Confession: Part II
In the last article, I discussed reasons many of us do not frequenting the confession. However, now the bright side: reasons for confession.
If your earliest recollection of the sacrament of confession was a fearful one, join the club. No second-grader looked forward to going into the mysterious dark room and telling his sins to a “voice through the box.” As my brother Jon aptly commented, “You were afraid the priest was going to come at you through that screen.” Now we laugh about it, but not then. However, we all matured and so did our understanding of confession.
Maybe it was the Me Generation or the watering down of the sacraments, but suddenly in my late teens and twenties, I felt no need to go to confession. Why? I became desensitized to sin. It wasn’t an abrupt decision, but a downward spiral that was taking place in my soul. “This isn’t a sin. … I can justify that. … Everyone else is doing it. … People cheat and steal all the time. What’s the big deal?”
Sadly, my excuses were numerous and as faulty as quicksand. However, God loves us too much to leave us in our misery or our pride. He dealt with me swiftly. After the pain of my sins became too unbearable, I longed to unload them no matter how painful or frightening it might be. “If you excuse yourself in confession, you shut up sin within your soul, and shut out pardon.”
THE DIVINE PHYSICIAN AWAITS
After I joined a group of young people saying the rosary, my heart began to change. I began to see my sins with greater clarity. It was like a good surgeon. Oh yes, the incisions hurts at first, but later bring great healing and joy! “…our Master Jesus Christ, whose Word we have promised to observe, says that the whole need not a physician, but they that are sick, and that he came not to call the just, but sinners, to repentance.” — St. Francis of Assisi
BE SET FREE!
Fast-forward 12 years: I stepped in the confessional and nervously bared my soul. The priest was kind and understanding. After performing my penance, I became so light-hearted, as if a heavy burden was taken off my shoulders. “After confession a crown is given to penitents.” – St. John Chrysostom.
GROW IN VIRTUE AND HOLINESS
With that first reunion with the sacrament, I began to go more regularly. Now I was at the point where a yearning grew in my soul. I really was excited to go. Why? Was I crazy? Not, too much! I felt my soul grow in confession. I didn’t realized how much sin and pain had built up in my soul. Now with a good examination of conscience, I could move forward. “Go to your confessor; open your heart to him; display to him all the recesses of your soul; take the advice that he will give you with the utmost humility and simplicity.” — St. Francis de Sales
MEET JESUS HIMSELF
Recall your Catechism. When you go to confession, you are meeting Christ himself. Therefore, there is no room for fear. When I am ashamed or afraid to unburden my soul to the priest, I try to recall that I am confessing to Jesus and he is mercy itself. “When you approach the confessional, know this, that I, Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul,” (St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 1602).
BECOME MORE CHRISTLIKE
One of our goals as Christians is to become Christ-like, to become another “Christ” to others. As frequent penitents we transform ourselves. We are made in God’s image. When we sin, that image becomes tarnished. Through regular confession, our image becomes more Christ-like. God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27
CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF MERCY
What a grace to be alive during this, the Year of Mercy! God extends his mercy to us in a special way and we therefore, extend it to others. The practice of contrite, frequent confession opens wide the door to God’s mercy. Our courage to confess gives others the confidence to do likewise and to believe in God’s mercy. “Tell souls where they are to look for solace; that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy. There the greatest miracles take place, (emphasis added) [and] are incessantly repeated,” (Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, 1448).
Don’t miss out on this beautiful sacrament of God’s love! He awaits for you with his arms open.
Copyright 2016, Mary Mitchell