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Confession: A Sacrament of Healing

Comfession400One of the most critical things I did while I was discerning my call to the priesthood as a senior in high school was beginning to go to the sacrament of Reconciliation more frequently. I grew up going to Confession every Advent and Lent at Christ the King and Paul VI, and I’m not sure when I realized I could (and should) go more frequently. Eventually after a few years in the seminary I’ve developed a good routine of going to Confession on a regular schedule. Personally, I would recommend that someone discerning should go at least every month. Why? Think about it: the sacrament grants not only the forgiveness of sins but also the gift of grace to heal our sinfulness along with peace of mind.

One of the hardest parts of Confession can being the nervousness comes before. I find that being nervous before something makes me realize how important it is; it assures me that going to Confession is a serious and important part of the spiritual life. Also, another temptation can be that you are nervous or afraid to go to a priest you know well because they will judge you. Rest assured that a priest can never reveal your sins because of the seal of confession. Plus, the priest has already heard your sins before! Sins are boring and uninteresting.

I have a few tips too when it comes to Confession.

  • First, find a priest you trust and go to Confession frequently with him. There can be a temptation to go to one priest often but then if you are ashamed of a serious sin, to go to another. Resist this because again, the priest is on your team and the sacraments they administer are made for us to become saints!
  • Second, be creative when it comes to going to Confession! I’ll confess: I’m impatient and do not like to wait in the Confession line. I instead like to either ask a priest after a weekday Mass or I’ll call a parish to see if there are priests in the parish office and drive over.
  • Third, schedule your Confessions. Put them into your calendar in your phone or wherever you keep important things. Decide how often you want to go and then stick to your plan.
  • Finally, include an examination of conscience into your prayer life. It is usually best to make it at the end of the day where you can go through the day and see the ways God has blessed your life and the ways you have sinned, going against God’s will. Then, make a resolution that you will focus on the next day.
Peter Gallagher

Peter Gallagher

3rd Theology
Peter Gallagher attends The Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy.
Peter Gallagher

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