The sacrament of reconciliation is a beautiful healing sacrament, serving as a gift from Christ, the True Healer, Physician, and Prince of Peace, to bring us back into harmony with God, nature, and our brothers and sisters. Despite the great feeling of peace we experience following successful reception of this sacrament, there are 2 things that many Catholics really don’t like about this sacrament.
The first is a profound fear many people have confessing their sins. Even though we know this sacrament is given by God to allow His healing through the priest (“In Persona Christi,”) we all have a fear of facing our faults and naming them before another. I have found that regular (frequent) confession can lessen the fear. God already knows our sins, but true healing comes about when we verbalize our sins to another and seek sincere conversion of heart. No one likes to admit his faults and ask for forgiveness, but this small cross we bear is nothing in comparison with God’s love. He will forgive ALL of your sins, no matter how bad. Satan wants you to fear God, question His love, and believe you are unworthy of forgiveness. Don’t believe him, and don’t let him keep you from a closer relationship with your ever-loving Father and Healer!
The second thing most Catholics don’t like about reconciliation is confessing the same sins over and over. This is a universal issue, as most of us never seem to “get it right” with God. But here’s a bit of reflection I would suggest-first, do you really want any new sins?! Don’t you have enough to deal with as it is? Second, Satan knows where you are weak, and he tempts you repeatedly in the same areas, causing you to fall and planting doubt that you’ll ever make amends. He tempts you in areas unique to your weakness, but tempts me in different areas where it’s easy for me to fall.
Don’t be discouraged as that is another one of the tricks of the evil one. Yes we need to work on our areas of weakness so as to not continue to fall in these areas. But perfection takes a lifetime, and asking God for healing in our weak areas will strengthen us, allowing us to catch ourselves before we fall. Regular reception of the sacraments, especially communion, is critical defensive medicine. So take heart and know that your fellow Catholics all share these 2 things that we don’t like, but with God’s healing grace our little baby steps of improvement will pay off as we journey towards our ultimate goal expressed so lovingly by Jesus, “Go and sin no more.”