“Confession is relaxing and reassuring – give it a try
For me it’s a restoration of my relationship with God. When I come out of Confession I feel like I’ve actually had a thorough spring clean. I’ve been looking at the chambers of my heart and have been thinking, is there anything that needs to be cleaned out? That’s how I feel when I come from Confession.
TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING
Right through the day after Confession, usually I keep checking myself in trying to do the right thing. I ask myself if Jesus is still happy to be in the chamber of my heart and is it still clean? I become very conscious of the way I talk and the way I deal with people. So, for me, it’s always a source of renewal that assures me that God is Love. I can almost hear the echo of the priest’s words in my ear – some of the things he’s asked me to do – and I’m reminded to continue doing them throughout the day.
‘A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH’
If I was to compare the way I felt before and after I go to Confession, it’s like coming back from the doctor’s with a clean bill of health. You feel good, you know that you’re fine, you know there is nothing to worry about, and you’re very careful to do the right thing so that you don’t have to go to the doctor’s again. But with Confession you’ll always have to keep going.
VERY RELAXING AND REASSURING
If anyone feels nervous about going to Confession I’d say that the feeling you get after is worth a try. It puts you on the path to just keep going because the thing about our faith is that you just keep on for as long as you live. There will be challenges, so just keep going and keep encouraging yourself and others to do it…
I CANNOT SAY: ‘I FORGIVE MY SINS’
[The following quote by Pope Francis]: ‘… Forgiveness of our sins is not something we can give ourselves. I cannot say: ‘I forgive my sins’. Forgiveness is asked for, is asked of another, and in Confession we ask for forgiveness from Jesus. Forgiveness is not the fruit of our own efforts but rather a gift, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit who fills us with the wellspring of mercy and of grace that flows unceasingly from the open heart of the Crucified and Risen Christ.
TRULY BE AT PEACE
Secondly, it reminds us that we can truly be at peace only if we allow ourselves to be reconciled, in the Lord Jesus, with the Father and with the brethren. And we have all felt this in our hearts, when we have gone to Confession with a soul weighed down and with a little sadness; and when we receive Jesus’ forgiveness we feel at peace, with that peace of soul which is so beautiful, and which only Jesus can give, only him.’ (19th February 2014, Wednesday Audience).
[From Bishop Conry’s Pastoral Letter]: ‘You don’t have to remember any formula of words, or how many times you have done something wrong. The priest will help you. The Pope reminds us that the priest himself, bishops and even the Pope need to celebrate this sacrament. So if you haven’t ‘been to confession’ for some time and want to discover it again, this Lent might be a good time to do it… I hope that Lent is a fruitful season for you, that you experience change not only in the weather and the lengthening of days, but also in the light in your heart and the warmth of your inner self, and come to Easter with a real sense of re-discovered joy in the Lord.'”
– The above are excerpts of an article by Clare Ward published in the feature “Lenten Reflections” in “The Catholic Universe” issue Sunday 23rd March, 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.thecatholicuniverse.com (external link).