It should come to no surprise to say that I’m a sinner.
Even after coming back to my faith, I took a really, really, really, really, really long time to go back to Confession. I mean, really, I’m still baffled at my naïveté and miscomprehension of what the Sacrament of Reconciliation was all about. However, that’s the thing about sinning; you keep making the same mistakes over and over until you realize you are sitting a thousand miles away from God.
Before I went back to Confession, I remember I refused to go there for a lot of reasons. Whether it was shame, fear of being reprimanded or not fully understanding the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I was convinced that I could be a Catholic without ever stepping in the Confessional. How childish was I!
Nonetheless, I was sitting in Adoration, praying to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and I felt an enormous emptiness in my heart. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I could barely move. I needed to know how I could be full once again by Jesus Christ. Hesitantly, I got up, knees shaking, and went to confession. I did my penance and I prayed. I was able to receive the Eucharist later in mass. My heart no longer ached to be filled. I was FULL of Christ.
When we walk into confession, we are scarred, wounded and hurt by sin. But, after going to Confession, we are brought back to life and made new. Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation has been such a crucial part of my life of faith that I would like to share 5 reasons to go to Confession.
1. Because it’s a gift
God gave us the most beautiful gift through Reconciliation: a second chance, a chance to start over, and a clean slate! Jesus gave priests the Holy Order to absolve us from our sins. It is up to us to head over to the confessional and lay it all out!
2. Because Jesus tells us to
Jesus told his apostles: “Confess your sins to one another” James 15:17. The apostles had the authority to forgive sins too! In John 20:21-23, he tells the apostles: “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” To be honest, there are a ton of Bible passages and verses that provide us with understanding of this sacrament, but Jesus’ instructions are clear indeed!
3. Because we’re sinners
We are called to be holy, to sin no more and to strive for sainthood, but its hard! We are human, and because of our human condition, we sin. Still, we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation to be forgiven and to be loved. We are offered a clean slate to pick up the pieces, start again and serve God.
4. Because in Confession, we get to experience the victory He won for us on the Cross
God loves us so much that He sacrificed His only begotten son on the Cross. Jesus wants us to be saved from our sins. Just as he said “go and sin no more” (John 8:11), we should realize that we are forgiven because He was forsaken, we were accepted through His Passion, but He was condemned to die on a Cross. “He was delivered to death for our sins” Romans 4:25, and we should be grateful that He keeps forgiving our sins because He loves us!
5. Because even the Pope needs confession
Last week, Pope Francis went kneeled before a priest and confessed his sins. He did this because he wants to tell us to seek forgiveness through this sacrament. Blessed, soon to be Saint, John Paul II went to confession weekly. If John Paul II felt he needed to go weekly, I feel like we should go even more frequently.
In my personal experience, I was an avid Church-goer, I prayed every day and I even did volunteer work at Church. But, my life was empty of Jesus Christ. I needed to go to confession, I needed the gift of His Grace and I needed to go back to Him.
God created us to be in communion with him. Sinning separates us from God or wounds our relationship with God. The gift of Confession enables us to lead good and holy lives. God is calling us to be in perfect union with him. He is calling us to be saints! The Sacrament of Reconciliation restores the broken relationship we have with Him because it cleanses us; it heals us and fills us with everlasting grace so that each of us can truly be the person we were created to be.On Thursday April 10th, St. Paul’s will be having a Lenten Penance Service at 7pm. There will be several priests available to hear confession. I encourage everyone to come and receive God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It doesn’t matter if your last confession was last week or 10 years ago, or if you have forgotten how to go to confession. Online, you can find a number of guides on how to go to confession. Even the priest will be willing to help guide you through the confession if you have forgotten how to go.
~ Patricia Ruiz, UW-Madison Graduate Student