This morning I took Madeline to Church because she needed to go to Confession. It is instructed that all First Communicants go to Confession before receiving their First Holy Communion - Madeline receives that in 6 days. When you go to Confession, Christ works through the priest to forgive you of your sins and you receive amazing grace from the Holy Spirit. Your soul is also cleansed which is the best state to be in before consuming Christ for the first time. This was her second time making the Sacrament of Reconciliation. She knew exactly what she wanted to confess, and did just fine talking with Father Kirby.
At the workshop I brought Madeline to a few weeks ago, Father Charlie encouraged the parents to go to Confession too before their child makes their First Communion. So I did, because I needed too - it has been way too long since the last time I went to Confession. And so I said to Father Kirby...
"Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been a really long time since my last confession..."
And then I burst into tears. I couldn't hold my emotions back. Thankfully Father Kirby had such calming, comforting and peaceful words to say to me. I felt an overwhelming sense of sorrow because I was a sinner, an overwhelming sense of gratitude because I felt the Holy Spirit pour His graces upon me, and an overwhelming sense of joy because I knew my Savior is the reason my sins are forgiven. I also felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders as I was able to confess sins that have been weighing heavy on my mind and heart. I truly believe that is why Christ instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation for us.
In John 20:21-23, we find Jesus saying the following to his apostles: "'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.' And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.'"
The Apostles handed down this authority to their successors, so everyone could receive this Sacrament, this gift, through the ages. It is easy to understand why someone might not want to go to Confession. While we don't mind admitting that we are not perfect, we often have a problem admitting to specific faults. Admitting them to our priest is even less desirable. But we need not fear, for he is also a sinner. Let us remember also, that God is there to help us. As the scripture says, He gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). We seem to have a natural need to confess. Quite often we will discuss our misdeeds with a friend. Why not discuss them with a priest, as Jesus commanded, and receive forgiveness as well as consolation?