Sacrament of Penance… who needs it?? I do! I do!

I came home to the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil 2002. I was not engaged to a Catholic man, but I was dating one but marriage was not really on the radar. I was a senior in college and planning on Grad School so marriage was a thought but not the goal. I mention that because when I talk about my conversion, usually people assume that I converted for marriage or some “other” reason. Yup, there was another reason… God called me home.
I first became interested in the Church when I was in high school. I was raised Baptist and regularity attended Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee, WI as a child. That is where the seeds were first planted and cultivated. In high school, 2 of my best friends were of other faiths: Lutheran and Catholic. I attended service with each of them, but the Catholic Church really spoke to me (Sorry, Laura!)
For me, and perhaps for others, the only “difficult” part of Catholicism is the Sacrament of Penance and the thing is that is really is not that difficult at all. Earlier, I wrote about the effect of Pride on our lives and the fear and trepidation that the thought of Confessing your Sins brings stems from the sin of Pride. We don’t want others to know that we are not *gasp* perfect and that we make mistakes and we surely don’t want that man in the Roman Collar to know!
Many non-Catholics (and some Catholics) question the validity of confession ones’ sins to a priest, after all, God is all seeing and all knowing so why can’t I just send up a prayer saying “Oops! My bad!” right to Our Heavenly Father Himself? Well, here are some things from The Catholicism Answer Book to consider:

  • When confessing to a priest, you are not talking to Father Insert-Name-Here, rather you are talking to Christ HIMSELF! A priest acts In Persona Christi and Jesus, through the sacramental ministry of the priesthood absolves us of our sins. (And if you are really shy about your sins, the screen is still there!)
  • The Sacrament of Penance is first and foremost a sacrament, an encounter with divinity and one of the ways that God communicates His grace to us.
  • By verbally confessing your sins to another living, breathing, tangible person, we are given the chance to practice the virtue of humility which counteracts the sin of Pride. Is it embarrassing sometimes to confess our misgivings and mistakes and the low points of our lives? Yes! But any sin in incredibly offensive to God, Our Father, and if you are a parent, you can especially understand the value of your children telling you the truth.
  • The Sacrament of Penance is also known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sin separates us from God, it makes us unfit for the glory of Heaven; Confession clears your soul and you once again wear the white garment that you wore on the day of your Baptism.

Confession is not bad, in fact it’s good… no, it’s GREAT! Confession gives you the chance to get those demons off of your chest, the ones that nip at your heels day in and day out; the ones that sit on your shoulder and tell you that you are a bad person and that no one will ever respect you if you tell; it takes the power that Satan has over you away and restores the purity of your soul.

Given all of the benefits, one has to ask… who WOULDN’T want to go to Confession?


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Filed under sacraments, tradition

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