During this Year of the Eucharist, the Apostolic Penitentiary published a degree marking certain indulgences for the special period of time.
“A Plenary Indulgence is granted…”
- “each and everytime they [the faithful] participate attentively and piously in a sacred function or a devotional exercise undertaken in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed and conserved in the tabernacle.” In other words, anytime you actively pray some sort of devotion (rosary, stations of the cross, etc) before the Blessed Sacrament.
- Evening and Night Prayer
- “to the clergy, to members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and to other faithful who are by law obliged to recite the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as to those who customarily recite the Divine Office out of pure devotion, each and every time they recite – at the end of the day, in company or in private – Vespers and Night Prayers before the Lord present in the tabernacle.” Praying the Evening or Night Hours before the Blessed Sacrament
- To those who are unable…
- “The faithful who, through illness or other just cause, are unable to visit the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist in a church or oratory,… in their own homes, or wherever they may be because of their ailment, if, … with the intention of observing the three usual conditions as soon as possible, they make the visit spiritually and with the heart’s desire, … and recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to Jesus in the Sacrament.” Those who are too sick to visit the Sacrament may still participate in the graces otherwise mentioned in the decree
- Those who are really ill…
- “If they are unable to do even this, they will receive a Plenary Indulgence if they unite themselves with interior desire to those who practice the normal conditions laid down for Indulgences, and offer the merciful God the illnesses and discomforts of their lives”
For us in Austin, we are blessed to have a number of
To note, the “three usual conditions” required for a plenary indulgence is after the indulgenced act to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the reception of Holy Communion and prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father.
I would like to celebrate the Year of the Eucharist in some way at the University Catholic Center; we’ll have to see what we will be able to execute.
Continued under the “Extended Entry” of this post is an ZENIT article from January 17th regarding “Why Indulgences”. It’s a good yet concise look at some of the theology regarding indulgences.
On the Why of Indulgences
A Theologian-Archbishop Focuses on God’s Mercy
ROME, JAN. 17, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Instead of a “mercenary” attitude toward the indulgences offered during the Year of the Eucharist, this period must be lived with an attitude of openness to God’s mercy, says a theologian.
Archbishop Bruno Forte, a member of the International Theological Commission, explained the meaning of indulgences in the Church, and the reason why John Paul II decided that during the Year of the Eucharist a plenary indulgence may be obtained by participating in acts of worship and veneration of the Blessed Sacrament.
An indulgence — a partial or complete remission of divine temporal punishment that may otherwise still be due for sin committed but forgiven — may also be obtained by praying vespers and compline of the Divine Office before the tabernacle.
To understand the meaning of indulgences, the archbishop of Chieti-Vasto told Vatican Radio, one must first understand that “the fault, the sin,” is “the conscious and free act with which one disobeys the will of God,” while the punishment “is the consequence due to the fault.”
“The fault is pardoned because of God’s mercy, by the gift of forgiveness given through the ministry of the Church,” he said. “Every time we go to confession, our faults are forgiven if we are sincerely repentant.”
However, it is necessary to overcome the punishment, namely, “that consequence that evil has had on our full realization as children of God,” the prelate said.
And here, too, “the Church comes to our aid,” he continued. “First of all, by pointing out penitential ways to us after each confession. But, precisely because none of us can save himself alone, and we are in communion with the Church” the latter, “in addition to being able to give us, through the ministry of reconciliation, forgiveness for our faults, also give us help to overcome the weight of the punishment.” And that involves indulgences, he said.
To obtain a plenary indulgence the usual conditions must be respected — sacramental confession, Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Pope, with the soul totally detached from affection for any sin.
But it is not “something mechanical,” Archbishop Forte said. “Rather, [it is] an aid given to a conscience repentant of sin and sincerely open to the merciful action of God.”
This is why penance “has a most important value as a way of life and not just as a simple moment,” he said. “It is a conversion of heart.”
This is also why “the Eucharist is of so much help on this path,” the archbishop said. It is “bread of life, bread of pilgrims; it is that which, nourishing the thirst, sustains the commitment to conversion and thus also that way which is, precisely, the way of indulgence, the way of conversion.”
According to Archbishop Forte, the moment of grace and purification offered by the Year of the Eucharist should be lived with “the attitude of one who wants to love God with all his heart, who wishes to grow, both by being purified from lack of love as well as sins of the past, and by opening oneself to an overcoming of all the negative consequences of sin.”
This implies “avoiding altogether the almost mercenary idea that something be done to obtain another in return,” he said. This is because the “do ut des” [I give so that you can give] “does not form part of the relationship between man and God, does not form part of the excess of mercy with which God always transcends our sins if we, repentant, return to him.”