The next section of the Rule of 1818 moves to the logical conclusion of preaching: helping the listener to come to a personal encounter with God as Savior. Preaching should make people aware of their need for conversion, best expressed in the sacrament of reconciliation:

Concerning confessions he will keep in mind what St. Ignatius, St. Philip Neri, and many others perceived, namely, that the work begun in the pulpit has to be completed in the tribunal of penance. If grace has touched a soul by the strength of the Word of God, ordinarily it is in the tribunal of penance that grace molds and justifies it. Preaching, indeed, has no other end than to lead sinners to the pool of salvation.

When God’s grace touches a person with the desire for conversion, the Missionaries need to be available to celebrate the sacrament with them.

We will, therefore, never refuse the request of those who seek to go to confession, whether during the time of missions, or outside of it. 
Where we have our residences, three days a week will be especially dedicated to the hearing of confessions.

1818 Rule Part 1, Chapter 3, §2 Regarding Confession


“To pass from estrangement from God to be a child of God is the basic fact of conversion. That altered relationship with God gives you an altered relationship with yourself, with others, with nature, with the universe.”  E. Stanley Jones

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2 Responses to FROM WORD TO ACTION

  1. John Mouck says:

    As I read this, certain words/phrases align themselves in my head in a specific order –
    “grace”, “desire for conversion”, “strength”, “confession”, “never refuse those who seek”, “salvation”.
    These six simple quotes remind me of, and summarize two amazing books – the “big book” (I am not talking the Bible here) and Richard Rohr’s Breathing Under Water.
    Admitted we were powerless, came to believe that a Greater Power could restore us, made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to Him sounds like grace and desire for conversion to me.
    Step 4: made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves and
    Step 5: admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrong and
    Step 6: were entirely ready to have Him remove our defects of character and
    Step 7: humbly asked Him to remove these shortcomings.
    This all sounds like strength, confession, the grace of reconciliation to me.
    Steps 8 through 12: make amends, pray, meditate, carry out His will, spiritual awakening, take the message to others – this sounds like exactly what Eugene wanted and our path to salvation.
    In fact in his book, Breathing Under Water, Rohr equates recovery with salvation. He says AAers have met in the basements of churches for years while the “normal” people gathered upstairs searching for the path. They would do well to come downstairs and learn what we already know – the steps to recovery and the steps to salvation are the same journey.

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Like John I too thought of the AA Steps, particularly Step 5 “admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrong”. When I sobered up and was ready to take Step 5. I went to talk with a Franciscan Brother, who said he would take the step with me, but with great sadness he said that he was not a priest and so could not give me absolution. Even at that point I knew from somewhere deep inside of me that God would forgive me and that this was just a part of that process. So I continued – I needed to speak and get it outside of myself. The Brother, a gentle beautiful man, took my story so that I was able to begin to let go of it.

    I have not, and most likely never will have the joy of being able to serve and love by giving the sacrament of reconciliation. But to be on the receiving end of that is perhaps one of the greatest gifts that God gives us. Forgiveness is such a huge part of healing, of our conversion, our transformation. With the sacrament of Penance / Reconcilliation, God again takes human form, touching, healing and forgiving.

    Not sure – that may be old theology – but it’s how I see it. Am sure the “priests” all know it, but sometimes it brings it a bit closer to home to hear it and see how we are all so interwoven.

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