Saturday, April 25, 2009

Love of Confession

One of the blessings for which I thank Jesus is the Sacrament of Confession...because even as I struggle with all my sins, I know He is there through His chosen representative, and offers me mercy in a very personal way. Whether I'm behind a screen or sitting in a chair, I know I am in the presence of Christ...such that my heart has been converted on the spot.

I love this sacrament, yet I still struggle with it. But it is something that we shouldn't struggle with at all! It should be something that anyone could go do on a moments notice. It can be difficult, at times, to go to confession. We fall behind on it so it all builds up and we're afraid, or we commit something mortifying and the thought of telling a priest is embarrassing! But confession should be embarrassing!

I'm absolutely convinced that, among other reasons, the Lord instituted this wonderful Sacrament to give us an opportunity to practice humility. Pride is the root of all sin. Humility conquers pride. In order to get the grace of humility, we must practice it. Stepping into a confessional takes courage and humility. There are graces which come with absolution to help us fight sin and build holiness in our life. Anyone who goes frequently can tell you that with time it gets easier. The building of humility and the reduction of pride is what makes it easier. The Angel of Darkness may fool us into thinking that we just can't confess something out of shame or that we don't "need to go today" it wasn't "that bad." We should put him in his rightful place by making an act of humility and stepping into that confessional anyways.

Whatever the reason, we must always remember that God's mercy endures FOREVER! No matter what! "Peace to people of good will!" -- Peace to those who want it!

I believe the problem is rooted in our culture's loss of the sense of sin. Our culture is relentless in telling people that there are no absolute truths, and that what's true or good or evil depends on the situation -- or that it depends on the opinion of the individual. So, a lot of people are morally confused -- deceived, really. And we have to reach out to help these people to come back to the sacrament.

The beautiful truth is that the more we go to confession, the more we grow in holiness. We experience real conversion every day. We are less absorbed in material things. We find we have the grace to see the world differently and to think and act differently. We have real intimate friendship with Jesus.

Confession becomes even more "catchy" when you learn to use it for the purpose of building virtue. This is where priests can really help a soul on a personal level to build holiness. There can be no growth in holiness while we are in a state of mortal sin because it weighs a soul down like an anchor. Really, it is in working on the small things - the venial matters, that we learn to tame our appetites on the heavy hitters - grave or mortal sin.

We've forgotten that confession isn't a conversation with a priest; it's a dialogue with God. The priest has been chosen, ordained to serve "in persona Christi," in the person of Christ -- to forgive sins in Christ's name. No one else but the priest has been given this power on earth.

Confession is an amazing and wonderful grace given to us from God. One of the BEST works offered by the Church no doubt! All we need to do is have the humility to walk into that confessional! Then, miraculously, all of our sins confessed are forgiven! What a beautiful and indescribable event takes place all within 15 minutes!

The only sin not forgiven is the one not confessed. No matter how horrible, no matter how humiliating, we must ALL seek God's forgiveness and mercy in Confession.