Reasons to Go to Confession

“If there is a heavenly idea in the Catholic Church, surely, next after the Blessed Sacrament, Confession is such.”  -Blessed John Henry Newman

Confession is one of my favorite sacraments, and I try to go as often as I can. But this wasn’t always the case. I am a convert, and I still remember the awkwardness of my first confession. I dreaded it for weeks, about as much as you would if you had to tell your parents you totaled their brand new car.

St. John Bosco hearing confessions

The worst part was, the good priest who confirmed me insisted that I confess face to face. There would be no semi-anonymous screens or soundproof rooms. I wasn’t going to get the easy way out.

Frankly, it was humiliating, and I remember staring at the floor most of the time. But after the humiliation came the best part—hearing the words of absolution. It was incredibly powerful, and it made God’s mercy concrete and real in an new way.

As a protestant, I never really knew if I was forgiven. Had I been really sorry enough? Had I prayed long enough and hard enough? Of course, I was told just to believe and have faith that I was, but being the scrupulous sort (I still struggle with this), I would find myself questioning my motives and my own sincerity. More often than not, I would repeat the same prayers for forgiveness over and over, just for good measure.

Then there was the guilt of keeping my sins secret from the world. I could act holy and righteous, but no one really knew who I was below the surface. I felt like a hypocrite, laden with secret sins.

The sacrament of penance changes all that. I can’t keep my sins secret, at least not for very long. And I don’t have to doubt if I am forgiven, I can concretely hear that I am, as many times as I need to.

3 REASONS TO GO TO CONFESSION

Many men are embarrassed or afraid to go to confession. They avoid it as long as possible, and make excuses for not going. If that’s you, here are three reasons you should go to confession as soon as possible.

1. A new beginning – No matter what you’ve done (think of the worst thing you could possibly do), you can find mercy and healing in the sacrament of penance. When you walk out of the confessional, you are as sin free as you will ever be. Why would you notwant that gift?

Even if you haven’t committed any serious sins, going to confession is like  taking a bath. While they don’t kill us spiritually, venial sins wound our soul and make it dirty, so to speak. Don’t let your soul become smelly and dusty with venial sins. Go to confession.

2. Concrete forgiveness – Our Lord does not keep us guessing about whether or not we are forgiven. When the priest utters the words of absolution, your soul is instantly and completely healed. Sacramentally, Jesus is present in the confessional in the person of the priest. If he were here on earth, wouldn’t you ask him for forgiveness? If you want to experience the Divine Mercy in a real way, confession is the way to do it.

3. You receive graces – There is a mistaken notion that confession is just getting rid of our sins. But that’s not true. We not only have our sins taken away and cast into the bottom of the sea, we also receive graces from Christ that we desperately need to live a holy life. The more you go to confession, the more graces you receive.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Men, please go to confession. While you may not always feel like it, this sacrament is a great gift. Don’t let fear, guilt, or embarrassment dissuade you.

Jesus is waiting in the confessional for you, and his heart longs to grant you his mercy in abundance. What are you waiting for? Go to confession!

By

Sam Guzman is an author and editor of The Catholic Gentleman whose work has appeared in several publications. He resides in Wisconsin with his wife and two small boys where he is also the Communications Director for Pro-Life Wisconsin.

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  • Great Lakes Mulcahy

    Good article! Here’s my list of the ten best reasons not to go to Confession:

    THE TEN BEST REASONS NOT TO GO TO CONFESSION

    1. YOU
    WISH THAT CONFESSION WASN’T AVAILABLE SO CLOSE BY AT THE CHURCH JUST UP
    THE STREET, AS YOU WOULD RATHER BE REQUIRED TO TAKE AN EXOTIC
    PILGRIMAGE TO A DANGEROUS FOREIGN LAND IN ORDER TO HAVE YOUR SINS
    FORGIVEN.

    2.
    YOU BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE SHOULD BE CHARGED TO GO TO CONFESSION, AND THE
    CURRENT PRICE OF ZERO DOLLARS TO GO TO CONFESSION IS NOT FAIR TO THE
    CHURCH.

