A Hospital for Sinners


It can sometimes FEEL (but not actually the case) like the church is a museum of saints especially when we:

1) are not telling other people our sins outside of Confession.

2) do talk about sins, it’s about the sins of others.

Now that’s a generalization, and there are always exceptions to the generalization. I’ll mention here that I know people who preface talk about others with a statement that they themselves are sinners too. That’s truly and honestly helpful. But in my experience, it’s a rarity.

Now back to the generalized feeling of a museum of saints. We sometimes hear from priests and even from Pope Francis that our Church is “not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners.” I’ve heard this statement before Pope Francis, but no one knows exactly the origin behind who said this in the first place. Some people speculate St. Augustine or St. John Chrysostom, but still its speculation.

When people outside of the church are intimidated by church goers, and people in the church preach so much about morals, it feels an awful like it’s really a “museum for saints!” So for some people like me, I would like more than just one statement for me to believe that it’s a “hospital for sinners.”

Today, we have quotes from a Benedictine monk named Father Dom Gueranger, who was born in 1805. Just for people who may wonder if this idea is a modern, post-Vatican II statement!

The following quotes concern certain times in the Mass, such as the gradual, secret, and postcommunion. And since this is from the 1800’s, we’re talking about the Tradition Latin Mass where you can pray personal devotions during Mass. For people who only know the English Mass, that’s the explanation for why we can have these quotes below.

  1. Far from being free from sin. “The gradual offers up to God the prayers of Christians who, though they are far from being free from sin, and feel that they are unworthy of His assistance, yet, for His own glory’s sake, sue Him to have compassion on them.”
  2. Our rebel wills.“The Church prays, in the Secret, that our Lord would draw Himself to our rebel wills, and change them.”
  3. More rebel wills.The prayer in one secret states, “mercifully compel our rebel wills to yield unto thee.”
  4. Our defilements.“Let us pray, in the Postcommunion, that our defilements may be removed, and may not impede this holy Sacrament from producing its full effect in us.”
  5. Please purify us!The prayer in one post communion prayer states, “May the mysteries we have received, O Lord, both purify and defend us, by the gift they bestow.”
  6. Please cleanse us! The prayer in a second post communion prayer states, “May the oblation of this divine Sacrament, we beseech thee, O Lord, both cleanse and defend us…free us from all sin.”

The quotes can be found in Volume XI “Time after Pentecost Book Two” by Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B.

Going into an old school hospital,

Mike Panlilio

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