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Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession Hardcover – March 18, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fifty years ago on Saturday afternoons and evenings, long lines of faithful Catholics would snake through the aisles of their churches to the confessional booths. Today most American parishes schedule confessions for perhaps 30 minutes a week, and only a handful of people show up. Hahn would like to revive the ailing practice, which to him is essential to Christian growth. "Each act of penance we offer, each sacramental confession, every little sacrifice conforms us ever more to God's image, makes our lives more resemble the divine life." Hahn's newest book is a defense of the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation (which he always calls by its older names of confession or penance) as well as a source of practical instructions for those unaccustomed to confessing. It is not surprising that his books sell briskly. His writing is clear and lively, laced with anecdotes, analogies and excruciating puns ("a new, whirled order") as he painlessly presents heavy theological topics: sin-mortal, venial and original; the divine-human covenant; self-denial and sacrifice; examination of conscience. Piling up scriptures like the evangelical he once was, he speaks with a conviction bordering on triumphalism. His love for the idealized church of the past, however, will exasperate some readers. Sexist terminology is abundant and his theology is unnuanced ("it is a mortal sin to miss Mass on a Sunday"). His adoration of the institutional church ("the Church teaching, as always, strikes the perfect balance") will amaze many of the theologians, historians and other people who read newspapers.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

President of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Hahn investigates the concept of forgiveness.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Image; 1 edition (March 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385501706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385501705
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Catholic and finding it difficult to avail yourself of the Sacrament of Confession? Using the old excuse of "I don't need a priest to confess"? Really wanting to go to confession but don't know how or where to start the process? Wondering why the Sacrament even exists? Well, look no further -- this book answers all of these questions. Scott Hahn does a fine job of asking these questions, answering them, and (what is so very useful to Catholics who are not Bible-literate) shows the Biblical basis for the Sacrament of Confession. Hahn's style of writing lends to quick, easy reading. Yet, it is so very powerful. I now use various chapters of the book in preparation for Confession.
Catholic and going to Confession regularly? Still get this book. I think it will only deepen your love for the Sacrament and for the Faith.
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Format: Hardcover
This is another thoroughly enjoyable and insightful book by Dr. Hahn. I highly recommend this book for Catholic and non-Catholic alike. This is a timely and much needed book covering a topic and sacrament apparently and sadly underutilized by many Christians. Dr. Hahn with a characteristic positive approach shows how confession as a wonderful gift not only heals and reconciles but also grooms and maintains the Christian on the right path. One could hardly discuss the sacrament of Confession without looking into what drives the need for reconciliation and that is of course sin. Using scriptural examples like the prodigal son, and St. Augustine's "Confessions", the author effectively illustrates our basic weakness toward sin in ways I hadn't considered before (for example I hadn't considered much the role of the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son). I also liked the discussion of how sin affects the whole mystical body of Christ and how its strength is found in the sacrament of penance. There's lots of good stuff in this book. I picked up a copy of this book before catching a flight for Pittsburgh and then on to Steubenville for my niece's graduation. I drove my niece to Steubenville from Washington State 4 years ago and loved the faithful Catholic university environment. This time for the graduation, I had the good fortune of meeting Dr. Hahn after Sunday mass.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll be the first to admit it. Although I have been a practicing Catholic all of my life I have failed to take full advantage of the sacrament of Penance. I have rattled off all of the usual excuses but after reading "Lord, Have Mercy" I realize that the fault for this blatant oversight is all my own. Scott Hahn makes a thorough and powerful case why we need confession. He presents us with a history of the sacrament from its earliest origins in the Jewish tradition. He argues that the average Catholic must come to a more mature understanding of this sacrament and needs to make frequent confession an important part of his/her spiritual life. Otherwise, we are sure to fall into the trap of blaming everyone else--our victims, our parents, our boss or perhaps even the government--for our own shortcomings and failures. I especially appreciated the "Examination of Conscience" presented in the appendix of this book. It is an extremely helpful tool for anyone preparing for the sacrament of Penance. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is by far the BEST book by Dr. Hahn that I have had the privilege to read! Rome Sweet Home was very good, The Lamb's Supper was an eye opener, and Hail, Holy Queen touched my heart, but Lord, Have Mercy is a beautiful examination and explanation of the Sacrament of Reconciliation /Confession / Penance. He refers to Sacred Scripture as well as the Early Church Fathers, with a profound sense of humor and reverence at the same time. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to know the Catholic faith better as well as someone who just wants to understand the Sacrament of Reconciliation in all it's beauty.
Thanks Scott and God Bless you!
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Format: Hardcover
In reading this book I was regularly surprised by unexpected depths. Hahn is wiser than he seems because he strives to write at a simple and popular level. This book is also well-organized and documented, and will serve as an excellent guide to anyone seeking to understand the classic Roman Catholic theology of sacramental confession.
I found this to be a book of firm and orderly persuasion, calling Catholics (like me) back to a sacrament that has become astonishingly neglected. Hahn finds a biblical foreshadowing of confession in the Old Testament sacrifices: the sinner was required to personally offer God something costly and difficult in satisfaction for his sins. This is not the only way Hahn presents confession; he also speaks of it as healing and reconciliation, and devotes a chapter to the parable of the Prodigal Son. Hahn also knits together four aspects of the Atonement: economic, military, liturgical and legal -- all under one heading, that of Covenant. Only from the over-arching perspective of God's Covenant with us in Christ, he says, can we understand the full mystery of reconciliation.
Hahn also makes the valuable point that when we tell ourselves self-excusing stories, we cut ourselves dangerously loose from reality. We all do this, to a greater or lesser degree, and it takes great effort to resist it and practice honest, but we must realize that we are in God's all-seeing presence all the time anyway. We must grow to tolerate that light, because it is the only light there is; all else is confusion and darkness. This is just one of Hahn's many thought-provoking discussions.
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