By far, the most indispensable tool has been the Magic Eraser. This product removes black marks from walls, paint from wood, scuff marks from floors, crayon, fingerprints and pretty much anything you can think of. Whatever you do, don't buy the two pack. You need the four pack and it is worth the money.
While I was erasing the walls of this five bedroom Victorian (and wondering if any of the children EVER washed their hands before they touched the walls) I started to think about how nice it would be if we had a magic eraser for our souls.
And then I realized that of course we do, the Sacrament of Confession. St. Augustine ssaid that the Confession of bad deeds is the first step to performing good deeds.
I was resolved to go to Confession today and begin the start of Lent in the right frame of mind. At 3:30pm, I was at St. Leo's Catholic Church with three of my children, ready to confess my sins. When we arrived we were heartened to see so many waiting for Confession. But we grew concerned that there was only 1 priest hearing Confession and Confession only lasted for one half hour. I think you know what happened. We were not able to go to Confession. At 3:56pm Fr. had to "get Mass going".
Now we can contrast the modern Confession schedule with the schedule kept by St. John Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars. St. John Vianney spent 16-18 hours a day in the Confessional and the result was 300-400 pilgrims a day would come to see him and confess their sins.
We're losing the Sacraments- bit by bit. Priestless "parishes" are run by pastoral administrators (lay people). Baptisms are delayed. Confession is pushed back to a few years after First Holy Communion. Matrimony, Religious vocations- well you know. How many times have we heard stories about the difficulty of finding a priest to administer Extreme Unction?
The Sacramentals have been pretty muched phased out, except among the Traditional Resistance. Rosary- repetitious prayer for simpletons, Holy Water- replaced by sand during Lent, Blessed salt- never heard tell of anyone using it, Medals- called trinkets by the Director of Religious Ed, Religious images of the saints- an example of extremism.
It reminds me very much of this quote by St. Joan of Arc:
“You spoil the sacraments of the Church, you tear up the articles of the Faith, you destroy the churches, you break and burn the statues which were set up as memorials, you massacre Christians because they preserve the true Faith. What is this fury? Or what rage or madness consumes you? This faith, which God Almighty, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have revealed, established, elevated to power, and glorified a thousand ways through miracles - you persecute this Faith, you wish to overthrow and destroy it. You are blind, but not because you lack eyes or understanding. Do you believe that you will remain unpunished for it? Or are you unaware that God opposes your unlawful efforts and will not permit you to remain in darkness and error? So that the more you indulge yourselves in crime and sacrilege, the more He will prepare great punishments and anguish for you."