Reconciliation – Sacraments
Why must I go to Confession?
So often people ask the ever famous question. “do I really need to go to a priest to have my sins forgiven?” and “Why can’t I simply go straight to God?” Here are a number of good reasons I have come to appreciate over the many years I have been participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation both as a one to hears confessions (confessor) and as one who goes to confession (penitent).
No sin is personal
It is very important to realize that no matter how personal and secretive our sins might me, they always have an effect on someone else. Just consider something as simple as a jealous thought toward our neighbor. As secretive as that might be, if we are honest, at some level while those thoughts and emotions are being felt we probably are treating the person we are feeling jealous toward differently. Therefore as sin has a communal dimension, weakening the common good, so too reconciliation have a communal dimension to strengthen the common good.
To take sin seriously
It is often easy to justify our sins as being trivial. We can so easy rationalize what we do or not do. To celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation means that we remember that our sins or not something trivial or incidental but are serious with serious consequences. To go to confession is to take seriously the presents of sin in our lives that must be addressed and dealt with. There can be no simply ‘sweeping our sins under the rug’ as if they are really nothing.
To hear the words of forgiveness
Often people carry great sin and quilt around with them for many years. It is amazing how that which we carry for no matter how long can truly have a long term unconscious effect in our lives. To hear the words, “Your sins are forgive, go in peace” can be the most freeing gift that ultimately ends the power of sin and quilt, allowing us to move on, assured of God’s forgiveness and healing.
To get it all out
A part of any healing process often includes naming that which is our struggle. Amazingly, when this is done that which we struggle with somehow no longer has as much power over us anymore. More often than not, when people leave the Sacrament of Reconciliation they comment how free they feel and declare, “I am sure relieved to get that off my chest!” There is no doubt to the fact that the devil loves secrets, and the sooner we can ‘come clean’ and reveal that which is holding on to us, the sooner we can be set free to live again.
Grace is an ‘incarnational’ experience
The great gift of God’s Son Jesus is that his presence among us makes God tangible. We do not have to wonder around looking up at the sky trying to figure out the things of God. Each of the Sacraments celebrated with words, gestures and symbols relate something concrete and knowable about God.
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation we experience God’s forgiveness in a tangible, knowable and incarnational way. Until we get to heaven and meet Jesus in person, the Sacramental life of the Church makes real the very gift of God’s healing presence thereby enabling us know his love and forgiveness from within our own experience.
“The sacrament of reconciliation is good for the soul.”
click: Individual Confession