“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.
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 not want 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!