John 20:21-23, “As the Father sent me, even so I send you…. Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
When my wife suggested I go to Confession this past Saturday, I admit that I did not want to go. My mind kept making excuses:
- I’m not ready to confess my sins, yet.
- My sins are venial, not mortal. (Not quite true. Although not mortal, my sins were “grave” and required the Sacrament to reveal the light within me, to make my body worthy of the Holy Spirit’s residence.)
- I already confessed to God in my prayers; I don’t need to confess to a priest.
- I’m embarassed to confess to Father John. (I ended up confessing behind the screen to the new priest.)
- It’s only been two months since my last confession (It was actually five months.)
- When I briefly got lost going to Church, the thought of driving around and around until the time for confession was over crossed my mind.
I did a brief search and found a great article on Catholic Answers on Confession. I reposted a portion of it on another blog entry. It helped me think about the importance of this Sacrament, again.
When I read Scott Hahn’s “Lord, Have Mercy” a couple years ago, I remember being deeply impressed by the power of confession. Angels would find my soul indistinguishable from that of a newborn baby. It is a seldom-used weapon against Satan and his demons. I need to re-read the book, but I remember telling myself to go to Confession often if I want to stay on the road to Heaven. The devil can’t actually walk on this road, but he can throw dirt and mud on the souls who are on the path. After sin, my soul will be covered in this dirt and mud. I would feel ashamed to continue on this road to Heaven and be tempted to take another path, or stop walking altogether. Confession pours holy water onto my soul, washing away the dirt and filth. It makes my soul feel clean. I may still feel guilt, but I’m no longer ashamed to walk on the road, again.
In the end, I ignored the rationalizations of my mind. By force of will and the grace of God, I made it to Church. I stood in line for 30 minutes before my turn in the confessional. When I received the absolution, I envisioned my soul being wiped clean. I felt like how I felt before after Confession: a lightness of being and gratitude.