Acts of reparation

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Pietro Lorenzetti fresco detail, Assisi Basilica, 1310-1329.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, an Act of Reparation is a prayer or devotion with the intent to repair the "sins of others", e.g. for the repair of the sin of blasphemy, the sufferings of Jesus Christ or as Acts of Reparation to the Virgin Mary.[1] These prayers do not usually involve a petition for a living or deceased beneficiary, but aim to repair sins.

In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor Pope Pius XI defined reparation as follows:

The creature's love should be given in return for the love of the Creator, another thing follows from this at once, namely that to the same uncreated Love, if so be it has been neglected by forgetfulness or violated by offense, some sort of compensation must be rendered for the injury, and this debt is commonly called by the name of reparation.[2]

Pope John Paul II referred to reparation as the "unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified".[3]

Prayers of reparation[edit]

A number of prayers as an Act of Reparation to the Virgin Mary appear in the Raccolta Catholic prayer book (approved by a Decree of December 15 1854, and published in 1898 by the Holy See). The Raccolta includes a number of diverse prayers for reparation.[4]

Duty of reparation[edit]

In the encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor Pope Pius XI called acts of reparation a duty for Roman Catholics:

We are holden to the duty of reparation and expiation by a certain more valid title of justice and of love, of justice indeed, in order that the offense offered to God by our sins may be expiated

The pontiff further emphasized, "Moreover this duty of expiation is laid upon the whole race of men"

First Friday communion of reparation[edit]

Receiving Holy Communion as part of First Friday Devotions is a Catholic devotion to offer reparations for sins through the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the visions of Christ reported by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century, several promises were made to those people that practiced the First Fridays Devotions, one of which included final perseverance.[9]

The devotion consists of several practices that are performed on the first Fridays of nine consecutive months. On these days, a person is to attend Holy Mass and receive communion.[10] In many Catholic communities the practice of the Holy Hour of meditation during the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during the First Fridays is encouraged. [11]

Apparitions[edit]

The need for reparation has been mentioned in some Marian apparitions. The messages of Our Lady of Akita, which were formally approved by the Holy See in 1988 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) include the following statement attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary:

"Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates."

Our Lady of Fatima messages have also emphasized the need for reparations. According to the child seers, Mary asked them to make sacrifices to save sinners. By this the children understood her to mean moderate acts of mortification of the flesh.[12]

Organizations for reparation[edit]

Specific Catholic organizations (including Pontifical Congregations) whose focus is reparation have been formed:[13][14]

  • The Archconfraternity of Reparation for blasphemy and the neglect of Sunday was founded by Msgr. Pierre Louis Parisis in 1847.
  • The Archconfraternity of the Holy Face was founded in 1851 by the Venerable Leo Dupont, the "Holy Man of Tours".
  • In 1886 Pope Leo XIII authorized the formation of the Archconfraternity of the Mass of Reparation in Rome.

Theological issues[edit]

From a theological view, reparation is closely connected with those of atonement and satisfaction, and thus belonging to some of the deepest mysteries of the Christian Faith. Christian theology teaches that man is a creature who has fallen into original sin from an original state of grace in which he was created, and that through the Incarnation, Passion, and Death of Jesus Christ, he has been redeemed and restored again in a certain degree to the original condition.

Roman Catholic theology asserts that it was by voluntary submission that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for man's disobedience and sin and that his death made reparation for the sins and offenses of the world. Catholicism professes that by adding their prayers, labours, and trials to the redemption won by Christ's death, Christians can attempt to make reparation to God for their own offenses and those of others. Protestant Christians on the other hand believe in Sola fide.

The theological doctrine of reparation is the foundation of the numerous confraternities and pious associations which have been founded, especially in modern times, to make reparation to God for the sins of men. The Archconfraternity of Reparation for blasphemy and the neglect of Sunday was founded 28 June, 1847, in the Church of St. Martin de La Noue at St. Dizier in France by Mgr. Parisis, Bishop of Langres. With a similar object, the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face was established at Tours, about 1851, through the piety of M. Dupont, the "holy man of Tours". In 1883 an association was formed in Rome to offer reparation to God on behalf of all nations. The idea of reparation is an essential element in the devotion of the Sacred Heart, and acts of reparation were once common public devotions in Roman Catholic churches. One of the ends for which the Eucharist is offered is for reparation. A pious widow of Paris conceived the idea of promoting this object in 1862. By the authority of Pope Leo XIII the erection of the Archconfraternity of the Mass of Reparation was sanctioned in 1886.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Acts of Reparation http://catholicism.about.com/od/prayers/qt/Reparation_HN.htm
  2. ^ Miserentissimus Redemptor Encyclical of Pope Pius XI [1]
  3. ^ Vatican archives http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/letters/2000/documents/hf_jp-ii_let_20001021_riparatrici_en.html
  4. ^ Joseph P. Christopher et al., 2003 The Raccolta, St Athanasius Press ISBN 978-0-9706526-6-9
  5. ^ Michael Freze, 1993, Voices, Visions, and Apparitions, OSV Publishing ISBN 0-87973-454-X
  6. ^ Dorothy Scallan. The Holy Man of Tours. (1990) ISBN 0-89555-390-2
  7. ^ Our Lady of Fatima http://www.fatima.org/
  8. ^ Story of Fatima http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-104.html
  9. ^ Peter Stravinskas, 1998, OSV's Catholic Encyclopedia, OSV Press ISBN 0-87973-669-0 page 428
  10. ^ Roman Catholic worship: Trent to today by James F. White 2003 ISBN 0-8146-6194-7 page 35
  11. ^ Meditations on the Sacred Heart by Joseph McDonnell 2008 ISBN 1-4086-8658-9 page 118
  12. ^ Lucia Santos, Memoir 1, pp. 45-48, and Memoir 2, p. 82 and 93, in Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, entire text online.
  13. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia
  14. ^ Byzantine Catholic Church in America - Hildebrand Gregori a Step Closer to Canonization

External links[edit]