People often ask “do I have to go to confession. I’m a good person.
I can talk to God directly. I don’t need a priest.” Today, the long lines waiting to go to confession are gone and the use of the sacrament has declined dramatically among Catholics.
Are we sinning less? Probably not…. but people no longer believe that what they are doing is sinful. They question whether they need to confess to a priest. Isn’t confessing to God directly, enough? Let’s see what Christ says.
On Easter Sunday he appeared to the Apostles and said, “Peace be with you. If you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven; if you retain (hold back) they are retained.” (John 20:22-23) Christ gave to the Apostles and their successors the power to forgive sin in his name.
Today, the sacrament of confession or penance is called Reconciliation.
Here are some thoughts from Fr. Martin Pable from his book Remaining Catholic. He reminds us that “the beauty of reconciliation is that it offers personal, verbal assurance that we have been forgiven by God.” Through this merciful sacrament we can review the quality of our spiritual lives and experience a true conversion of the heart drawing us closer to Jesus. Conversion won’t happen if we never ask ourselves “How am I growing (or not) in my spiritual life?”
Christ gave us this precious sacrament as a unique opportunity for self-honesty as a means of spiritual conversion. He wants to assure us that God is always ready to forgive us as seen in the story of the Prodigal Son. He also says “there is great joy in heaven whenever a sinner repents and returns to God.” (Luke 15)
Let’s all repent now!