Culturally, confession is everywhere.
It’s easy to spill our guts at hunt camp or confess our mistakes over social media behind the safety of a screen. Television shows that involve some sort of coming clean make for great ratings.
So why is it hard to enter a confessional to seek God’s forgiveness?
Perhaps it’s procrastination. Maybe it’s egoism. It could be fear. I’ve used all of those as excuses.
But consider why we confess. Even if it’s just the non-sacramental act of admitting our mistakes to family, friends and followers, confession “frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others. Through such an admission man looks squarely at the sins he is guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens himself again to God and to the communion of the Church in order to make a new future possible” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1455).
Reconciliation and penance are the foundations of the sacrament of confession.
As we read this month, confession is a sacrament of conversion because it repairs our relationship with God, just as the lost son repaired his relationship with his father (Luke 15). Confession saved Dwight Carter’s life (see page 16). God always forgives our sins with mercy and grace, even if we don’t understand why an act is sinful, as Father Christopher Martin explains on page 7. And while Jesus could have chosen anything to forgive sins, He chose the sacrament of confession, as Father Andrew Burkemper explores on page 8.
These are good reminders of the importance of confession and why the Church teaches that we should receive the sacrament at least annually and as often as we need it — anytime we are aware of having committed a mortal sin (CCC 1457).
Sins are best confessed at the screen in the confessional, not the screen of our computers. Sacramental confession should be common.