Step 2 – Renew the Habit of Reconciliation

Fr. Joel The Loving Life 2 Comments

Confession. Penance. Reconciliation. No matter what we call it, the idea of confessing our sins makes us very uncomfortable.  This is the sacrament we love to hate. But the Church believes that all seven Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ in order to answer our spiritual needs. In other words, in this sacrament Jesus gives us something we really need but aren’t willing to admit it. I could argue this point further but that would require it’s own post. For more information see Matthew 9:8.

No human community can survive without forgiveness. No matter how wonderful a person I may be, when I find myself with other people, we will eventually offend and hurt each other. One hurt, then another, and eventually the hurts will destroy whatever community is involved – friendships, a family, a parish, a society. No community can survive without forgiving and being forgiven.

This is where Confession comes in. The priest serves a dual role: He speaks for the human community and he speaks for God. As a representative of the human community, he hears your sins and lets you go free. As a representative speaking for Christ he allows each person to hear Jesus’ words addressed to them: “Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.” These words change our lives. Regular Confession makes us more willing to admit faults, sins and shortcomings. Admitting them leads to working on them, and working on them leads to fewer sins.

The frequent reception of forgiveness also makes us more willing to offer forgiveness to others. Even priests have to go to Confession. I can tell you from personal experience that my own commitment to monthly Confession has changed my life for the better. I never like walking into the Confessional, but it almost makes me cry with joy to hear, “I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Ultimately, this sacrament is not about our sins but about God’s merciful love. His mercy not only forgives us, but slowly transforms us into Images of his Son. What a gift that is!!

STEP 3 >>

Get Clean

Why do I have to go to Confession?


STEP 3 >

Comments 2

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    It seems a vital step in the process has been circumvented in your proposed actions. It would appear most arrogant to seek forgiveness simply through the act of confession. Would it not be cowardly to avoid making a genuine examination of one’s conscience and sincerely seek forgiveness from those whom one has personally hurt and offended? Surely asking for forgiveness may seem challenging and difficult, even agonizing. Perhaps it would seem easier for some to skip the pain of honest soul-searching and thus preferable to avoid acceptance of one’s own wrong doing towards others; but would such an express route really please our Father? No, one must conquer their pride and let go of their ego, to genuinely apologize to someone. With a genuine apology, there is a chance that you might be forgiven. Perhaps well beyond seeking forgiveness through the act of confession it would be pleasing to the Lord that you seek forgiveness for your actions that truly have potential to destroy an entire community, as you allude to in your writing.

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      Dear Josephine,

      After reading your comment I had several thoughts:

      Unfortunately there are some people that don’t really know how to respond to the apology. This being said – if we have the courage to go to Confession at least there we will hear “Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.” Now in addition to this, in a testimony to my own faith journey, I have found it so helpful (not always easy of course) to confess sins to a priest because you know what reaction you are going to get…it allows us to “practice” per say. Then, in our actions to one another as humans we may be able to have more confidence apologizing when it is necessary.

      I agree, apologies to one another when we realize that we have hurt each other is very important, however the truth be told, what if we don’t always realize when we have hurt one another – even after an examination of conscience? We don’t always like to see our own faults.

      I have three small children and when they have hurt me or one another we make a point of apologizing – sincerely – in order to allow the one whom has been hurt to express forgiveness. What I try to emphasize with them is that it will be in their actions that will show me how sorry they are…i.e. if they used hurtful words and turn around and do it again right away I don’t know how sorry they truly are…it is a work in progress that needs continual assistance.

      We are a church community and I find it beautiful that we are able to receive this sacrament. Yes, I do agree that apologies are necessary between the human beings as well – but unfortunately (or fortunately) sometimes we need help in finding the grace to have the courage in order to obtain the humility to do the things we need to do. The grace that can come from the Sacrament of Reconciliation does nothing but help those of us that may sometimes have a hard time showing in our words and actions that we are sorry…eventually we will get there – with God’s grace – through the Sacraments (it is all connected). It is in this that I believe we will begin to find the Peace that He wants us to have.

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