I’m sure there could be a lot of posts on this topic..confessing sins. I will give what’s on my mind at the moment.
I was confused about a lot of things “Catholic”, and confessing sins was just one of the bigger ones. The picture of the confessional booths, above, found on Wylio, was one of many I found there. I have no idea why, but most of the pictures I found, when I search for the word “confessional” showed pictures of a rock concert. or of a child in a car seat. Talk about being confused?
I always thought, like most Protestants, that you should confess your sins directly to God. But Jesus told Peter, that what ever sins he would retain, would be retained, and whichever sins he forgave would be forgiven. Jesus established the Church by making Peter the Rock. Jesus came to earth, in the flesh..incarnate…because we humans needed to see God, to hear God, to touch God…in order to know we were truly loved by God, our Father. The Church carries on the ministry of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, when the Church, with the Sacrament of Reconciliation says, through the voice and ministry of the Priest, I absolve you of your sins…we are hearing the voice of Christ, the voice of God…our human need to hear those words of forgiveness and peace.
Do I like going to Reconciliation, or Confession? No. I haven’t really met any one that does. But do I like the feeling of peace and love I receive when hearing those words of absolution? oh yeah….it’s awesome!
I remember reading about the St. John Vianney, who sat and waited and waited for people to come to confession. He spent 16-18 hours a day..just waiting. Finally people began to come, and they never stopped coming.
If you want to read what St. Augustine says about making a good confession, you are welcome to check this out.
How do I go to confession? Since I am a convert, it is a challenge for me to use the standard prayers. I am more comfortable making up my own as I sit with the priest. I choose to go “face-to-face”, rather than behind the curtain or veil as I have seen it in the movies. We are obliged to confess our mortal sins, or the serious ones. This means that (1)I have to know what I’ve done was wrong, (2) It was of a serious matter (3) I chose to do it. Now, that is my version and understanding of mortal sin. There are volumes written on this which I don’t have the desire to read nor the intelligence to understand.
Basically, a sin is a sin. If I know I’ve done something wrong, I say I’m sorry to God, I go to confession, I go to Mass weekly where we pray to God and to our brothers and sisters in Christ to forgive my sins ..of what I’ve said or done, in my thoughts or by my deeds, or by what I’ve left un-done or un-said.
I think that there is a lot of misunderstanding about all of this..that we Catholics have to confess our sins to a man (the priest) instead of God. No, God is there for sure in that confessional. God is with the priest…and in the words of healing…the words of help in how to fight the battle of sin in my life, the priest speaks to my human ears and to my human heart. The priest has been ordained..given the power by Christ to speak for him…in persona Christe ..in the person of Christ, when doing the Sacramental ministries of the Church.
A Sacrament is basically that which makes the presence of Christ/God/the Holy Spirit truly there…making the water a Spiritual washing of the soul…not just of the body. A marriage a union of not two persons, but three. And in Reconciliation…God is present through the ministry of the Priest.
Anyone who has ever experienced a “Good Confession” will tell you how light their hearts feels when they leave…how the burdens are lifted and healed. You intend to never sin again when you leave. You believe with God’s help that you will never sin again.
But I do sin again. And it’s usually the same old ones, over and over. Satan knows our weak points, and he is pretty sneaky about getting you back to that same point. a sinner.
But the beauty of the Church and the Sacraments …it’s my family…and the meal ( the Eucharist) and the healing (Reconciliation) are not a once and never to do again deal. Like a McD’s Full Meal Deal….Once Saved, Always Saved. My family welcomes me home, even if I mess up. I get cleaned up…confess…and get fed daily….on the Life of Jesus…His Body and Blood. but that’s for another time….
So….Lent is here…it’s a good time to go clean up. Confessing is better that chocolate.