    3.
    YOU BELIEVE THAT IT IS UNJUST AND TOO GENEROUS ON GOD’S PART TO LET
    PEOPLE GO TO CONFESSION AS MANY TIMES AS THEY WANT, AND YOU BELIEVE THAT
    CONFESSION SHOULD BE LIMITED TO ONCE A DECADE.

    4.
    YOU BELIEVE THE VERSE WHERE JESUS GAVE HIS PRIESTS POWER TO FORGIVE
    SINS, JOHN 20:23, IS A MEDIEVAL FORGERY OF A WAYWARD BISHOP.

    5. YOU BELIEVE THAT CONFESSION SHOULD TAKE LONGER THAN JUST A FEW MINUTES (YOUR SUGGESTION IS TWO HOURS).

    6.
    YOU BELIEVE THAT CONFESSION SHOULD NOT BE AVAILABLE AT EVERY CHURCH IN
    THE DIOCESE BECAUSE THEN IT BECOMES COMMON AND UNEXCEPTIONAL.

    7. YOU
    DON’T BELIEVE WE SHOULD CONFESS OUR SINS TO ANOTHER PERSON, AND YOUR
    PROOF TEXT FOR THIS BELIEF IS JAMES 5:16 WHICH SAYS “CONFESS YOUR SINS
    TO ONE ANOTHER.”

    8. YOU BELIEVE THE PENANCES GIVEN OUT BY PRIESTS ARE EXTRAORDINARILY LIGHT, AND YOU WOULD MUCH PREFER MANLY MORTIFICATIONS OF
    A SOMEWHAT IMPRESSIVE NATURE.

    9.
    YOU BELIEVE THE CONFIDENTIAL SEAL OF THE CONFESSIONAL MAKES YOUR SINS
    TOO SECRETIVE, AND YOU WOULD PREFER EVERYONE TO KNOW ALL YOUR SINS.

    10. YOU WOULD PREFER NOT TO HAVE ALL YOUR SINS FORGIVEN AND YOUR SLATE WIPED CLEAN.

    Tom

    Note:
    The basis for this note come from Father Faber, who suggests with irony
    that perhaps people would be more interested in confession if the Pope
    made the sacrament more difficult to obtain as in having to travel to a
    foreign land after first completing extraordinary penances.

  • Mike

    I go to confession weekly. One thing I have noticed with weekly confession is that I’m keenly aware of my venial sins and the virtues I need to improve upon. Going more often, I can see patterns in my life with regard to my sinfullness. I can also easily discern the grace and peacefullness between going and skipping confession. Yes there are times that it’s very awkward and difficult to confess some of the more embarrassing sins and especially the same sins I seem to commit week after week but it’s worth it to regain that inner peace and knowing that your soul has been purified. I’ve never felt judged or made to feel ashamed by any priest I’ve confessed to and I usually do all my confessions face-to-face. I can’t imagine not being able to take advantage of this beautiful sacrament.

  • El_Tigre_Loco

    I have been searching for a good, simple examination of conscience. Sam, maybe you could publish one for us. The last time I went to confession, a few months ago, I couldn’t think of anything to confess and we know that isn’t possible. LOL

  • Roland

    I understand and get confession, but why is it so hard to change

  • Vivian Ward

    It takes only one critically bad negative thought to get myself to that confessional. With that said, I should go daily, because I am human, but it isn’t always available, so, I go as soon as I am able. A clear conscience makes for a happy and holy life and if I don’t like me prior to confession, imagine how God sees me at the time of my dirty soul? It shudders me to think what it would be like if I ever chose to stand in line at Communion to receive Him unworthily not completed dressed in my Sunday best and soiled from stains of sin!

  • Teresa

    I’ve only been Catholic for about 5 years and confession was one of the areas I struggled with when I first became Catholic. I couldn’t understand why I needed to confess in front of priest and why I couldn’t simple talk to God in the privacy of my own home. It took me years to appreciate and understand the role of confession in my life. I would love an article that goes through the history and tradition of confession.

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