along to a footy game.

    We’re just on different pages.

    • Um… No, you are mixing your metaphors. Footy is a different religion. A better analogy would be like suggesting it might be a good idea to make a contribution to the footy club you barrack for. You know, like an old “quaint” idea that still has some merit?

      • Tony

        Fair go David, you may be master of this domain but you can’t take a guy’s metaphor!

        It was more the ‘go and think about it, Tony’ that I was responding to, not the comparison of ‘religions’.

        I could wax ernestly about the value and enjoyment of footy to you until the cows come home (or, in this case, the crows) and end with ‘go and think about it, David’ and I suspect it would have the same effect.

        Your metaphor, on the other hand, is quite unsuitable. Memberships are still regarded as necessary for the committed follower. It’s not something that’s changed, in fact, these days there are more paying members than ever.

        It’s as if you’re suggesting that you’re not a real member unless you pay by hand-written cheque. But that would be appropriating your metaphor, I suppose.

        Did I mention I wasn’t trying to make a really profound point?

        • “Your metaphor, on the other hand, is quite unsuitable. Memberships are still regarded as necessary for the committed follower. It’s not something that’s changed, in fact, these days there are more paying members than ever.”

          Mmm. The “committed follower”…

          Yeah, nothing profound intended, Tony! 🙂

          • Tony

            Now, now David.

            I think it’s perfectly OK to pay your dues with a hand written cheque, I just prefer EFTPOS.

            (Most people I know don’t even have cheque-books any more.)

  3. Louise

    Good advice, David!