Our wonderful pastor has been reminding us to come to Confession now, before the rush of Holy Week, for the past five weeks of Lent. During the season of Lent, our parish offers Confession three times daily (before each Mass) as well as on the weekend, so there really are plenty of convenient opportunities to receive the sacrament. Today as he was again reminding us of these opportunities, he said “Please, come to Confession and receive the gift of God’s mercy and forgiveness. If it has been 2 months since your last Confession, please come. If it has been 6 months, please come. If it has been 30 years, please come.”
I began thinking about some of the people in my life who, for various reasons, have not been to Confession in a very long time. I began thinking about why this might be so, and what might encourage them to go back to receive the sacrament after so many years away. My guess would be that many have just fallen out of the habit of going to Confession for one reason or another, and are uncomfortable going back. They can’t remember exactly what they’re supposed to say upon entering the confessional, they only remember bits and pieces of the Act of Contrition, and they are worried that they will be judged for the time that has passed since their last confession.
That is why I am so happy that our pastor, at a recent meeting of our Catholic moms’ group, fielded several questions regarding the practicalities of Confession. He told us exactly what we should say when we enter the confessional (Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been _______ since my last Confession), that it is just fine to bring a copy of the Act of Contrition, and that there will be absolutely no judgement for the amount of time since the last Confession. He emphasized God’s joy when we come back to receive his sacrament of Reconciliation, and the grace that follows. He gave people hope that it is never too late to make a fresh start, and encouraged all of us to renew our commitment to regularly receiving the sacrament.
So today, I am brainstorming ideas on how to encourage some people in my life to come back to the beautiful sacrament of God’s love and forgiveness. For some loved ones, I am praying that someone in their life will offer the encouragement and information that they need. For others, I am asking for the wisdom to know if there is something that I can proactively do to help them make that first step. If you have any wisdom to share on this subject, please share it with all of us in the comments!
A blessed week to all of you! Mary, Hope of Sinners, pray for us!