Saturday, November 25, 2017

About Confession

“Some should, all can, none must.”

Only don’t think of it as stepping into the closet and talking to the man behind the curtain. The Sacrament of Confession is an opportunity for you to not only bare your soul, but, more to the point, be reassured of God’s forgiveness.

According to the Catechism we are told:

Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion. It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin. It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction. It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a “confession” – acknowledgement and praise – of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man … It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to God.” He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: “Go; first be reconciled to your brother.”

So what happens?

If you are troubled by things in your past, you may need the reassurance of God’s desire to forgiver you. Here’s what you do. Make an appointment with the priest to talk.

You may also make arrangements for pastoral counseling … or for prayers of healing with our Healing Ministers. But each of these is a distinct and separate act. Healing Prayer Teams do not offer the Sacrament of Confession or provide pastoral counseling, and when you ask for pastoral counseling we do not automatically assume you wish prayers or Confession.

But for those times when you are troubled by sin and shame, you may ask the priest to hear your Confession. There are some prayers that you and the priest say together to get things started, and then you can have an opportunity to confess what you have done wrong and ask for a reassurance of God’s promise to forgive those who repent and return to him.

The priest may offer some guidance on what needs to happen as you are held accountable for what you have done. You may need to make reparations for your actions. The priest may also offer you some spiritual guidance on how to strengthen your desire not to sin again.

But if I have faith in Jesus then I don’t need to be forgiven by the priest …

You’re right. But then, some folk have such heavy sins and shame on their heart they may believe Jesus will never forgive them. There are those who also don’t want to come to Confession because, let’s face it, confessing out loud what you want to hide is very embarrassing. That’s kind of the point … And in any case, the priest does not forgive you for your sins, but only passes along the forgiveness of sins that God offers so freely.

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