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Dear Father Angelo,

Thank you for this Sacred Service of yours;  I sincerely need to understand how the atonement on earth for one’s own sins can be shortened especially when there is a sincere and painful repentance with relative Confession for the mistakes made in the past even without full attention or total awareness.

In essence, are there heartfelt practices of prayer (tears of repentance) or good works that shorten on earth the due atonement? And, can the continuous desire to leave this earthly life and see God be considered expiation or what? …

Thank you for your answer I am longing for. Jesus and Mary bless you profusely.

Adveniat Regnuum Tuum


The Priest’s answer

Dear Caterina,

1. just as all of Christ’s actions had an expiatory and meritorious character, so it also happens for us who are grafted into Christ with Baptism.

All actions performed by us in the grace of God, that is, in charity and in a righteous manner, are at the same time expiatory and meritorious.

2. The problem arises because our actions are not always perfect, even when performed in God’s grace.

There are many little failings that might interfere.

3. For this reason we feel the need to abandon ourselves to the divine mercy that purifies everything.

This abandonment must be real because only then it becomes effective.

4. Furthermore,there is the holy sacrifice of the Mass, which the Lord Himself has given us to atone for our sins.

During this celebration the Lord makes Himself present on the altar with His atoning sacrifice. He is all eager to give us His atoning merits.

Nothing is as valuable as a daily participation in the Holy Mass for our sanctification and purification.

5. Besides the sacrifice of the Mass, the Lord gave us the sacrament of penance, the confession, to ever atone for our sins more thoroughly.

It is the sacrament of Christian healing.

John Paul II in Reconciliation and penance says that the penances, imposed by the priest confessor, “remind us that even after absolution there remains in the Christian a dark area due to the wound of sin, to the imperfection of love in repentance, to the weakening of the spiritual faculties. It is an area in which there still operates an infectious source of sin which must always be fought with mortification and penance. This is the meaning of the humble but sincere act of satisfaction” (RP 31, III).

6. We also have indulgences, especially the plenary ones, which obtain their effect only if we absolutely separate ourselves from all sins, even venial ones.

7. Some prayers, such as the seven penitential psalms, also help to atone for our sins.

No special tears are required.

More than sensitive pain, which cannot be caused simply by our wilful intention, the spiritual pain is necessary, leading to detest the committed sins along with the intention of never committing them again.

Among the various prayers, it is also recommended to recite the Holy Rosary  with this precise intention: to atone for one’s own sins.

In fact, just as it can also be offered in suffrage for the deceased, so it can be in expiation for our sins.

8. Finally, almsgiving is beneficial. The Holy Scripture says that “Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins” (Sir 3:29).

9. I do not know if the continuous desire to leave this earth and see God can be an atonement for sins.

I rather know that the Church provides a prayer that the priest can recite before celebrating Mass: “May the almighty and merciful Lord grant us joy and peace, amendment of life, room for true repentance, the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit and perseverance in good works”.

10. The desire to see God can be among those good actions that are expiatory and meritorious at the same time.

But above all, the conformity of our life to the will of God is beneficial, especially when life recalls us to the painful mysteries of our existence.

 I bless you and reciprocate the highly appreciated good wishes.

Father Angelo