6. Pray Before You Go to Confession – As you’re waiting in line ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind any sins from the past that should be forgiven. It’s amazing how the Lord will open up your memory and bring things you had forgotten to the surface in order for them to be forgiven.
7. Confession Brings Healing of the Memories – Have bad things happened to you in the past? Do you have wounds and hurts caused by others? You can’t confess the sins of other people, but you can confess your own reaction to those things and ask for healing. If someone has injured you and sinned against you, you can ask to be forgiven for not forgiving them. You can confess your negative reactions to what has happened and as you do you will be set free from those hurts and painful memories.
8. Confession is Healthy – In my experience as a Catholic priest I have found that, generally speaking, Catholics are far less in need of counseling, have fewer mental and emotional health issues than others. I think this is because confession helps them take responsibility for bad things that have happened. Confession brings the healing of Jesus Christ into our lives in a most natural and healthy way. Problems that might develop are prevented and the side effects of serious sins are avoided.
9. Confession Affirms that you live in a moral universe – In a society where anything goes, where relativism reigns supreme and people follow “their truth”, confession and a good examination of conscience reminds us that we live in a world created by God with clear guidelines for behavior which lead to health, wholeness and a strong and vibrant spiritual life. Confession helps us get our lives and minds organized around those principles.
10. Confession is Where You “Accept Jesus into your heart” – Evangelical Christians are very intent on having “a personal relationship with Jesus Christ” and wonder why more Catholics don’t have this. I wonder too! In fact, in confession is where we establish, refresh and maintain that “personal relationship with Jesus.” The other sacraments are more congregational, formal and ritualistic. In confession it is a one on one with Jesus. In Evangelical meetings they call on people to “come forward and pray the sinner’s prayer”. This is where the person confesses their sins and accepts the forgiveness of Jesus.
For Catholics this happens in confession. Think about it. The same basic transaction takes place, but we have the advantage that the “prayer counselor” is a trained, qualified and validly ordained priest. Not only that he has the apostolic authority to absolve us of our sins.
If an Evangelical ever asks you “have you been saved?” or “have you accepted Jesus?” you should be able to say, “Absolutely. I have repented of my sins and accepted the forgiveness of Jesus Christ personally. Furthermore, I have been forgiven of my sins by one of his personally appointed and empowered representatives on earth.”
Then you can ask your friend, “Can you say the same?”