Forgiveness Day 7 // The Three Questions About Confession

Images by Beautiful light photography

Images by Beautiful light photography

John 20:21-23

Why do we need Confession? 

Even though most of us aren’t people who would commit violent crimes, we still have a tendency to sin. We sin whenever we hold onto our anger towards someone and say bad things to them, whether just once or constantly, or behind their backs through gossip. We sin whenever we clutch onto our envy and resentment, wishing bad things on other people. We sin whenever we let our thoughts linger on the physical attraction of a person without acknowledging that there is a soul inside that body. 

Matthew Kelly compares Confession to cleaning out your car. The car starts out clean, but over time, it gets dirty with all the stuff you put inside it; the food and drinks you spill, and treading mud. Not to mention that on the outside, a car will gather lots of bugs on the windshield, bird poop, and general dirt and grime from constant traveling. So once a month or so, we clean out the car. We remove all the trash, vacuum the floors, and take the car to a car wash so that it’s clean inside and out.

The car will get dirty again eventually, but that’s a part of life. We will always be in need of God’s mercy. To deny this is tantamount to lying to yourself. 

Why do we need to confess our sins to a priest?

Each of the Sacraments has a physical encounter as well as a spiritual one. There will always be a part of us that needs to speak to someone about all the wrong things we have done. We will always need to hear that we are forgiven. God chooses to do that by working through a priest. Whenever we are in Confession we confess our sins directly to God through the priest. After saying that we are sorry for our sins, we are given a penance and hear the priest absolve our sins.

How often should we go to Confession?

The Catholic Church advocates frequent Confession. Pope Francis goes twice a month. Pope John Paul II went every week. Pope Pius XII went every day. Now all of these popes are good and holy men, so their frequent Confession may sound daunting. But think of frequent confession as you would going to the gym or some other kind of exercise routine. Just as an athlete trains on a daily or weekly basis in order to prepare for a major event, people who go to Confession frequently helps our soul grow stronger and prepares us in the fight against future temptations. It doesn’t matter how often you go, though, if you don’t allow the grace of Confession to change you. 

Saint Padre Pio, pray for us.

Reflections:

1.How often do you usually go to Confession? What are your perceptions on the sacrament?

2.What have your experiences been with the sacrament of Confession? What graces have you received from it?

Action: Start going to Confession once a month. You’ll see a lot of huge changes at first, but then the changes will become more gradual over time. Trust me when I say you won’t regret it.