I once had a dream that I was inside a Church filled with so many people. Suddenly, the people were urged to fall in line as we were about to confess to a priest. The problem was that there was only one priest who needed to hear the confessions of so many people!
We may not realize now the value of Confession, but one day, we may regret that we have not gone more often when we could. What if one day, we wanted to go and we find no priest to hear us?
Here are just some of the blessings we receive through the Sacrament of Reconciliation:
1. The actual grace of forgiveness promised us
Whenever we go to Confession, we can be assured that there is an actual grace of forgiveness that we could receive there.
This is the promise of the Church based on the authority given by Jesus Christ Himself.
“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 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 them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’” – John 20:21-23 (NRSVCE)
2. Forgiveness of mortal sins even without perfect contrition
Outside the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we can only receive complete forgiveness for our mortal sins if we have perfect contrition.
What is perfect contrition? This is true sorrow for our sins out of pure love for God, not only because we fear hell or we’re ashamed of the wrong things we have done.
3. Peace of mind and assurance for God’s forgiveness
While we can talk to God anywhere and ask Him for forgiveness, it is a great blessing to be assured of His promise through Confession.
4. Preparation for the hour of death
Whenever I go to Confession, I feel as though I were already preparing for that day when I shall face God’s judgment for my life.
Going to Confession gives us a chance to prepare for the hour of our death.
5. Strength to avoid sin
This is one of the lesser known blessings of going to Confession. Whenever we confess our sins to a priest, we are also given grace so that we could avoid further sins.
6. The comfort of hearing you are forgiven
One of the great blessings of confessing to a priest is that of hearing you are forgiven!
How many times have we prayed only to doubt later on whether we have been forgiven or not? Inside the Confessional, we could actually hear those comforting words. That we are forgiven.
God knows what we need as human beings. We only need to believe that He is there with us, and the One who is forgiving us. The person of the priest is but a veil, an instrument He chose so we could approach Him.
7. The presence of another person you can confide in
How many times have you felt better after confiding your problems to a trusted friend?
Confession to a priest is similar to that. It is being able to confide to another person who could listen to you and understand what you’ve been through.
And not only that. It is knowing God Himself is there, in the midst of you both.
All of these things I have listed above does not mean that I never encountered any problems when confessing to a priest. Because I did! And there was even a time when I thought I couldn’t go to Confession anymore.
But God is Merciful. And He has helped me to overcome what I have been through so that I may continue to receive the many blessings that could be found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Jocelyn Soriano is the author of the book Defending My Catholic Faith.
“Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” – 1 Peter 3:15 (NABRE)
You may also want to read “Can AIs Like ChatGPT Pose a Threat to the Catholic Faith?”