INDULGENCE, A SPECIAL GRACE!
We, The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady of Guadalupe, want to share with you our great joy to you and those who are connected with us: family, benefactors, partners and friends of our apostolic works. The joy that gives us live daily in God's service has been extremely driven and motivated by the special gift his Holiness Pope Francisco has granted to us. The gift of the Plenary Indulgence, on the 50th anniversary of the Pontifical Approval of our congregation, which we celebrated the 29 of July, 2014. This indulgence is not exclusive grace for us, but extends to all who wish to benefit spiritually from it . That's why we ask you to communicate this invitation to your family and friends. Next we will explain the necessary steps to receive this grace.
WHAT IS AN INDULGENCE?
The word "indulgence" comes from the term "pardon" which means full or partial forgiveness of a debt or a deserved blame.
An indulgence is the forgiveness of the punishment due to sins already forgiven. It is provided by the Church, who has the power, given by Jesus, of "bind and loose" (Mt 16, 19).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: "An indulgence is the remission (forgiveness) before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven (regarding the fault), that a faithful and willing person receives under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church, whom as the minister of Redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints "(CATIC 1471).
In other words, every sin brings guilt and shame. Guilt is the offense against God; penalty is the punishment that the offense deserves. The fault is cleared of sins through confession. The penalty -called ‘temporal punishment’ - must be expiated in purgatory, or in this life with acts of love to God, good works done in a state of grace, or through indulgences.
To understand this better, let's use a simple example: sin is like a nail that penetrates the wood. Confession takes the nail out but leaves a hole in the wood. The indulgence is like wood putty that covers the hole and leaves the wood looking as new.
It is very important to remember that the grace to earn an indulgence, as every divine grace is possible because the mercy and love of God are infinite, despite we can not achive it by our own merits.
Indulgences are of great value in the spiritual life of Christians because:
• help the spiritual progress manifested in the works of daily life.
• seek repentance and conversion of the believer.
• promote Christians to grow in their life of faith and grace, thereby improving their relationship with God and with others.
• cultivate virtues that are indispensable for full communion with God, such as: the humility to recognize ourselfs as sinners, penance to avoid sin, hope that takes us to complete trust in God's goodness and forgiveness, and charity that leads to good works.
In short, this is the purpose that the Church intends to grant indulgences: to growth in the faith and to life in grace.
An nidulgence is not a convenient resource to get rid of the temporal punishment, it presupposes and requires a serious personal plan, aims to an inner change, and a decided fight against selfishness. Lacking of proper uprightness of heart and purpose of conversion, would prevent the believer to obtain indulgences, eventhough he/she will execute all external practices that are requested. The most important and essential requirement is an internal commitment.
Those who want be freed from the temporal punishment due to sins, should be aware that the indulgences, despite being free benefits are only given when they apply to themselves or the souls of the dead (no other living people on Earth), and upon fulfillment of the conditions required to gaining them. What really is expected of those who want to receive them is: "... to love God, detest sin, have confidence in the merits of Christ and believe firmly that the Communion of Saints is very useful" (Paul VI, ID 10).
The faithful who earn indulgences for the souls of the dead, perform the highest form of charity. (ID 8).
Indulgences are grouped into:
• Partial Indulgences: erase part of the penalty earned of sins committed and confessed.
• Plenary Indulgences: erase the total punishment due for sins which have already confessed, leaving the soul ready to immediately enter heaven.
Then, upon receiving a Plenary Indulgence, leaves the person as a recently baptized and, if he/she dies in this state of grace, the soul is ready to immediately enter heaven without a stop in Purgatory.
The Apostolic Penitentiary tells us in "The Gift of Indulgence" document, that in order to achieve or gain the indulgence is necessary that the faithful to be in the state of grace (meaning sinless) and in a interior arrangement of complete detachment from sin. It also calls us to meet the following three conditions:
1. Sacramental Confession: Take a deep confession. It can be done the same day you want to gain the indulgence or having recently. A single sacramental confession can gain several plenary indulgences.
2. Eucharistic Communion: You must perform it the same day the indulgence is gained.
3. Prayer for the intentions of the Pope: Pray the folowing prayers the same day the indulgence is gained: a Creed, an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory for the intentions of the Pope.
And according to the occasion for grace of the Plenary Indulgence is offered, you are encouraged to perform other works of piety, mercy and penance.
In our case, the Holy Father, through the Apostolic Penitentiary, has given us this grace, this gift of the Plenary Indulgence, which can be gain this year (if we meet the general provisions above) by visiting on a pilgrimage form anyone of the chosen three Shrines due their relevant meaning for the congregation.
1. Chapel "Maria Amada Museum" as the place where our Institute had its origin in 1926. Address: Calle Juan Alvarez1039, between Enrique Diaz de Leon and Juan N. Cumplido, Col. Jesus Chapel Guadalajara, Jal.
2. Chapel of the Mother House, first own place of the Congregation wich was established for the community to live in after a long touring stage, and dweling of our Mother Foundress, the Servant of God Maria Amada, for the last 25 years of her life. Address at: Av Ceylon 279 corner Encarnacion Ortiz. Col. Large Cosmopolita, Delegacion Azcapotzalco, DF. Regional Home Chapel Maria Amada in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, where the mission started and expanded in the state of Chiapas. Instituto Fray Víctor María Flores. Address: 1ª. Poniente Norte 1010, between 9th y 10th Norte streets.
It is recommended to those who visit one of these chapels in order to gain this Indulgence to participate there in the Eucharist, but if this is not possible at least dedicate a period of time for prayer and reflection. And finally, as already said, it must be finished with the a Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory prayers for the intentions of the Pope. You can participate elsewhere in the Eucharist, provided it take place the same day.
Together we give thank the Heart of Jesus for this special grace which today is granted to us for this year and may we seize the opportunity to make present His Reign of Love in our lives and through us spread It to more and more hearts.
Cf. Apostolic Constitution Indulgentiarum DOCTRINE 8, 10., Catechism of the Catholic Church 1471, 1479, www.laverdadcatolica.org/F51.htm, www.rosario.org.mx, www.vatican.va.