A Humbling Sacrament: Penance, Reconciliation and Forgiveness
Confession is good for our souls
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It's been TOO LONG since my last Confession! Another reason Confession is so powerful, especially as we wait in line with other sinners: it is helpful to know that I am not the only one who sins. It's easy to feel isolated, and like we are the worst sinners in the world, and that God will never forgive us (again, thoughts from the devil). It reminds us that we are not alone, that we are never alone, in our sinful ways. We are not called to be perfect.
Too long? It was at least 10 years, maybe 14, between Confessions until I went in February of this year. Now I go a few weeks, and I feel 'weak'.
Don't get me wrong; we don't have this sacrament as a 'feel good' instant healing. My sins still hurt myself, others, and most importantly, God. Early one evening, it came to me that the Wednesday Confessions at our parish were starting.
I quickly jumped in my car, and arrived 15 minutes after they 'opened for business'. I couldn't believe how many men were in line tonight; they easily outnumbered the women 6 to 1. I was much overjoyed at the number of people in line, even though it meant I would be there awhile.
There were two priests available, but I had no idea which ones were there. I thought to myself that even if the wait was for hours, or even days, I would wait. The chance to ask our Savior directly for forgiveness, and RECEIVING IT, is so powerful, amazing and such a gift.
As I prayed and waited in line for my turn to visit the Confessional, I found myself looking at the crucifix hanging overhead near the altar. I had used my Laudate application on my phone to guide my memory and conscience; it forces me to be VERY honest with myself about my mistakes.
God already knows my sins. He's just waiting for me to ask Him for His Forgiveness.He wants to set me free and have me experience that freedom!
I feel like Jesus is holding me when I confess. After preparing myself and examining my sins, I often will pray the Rosary as I wait. This day, I chose the Divine Mercy. As always, I had tears streaming down my face as I prayed.
I tried to contain them so as not to be noticeable to others and distract them, but it's such a powerful prayer. It was especially powerful tonight, as I prayed for His Mercy not only for myself, but the others in attendance as well. After all, it is through His Mercy that we are forgiven.
I've been to many different priests for Confession in the last 8 months. Each one has been very different. But one message has been universal (and, on a side note, 'Catholic' means universal). "
"The Lord rejoices that you are asking His forgiveness, and are repentant." I've visited with older priests, foreign priests, young (!) priests (which is a little strange...when you know the priest on the other side of the screen reminds not only you, but many others according to him, of Daniel Radcliffe!), talkative priests, quiet priests.
But there is One that I have encountered EACH TIME I've been to Confession: Jesus Christ Himself.
How else could it be, that this stranger on the other side of the screen, can offer me such guidance after a few moments of me telling him how many horrible things I've done or thought?
While I should watch my pride in thinking that I'm at all unique in my sins, I have been amazed at priests throughout the US, not even in the same diocese, can offer me such similar guidance, while not even knowing who I am.
I also believe it does take true humility and repentance for us humans to admit our worst faults and sins to a human being; we truly have to believe that the Lord is present with us, and that the priest is acting 'in persona Christi', in the person of Christ.
Just as I've heard things coming out of my mouth that I have no way of explaining or knowing, yet it comes out clear as a bell to the person I'm talking to, I know it's the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, our Father, who is speaking and listening to me. And for the person to be representing our actual Christ is amazing.
I used to fear Confession and the Penance, but thankfully, the Penance I've always received is never as painful as what I deserve. I should fear death and judgement if I haven't repented and confessed!
Confession is such a beautiful sacrament. The fear is from the devil, who does NOT want us to repent. The doubts? That's him, too. By that last minute decision, I didn't give the bad guy much time to try to dissuade me. He did try to sneak in while I was there, but I had the Lord on my side.
Another reason Confession is so powerful, especially as we wait in line with other sinners: it is helpful to know that I am not the only one who sins. It's easy to feel isolated, and like we are the worst sinners in the world, and that God will never forgive us (again, thoughts from the devil).
It reminds us that we are not alone, that we are never alone, in our sinful ways. We are not called to be perfect. We are called to be the best we can be for Him. We feel the strength of each other and come to lean on each other spiritually, even without realizing it.
Plus, who knows how many others are praying specifically for us at that very moment we are standing in line with them, or saying our prayers in the pews?
Just another reason I love being Catholic! God have Mercy on my soul, and those of my fellow sinners.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Living Faith News
- GRAND OPENING: Catholic Shopping .com is now open for you. Browse today!
- Pope Francis: Fasting 'chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else'
- Medical experts confirm miracle attributed to Archbishop Fulton Sheen
- Pew study suggests 'Pope Francis Effect' is a myth
- What will your Lenten Pledge be?
- Pope may visit China this summer, says China and the Vatican are 'close'
- Francis: 'I carry crucifix I took from dead priest.'
- Pope Francis says papal summer residence gardens be opened to the public
- Pope Francis makes special plea, but will any Catholics really listen?
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?