This work by Henry Edward Cardinal manning is an excellent spiritual book. My object in the following pages is to speak of the Sacrament of Penance, not so much as it is divinely proposed to us through the Church as an object of our Faith, but as it is, an object of our love. I may, therefore, pass over as already known its Divine institution, its form, its matter, and its effects, to use the language of our Theology, and speak of it as it manifests to us the special tenderness of the love of Jesus, and draws us to itself by the effusion of special gifts of grace. The Sacrament of Penance is loved by Catholics, and hated by the world. Like the Pillar, which of old guided the people of God, to us it is all light; to the world it is all darkness. There are two things of which the world would fain rid itself-of the day of Judgment and- the Sacranlent of Penance: of the former, because it is search ing and inevitable; of the latter, because it is the anticipation and the witness of judgment to come. For this cause there is no evil that the world will not say of the Confessiona1. It wonld dethrone the Eternal Judge if it could, therefore it spurns at the judge who sits in the tribunal of Penance, because he is within the reach of its heel. And not only the world without the Church, but the world within its unity, the unpure, the false; the proud, the lukewarm, the worldly Catholic, and in a word, all who are impenitent, both fear and shrink from the shadow of the Great White Throne which falls upon them from the Sacrament of Penance. But to all who are penitent, in whatsoever degree and of whatsoever character, it is an object of love next after the Holy Eucharist, and for reasons which even the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar does not equally present. The presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is real and substantial, proper and personal, in all the fulness of His Godhead and Manhood. His presence in the Sacrament of Penance is by representation and by grace. In this then there is no comparison possible. In the Holy Eucharist Jesus manifests Himself in His royalty, power, and glory. In the Sacrament of Penance, in His tenderness as a Physician, and Ilis compassion as the Good Shepherd. In the forn1er He attracts and transforms us chiefly by His divine attributes; in the latter by His human experience, sympathy, and pity. In the Holy Eucharist Jesus draws us upwards to Himself; in the Sacrament of Penance He stoops down to listen to us, and to open to us His Sacred Heart, in the midst of our sins and in the hour of our greatest miseries. The Holy Euchnrist is Jesus reigning amongst the just; the Sacrament of Penance is Jesus seeking among sinners for those that are lost; the former is the Sacrament of Saints, the latter, of the sinful; and therefore to such as we are it comes down with a singular nearness, an intimate contact with our needs, and an articulate and human voice of help and solace. What, then, I would wish to do is to set do,vn some of the reasons why we ought to contemplate and to approach it with love.
Henry Edward, Brother Hermenegild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1497523486, ISBN 13: 9781497523487