I would like to know what people think about confession. I mean, honestly with all respect I don’t believe in confession with an actual preist. What is the purpose for it? Why not go to God Himself and confess our own sins rather than with all respect- go to a preist who commits sins and is a human full of mistakes like we are? Why should we?
When we go to confession the priest is simply asking as the tool through which forgiveness and absolution is given. Christ works through the priest to forgive sins. Only God can forgive sins. The reason we go to confession is because Christ gave authority to the apostles to absolve people of their sins. The authority of Christ was passed to the apostles who were the first bishops, to other bishops, and to priests. But remember, the priest is simply the instrument for forgiveness, Christ is the one forgiving sins. Lastly, Christ’s mercy is so great that it can work through sinful priests.
Honestly, after going to Confession last summer upon my re-entry into the Church I never felt better (and I felt incredibly stupid for ditching it all those times when I was in grade school:blush: ). I think its great that I can go to confession, and be absolved of my sins, absolutely, I mean the priest actually says you are absolved of all sins. Where as when I was away from the Church being a rebel if I confessed my sins directly to God, I didn’t get anything out of it. Plus I think there is definately something good about saying your sins out loud to somebody else. It really drives home that you sinned, and your sorry. (at least for me)
On a side note, my priest told me almost everybody confesses to somebody at some time or another, be it their pastor or a friend. So why not confess to a priest and be absolved.
A priest I know had this really beautiful way of describing it. He said that God’s forgiveness is like a gift, it’s there, just waiting for us. But receiving the sacrament of reconciliation is like tearing off the wrapping paper, so that you can fully experience the gift. (I’m not doing the analogy justice, but that was the general idea.)
It’s absolutely true. There were things in my life that I’m pretty sure I’d asked forgiveness for, but until I received the sacrament and heard him say “I absolve you of your sins” I never really got over the guilt. I’m kicking myself for staying away for so long. What an awesome experience!
Because that’s how Jesus wants us to do it. He wants us to hear the words of His forgiveness with our natural ears, so He acts through the priest in the Confessional.
When you go to confession, confess your sins, and your priest tells you that your sins have been forgiven you know for sure that they have been and you can let go of all of the guilt and just work on keeping as clean and pure as possible from that point forward. When you have something that has been weighing on you, the sacrament of reconcilliation is amazingly healing. It also helps me to avoid doing something that I am tempted to do, because I know I don’t want to have to go and say to my priest that it’s been X number of weeks and here I am commiting that same old sin. So, confession really does help me to avoid sin. Plus, I think it is pretty great that I don’t need to make an appointment, that there is a set time that I can go stand in a short line and get some great advice from someone as wise as my priest.
I dislike confession… to the MAX!
It was this past lent that I was waiting in line wondering too why I needed to go to confession… I didn’t want to… I was contemplating my sins, being contrite. I walked into the confessional and they had removed the screen so it was a face to face confession. :eek: I was this close --] to walking out, but the priest held my hand and shoulder to calm me down… To top it off it was our regular priest… I never go to confession with my “home” priest… Dang it! I hate confession… The worst part; I was confessing a mortal sin… not some little venial sin… aw geeze… talk about a humbling experience.
So there I was before a man confessing my sinful acts. The humiliation of it all… I never want to commit mortal sin again…
If I felt this way before a MAN, who sins just like me… HOW could I ever face my Lord. It is easy to ask our Lord for forgivness in the privacy of our mind, but it doesn’t hurt enough to make us stop . Guess what? I even confessed that I hated to confess. There I said it. " I hate confession." I’m gonna behave from now on…
Think of Confession as a spiritual checkup. You go to the doctor’s when there’s something major that’s wrong, an illness (flu or worse) or a major injury and need to get it treated. Same thing with Confession: must confess mortal sins (spiritual equivalent of major disease or injury).
There’s a reason Confession is considered a Sacrament of Healing. :yup:
I love this post, particularly your point about how much easier it is to ask for confession in the privacy of our minds, but how could we face our Lord wirh our sins?
Thank you for posting.
Your profile says you are Catholic yet your comments sound like a canned Protestant chant but I’ll answer your question anyway. Why do Catholics (and Orthodox) make use of a sacrament where God (and not a priest) absolves sin? Because God set it up that way:
John 20:21-23: Jesus said to them again, “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.” **
From the Gospel according to John, Chapter 20 19 11 12 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. 13 The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 14 (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 15 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. 23 16 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
The reason we go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation is because it is the means that Christ desires to use to restore us fully to unity with the Church and Himself. There is no such thing as a “private sin.” Since we are members of the Body of Christ, any sin we commit affects not only ourselves, but the rest of our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we seek absolution through one of our Lord’s ordained priests, we are not only restored to proper union with God, but also proper union with His Church.
I personally love this Sacrament, because it forces me to confront my sin, gives me the opportunity to express my sorrow, allows me to hear the words of absolution, and provides me with the strength to try to do better.
Jonah, beautiful response! I go to confession, regularly and found these words memorable, particularly the part I bolded. I hope you don’t mind that I use them when I get asked the confession question again.
Putting aside questions of authority and whether or not this is the method prescribed by Christ through the apostles, the simple answer is, because WE need it.
We are material beings with a supernatural purpose and I think the sacrament of reconciliation considers this.
Christ could certainly have healed the blind man with a word. Instead, He rubbed mud on his eyes and had him wash the mud away. I am sure He did not choose this method for His own sake but instead to help the faith of the blind man.
