ProLifeCorner.com—By Timothy Barr- Lent is a time of penance, a season of confessions. Confession can be a scary thing to do. I suppose many from outside the Church do not understand why we would go. In fact, I think many of us wonder the same thing. Pope John Paul II used to go every week. Why? What did He see or experience in confession?
St Faustina would say the mercy of Jesus is His greatest attribute. It is an attribute of Love. There are many benefits to going to confession. The first is that we get to know the great love God has for us. When we hear the words of mercy in the absolution, it is not just a priest who says those words. Jesus is using the voice of the priest to speak directly to you. “… and I absolve you from your sins…” This is not done by the power of some guy on the other side of the screen. The “I” who absolves is Jesus.
Confession is a way in which we grow in intimacy with Jesus. We share with Him things we would not share with others. The darkest part of our lives is not something we normally rejoice in doing. It takes real faith to do this. I believe this is why people are so scandalized. The faith it takes to be Catholic is great. Who has faith like that? It requires total abandonment to Him who died for us. This radical trust in Him does not go without its reward. This sharing of our most intimate selves invokes in Him a sharing of His most intimate self. What an exchange! I think we got the better deal.
The unity this intimacy invokes brings even more gifts. Whenever we sin, we wound ourselves. Confession is a most direct remedy. As Jesus forgives us, He also gives us the medicine for our souls. We receive graces specific to our souls. It is not a “poof, Magic!” event. It takes a life of struggle to grow in virtue. Jesus knows our struggles and wants to help us. Confession is the way in which we allow Him to be there for us. Withholding these sins keeps Jesus from helping us.
Confession makes us accountable, since we do have to admit them before another. The difficulty in confessing our sins is the reason why we have the seal of Confession. It also forces us to acknowledge them to ourselves, instead of justifying them in our minds. It is a real reality check. For this reason I could say that it helps us live in reality. This keeps us saner. No need for props. To top it off, we gain more confidence that Jesus still loves us! In other words, we build our faith.
This faith requires a physical act. Like love, faith gets fulfilled in the act. The woman had to touch the garment, the blind man had to ask, and the paralytic had to be lowered down from the roof. This is where truly faith can save us. Let it save you. I invite you to come to confession and experience His healing power.
Father Timothy Barr is pastor of St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s in Freeport, Illinois. Father has many wonderful things to say about the church and her teachings. He has a blog and is posting articles, videos, as well as his homilies in audio form. We encourage all Christians, to visit this site often. You will not be disappointed. http://.stjosephstmary.com