Thursday, July 9, 2015
Catholic Confession and the Gift of Reconciliation
According to the Catholic Bible Dictionary, by Dr. Scott Hahn, "repentance" is "a conversion of heart away from sin and toward God". So, it would likewise follow that if we are not repenting, we are living in sin and our hearts are turned away from God. Even if you are a regular "confession-goer", is there one sin - or maybe more than one - that gnaws at you from the deepest part of your soul?
It could be something from your past that you've even justified in saying you really didn't know what you were doing at the time. But then why does it continue to gnaw at you like a hunger pain? Your soul hungers for God, as we came from Him so we will return to Him, so it is intuitive that when we become aware of our sins - past or present - our souls become unsettled. We cannot expect to grow further in Christ with a tremendous weight pulling us down and farther from Him. In other words, you may feel that you are not growing in your faith and it may be because of an unrepented past sin holding you back from moving forward. Christ does not want us to be stagnant Catholics. We are a living, breathing Church - the living, breathing body of Christ!
As Catholics, we are so fortunate to have at our disposal the gift of the sacrament of reconciliation. Jesus is in the confessional, and He hears our confession, and He knows our hearts. It is vitally important - as in vital to our eternal livelihood - that we visit Christ in the confessional and repent of our sins through the priest.
Christ charged his apostles with this when He told them in Matthew 18:18,
"Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven."
This is one of our seven sacraments - and a very underused one at that! And just why exactly is that??? I'll tell you why! It's not so easy to walk into a confessional with a priest you may know well and tell him something you've done that you are really ashamed of. It's just not easy! I will tell you that priests have heard it all! They are there to help you, not condemn you. The mercy of God is infinite and the priest is there to help you receive it - just as the apostles were. If you really would rather not visit your parish priest, remember that you probably have another Catholic church near you that you could visit. But go! Run! Don't walk!!!
You will not believe the unbelievably huge burden that will be lifted from your soul when you confess your sins. It is tough to get in your car, drive to the church, stand in line for confession, and think of your sins. That stinky old thing called "pride" tends to get in the way. Our pride is very strong - especially in this day and age of relativism. We tell ourselves that we're okay - everything's okay, everybody's okay, we're all okay! ... And nobody confesses their sins. It's archaic, right? Wrong! Nothing about Jesus is archaic for he is eternal, right?
Visit a confessional. You will thank God you did! Literally, you will walk out thanking God for his mercy. I usually leave a confessional like a dog leaves a bathtub - shaking off the last bit of dirt and then running and jumping for joy! That is how you will feel. Help yourself grow in your faith by shedding those past sins. They are only weighing you down. Don't let pride get the best of you. If you're still sitting on the fence, let me give you a visual. Remember where Satan ended up because of his pride? Yeah, I thought that visual would help. That's not a good option! Go on, find out when your local parishes offer the sacrament of reconciliation and go cleanse your soul!!!
God bless you all and your families and remember you can connect with me more readily through my Facebook page, "THE CATHOLIC LIFE"
Posted by Katherine