I think the sacrament of reconciliation has a similar intent.
To a degree, I suffer a bit from scrupulosity so maybe this is just me, but there is an important difference in the effectiveness of the “physical” encounter of receiving Christ’s forgiveness through His priest and attempts to seek that same forgiveness directly from God (even when it comes to venial sins).
Another practical matter is the feedback and counseling we frequently receive from our confessors. I may be completely blind to the underlying causes or even the presence of habitual sin; it helps tremendously to have another human being with whom we can share our sins without fear of personal judgment who can provide us with advice to help us grow continually closer to God.
With a few notable exceptions, human beings do not get specific definitive personal guidance from God. It is quite difficult to determine where exactly that little voice we hear inside ourselves is coming from. It very well may be the urging of the Holy Spirit, but we must always be aware that the little voice may very well be our own and we are simply hearing ourselves say we want to here. A confessor (and or spiritual director) can help you differentiate between the two.
LOL. Reminds me of an old poem:
I have a gentle eiderdown,
I am its proud possessor,
It is my very dearest friend
And favourite confessor.
For when I tell it all my sins,
It seeks no retribution
But lulls me in its silken folds
With downy absolution.
Confession is Our Lord’s own ordinary means of absolving us of our sins.
Confession is the proving ground of humility.
Confession gives the oppotrunity for wise counsel.
Confessing to a priest IS confessing directly to God (the opening words of the old formula were, "I confess to almighty God . . ."
What does the fact that the priest is a sinner have to do with ANYTHING?
I used to think the way you do.
I will explain what changed my mind and made it possible for me to seriously consider converting. Consider the verses that cited by other posters above. They make it clear Jesus gave the apostles the power to forgive sins. The apostles where imperfect human beings that sinned. Peter denied the Lord after he was arrested. Would Jesus give the apostles that power if he didn’t want them to use it? More importanty, would Jesus have given them that power if wasn’t necessary. He could after all, have told them to preach that people should confess their sins directly to God. And if it was necessary for the people of the era directly after Christ death, why should we asssume it isn’t necessary today.
The point I would like you to think about is this: if any sinful human ever could have the power to forgive sins, why is it such a big strectch to assume that the modern day church, which has been forgiving sins in the name of the Lord since his death, could have that power today?
When I understood this, it was as if the Lord himself lifted the veil from my eyes. Now that I think about, I believe he (or the Holy Spirit) did. Please give it some prayful thought. Read the scriptures and think about it. Ask the Lord to help you understand what these versus mean.
Wow. SOME testimony!
I believe it, too.
Bella, have you ever gone to confession? It’s one of the greatest gifts Christ left with His Bride, the Church!
Because when we go to confession, it is the most wonderful feeling in the world… literally you can FEEL the graces of the sacrament!!!
When I was a child, I was very much like those who hate confession… I avoided it at all costs. As I got older, I came to understand the graces and the blessings of this very misunderstood sacrament. But I have to say… I never experienced such miraculous healing as when I went to a Lenten Pennetential service and reconcilliation afterwards at the time I was going through a divorce. I don’t know how it happened, but a friend of mine called out of the blue and wanted to meet for dinner… well it happened to be the night after a court date about my divorce. I was worn out emotionally but I agreed to go. As I was sitting at dinner with my friend and my kids I mentioned the pennetential service as one more thing I was angry about…
My friend told me to go and she would watch my kids while I went. So I went. As I mentioned before… I was angry… actually, I don’t think angry is the word… enraged, that is a better word. About my ex walking out on me… about finding out that he put me in the position of adulterer by being married when we married… by him getting to be the Disney dad… leaving me with all the responsibility but none of the fun… anyway you get the picture.
I went… as I sat through the service… I have to say, I just got angrier and angrier… and I refused to cry about it! Then the priest said something that really stuck with me… he said that when we harbor bad feelings we push God out… and we are isolating ourselves from God’s love and making things worse.
Afterwards, I got in line for confession… a nun came up to me and asked how I was doing… I looked at her and said, not well. She asked… I just said I was so angry… she gave me a knowing smile and said… Your in the right place… I got angry at people in line for confession… I just knew I was going to explode from all the anger… then it was my turn… It started in the usual way… Bless me Father for I have sinned… and then I just looked at this priest and said… I am so… and before I even got the word out… peace came over me… I had been angry for over a year!!! So…by the time I left that evening, I wasn’t just feeling peace… I was happy for the first time in over a year!!! So I walked out to my car… waiting in the parking lot was the nun… I smiled and teared up and told her how happy I was and how it was all better… she looked at me and laughed… She said she knew I would feel better after confession… then I went to get my kids.
If that isn’t a miraculous healing, I don’t know what is! I can’t even describe the love and peace and happiness I felt that day… I now go pretty regularly and it feels sooo good!
Last time I went, I actually had my priest laughing and admitting he erred… it was too funny!!! but as usual… I walked on air as I left.
I used to feel exactly as you back in my Protestant days. However, confession is so cathartic. Another already explained how Christ gave the power of confession to his apostles to be passed down through the ages.
However, it is such a relief to unburdon myself AND get absolution. It is almost always an extremely emotional and draining experience. However, I leave with a high feeling from absolution and repentence. It’s not just about confessing. My priest always counsels me or encourages me. It actually becomes a discussion, whichh is so freeing. Now, I can’t imagine NOT going to confession.