· “Why go to confession? Can’t I just talk to God myself?”
· “It’s been so long. I don’t know what to do.”
· “I can’t tell the priest that stuff! It’s too embarrassing.”
· “I really don’t do anything that bad. I don’t have anything serious to confess.”
Perhaps one of the above statements expresses the way that you think.
I regularly encourage you to make a good, sacramental confession.
Simply stated, the Sacrament of Penance is a grace-filled opportunity--an occasion to allow God’s very life to dwell in us more fully. Jesus gives us this sacrament so that we can be reconciled with God and with our fellow Christians in the Church.
As Catholics, we believe that Jesus gave the power to forgive sin to the Church, initially through the Apostles. “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." (John 20:23)
When the priest gives absolution, it is actually Christ who is forgiving sin through the instrument of the priest. This is a supernatural action which restores us back to our Baptismal innocence. In addition, the grace of the sacrament helps us in our struggle to resist sin in the future.
“But can’t I just go to God directly myself?”
Maybe an example will help to shed some light on the situation.
Some time ago I came down with what I thought was a really bad cold. No matter what I tried on my own I just couldn’t seem to get rid of it. Finally, I decided to see the doctor. After some tests, the doctor told me that I had pneumonia in my lung and prescribed the appropriate treatment. If I would have decided to handle it on my own, I risked getting worse and developing additional complications. I needed the expertise and guidance of someone who was trained to diagnose and treat this particular illness.
With sin, sometimes we need someone objective to look at the situation and recommend the appropriate action. In order to overcome sin, we need something more than what we alone can do. We need God’s grace. As priests we are instruments of God’s grace in the sacraments.
Believe me, with time we hear it all—the good and the bad. So many times our joy comes from being able to bring someone closer to God and bringing peace to people’s lives. Those who frequent the sacrament should understand what I mean.
Why not check it out?
Fr. Ed Namiotka