In the last journal entry, I discussed how there was a period in which I did not attend Mass and how I went back home to the Catholic faith. I would be remiss if I did not touch on going back to confession and the importance of doing so since “to receive Communion worthily, you must be in a state of grace, have made a good confession since your last mortal sin,” among other factors listed on Catholic.com.
I struggled with going back to confession for years, even after I went back to church regularly. I was fearful and full of anxiety just thinking of confessing. I was also ashamed of my sins and thought that the Priest would judge me, even if he didn’t say anything outright. I also didn’t think that I needed to confess my sins to a Priest and that if I was truly sorry, all I would have to do is tell God and then all would be forgiven.
Three Reasons Why I Went Back to Confession.
1. Jesus. It wasn’t until I learned where and with who the Sacrament of Confession began that I decided to put aside these feelings of fear, shame, doubt and confess. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. It was given to us by Jesus Christ. Not a Pope, not a Saint, Jesus Christ.
For some reason, I did not know until a few years ago that it was Jesus Christ Himself that gave us this Sacrament. He wants us to confess our sins not so that we can feel fear, shame, doubt, anxiety or the like. He wants us to Confess our sins so that we can purify our souls and draw closer to Him.
“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” (John 20:21-23).
When I go to Confession, I imagine ,I am confessing to the Lord Himself. As when the Priest is at the altar at Mass, celebrating the Holy Eucharist, when the Priest hears our confessions he is again working as “persona Christi” or “in the person of Christ.”
2. Jesus loves me. After having my son, I finally realized just how much my mother loves me. It is amazing. What is even more amazing is that Jesus loves me even more than all that love combined! Also, there is nothing that my child could ever do that would make me stop loving him. In the same regard, there is nothing that I can do to make Him stop loving me. Jesus loves me and all of us so much that He will forgive us the moment that we confess to Him or persona Christi, the priest.
One of the most powerful statements that I have ever heard is that “there is no sin greater than God’s love for us.” If you are truly sorry and make the acts of penance that are required, God will forgive and “wipe your slate clean.”
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19
3. It feels good. For me, the hardest part of confession is getting there. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have reliable transportation, it means that I psych myself out before I even open the door to the church. Whether it has been years, months or weeks since my last confession, I always have a varying degree of fear, shame, doubt or anxiety. It does get easier, however, and those feelings have diminished as I have grown more accustomed to making confession.
Regardless of how I am feeling before confession, each time I kneel and begin to confess, those negative feelings flood out of my body and soul. They are immediately replaced with joy, gratefulness, relief and love. I view confession as an outlet given to me by Jesus to draw closer to Him. There is no sin worth losing out on being with Jesus in Heaven after my years on earth are over.
Confession allows me to acknowledge what I have done wrong, say I am sorry, make amends, ask for God’s help, dust myself off and move forward. It was also after this confession that the idea of Catholic Mom Rhode Island came to me. The morning after the confession, I woke up with the idea that had been mulling over in my head for months and felt overwhelmingly empowered by the Holy Spirit.
If you have not gone to confession in some time; whether it be years, months, weeks or if you have never gone, consider taking part in this special gift of healing that was given to us by Jesus. If you have had a sour experience with a priest at a past confession, do not let that deter you. Find another priest. You are not obligated to confess with the priest at your church. In this digital age, most churches have websites with their confession times.
If you are unable to make those times, call the church and set up an appointment to confess.
A booklet titled “Going Back to Confession after years or decades” by Bud Macfarlane from the Mary Foundation explains that once you make the decision to go back to confession, “unseen forces of evil” do not want this to happen and interference may occur (car troubles, work delays, other roadblocks), etc.…
Please take this advice: do not let anything stop you from going to confession and drawing closer to God. Do it for yourself and for your soul. Know that Jesus loves you and as that priest told me, “there is no sin greater than God’s love for us.”
To view the booklet I discussed above, please visit: http://www.catholicity.com/booklets/confession.pdf
As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!