What are some things that American adults are afraid of? Well, there’s an IRS audit; that’s scary. And most people cringe at the thought of going to the dentist. But for Catholics, high on the list of frightening things is going to Confession — or as it’s called now, the sacrament of Reconciliation. In fact, if given the choice between going to Confession or having a tooth drilled without any Novocain, most American Catholics would say, “Let’s get it over with, Doc,” and then open their mouths wide.
Other people offer this explanation: “Well, I can confess my sins directly to God in prayer. I don’t need that formalized ritual the Church invented.” The thing is, the Church didn’t invent Confession. The Lord Himself gave this wonderful grace-filled sacrament to the Church as a means for people to have their sins truly forgiven — and just as important, for them to KNOW their sins are truly forgiven.
Even modern psychology acknowledges there is something emotionally liberating about telling your failings out loud to another person. It really “gets it off your chest” when you speak it audibly to someone else. Many folks who ask God for forgiveness in prayer, without the benefit of the sacrament of Reconciliation, end up confessing the same old sin over and over again. In their hearts they really aren’t sure whether God has forgiven them. In comparison, people who take ten minutes to go to Confession walk out truly free. The grace they receive from the sacrament lets them KNOW that God has indeed forgiven their sins. What a relief!
If you give Confession a try, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And you won’t even need any Novocain.