The Sacrament of Reconciliation can be a powerful experience. But too often, we have different reasons that keep us from Confession. Maybe you go regularly but you don’t feel the grace from it anymore, maybe you get nervous and can never muster up the courage to walk into the confessional, or maybe it’s been decades since you’ve darkened the door of a church and you’re worried the priest is going to be angry with you.
If any of these sound familiar, you’re not alone. But recently on Morning Air®, listeners shared their stories of Confession with Morning Air hosts John Harper, Glen Lewerenz, and guest Fr. James Kubicki.
Starting off with his own story, John Harper shared his experience of how Relevant Radio® transformed his experience of Confession, even before he was the host of Morning Air. He said:
I would always go to Confession, but I was having difficulty seeing the graces coming out of that. And I’d go to the same confessor and he would give me the same advice. He would say you have to stop and listen for the grace.
And then guess where I heard it? On Relevant Radio. It was on the Go Ask Your Father™ program with Msgr. Stuart Swetland. Someone asked a question and it all connected. And it was like a rebirth, when you just connect the dots through the Holy Spirit, and it made the Sacrament of Reconciliation much more magnetic for me. What the Holy Spirit did for me through that phone call to Go Ask Your Father allowed me to do a deeper examination of conscience. So I thank the Holy Spirit for that, and Relevant Radio.
As the person who is often on the other side of the confessional, Fr. Kubicki shared the experiences that are most powerful for him, saying:
For me what comes to mind is just the experience of being on the other side of the screen. Being a priest who can be an instrument of God’s mercy. And some of the most profound experiences I’ve had have been where somebody has come in saying, ‘Father, I’ve never said this to anyone, I’ve been too embarrassed to confess this, I’ve held this back all these years.’ Or ‘I’ve been away for 40 years, and I’m not sure how to do this. How do I go to Confession? I don’t think I can remember.’
And to help that person unburden the load, to get rid of the things that have been weighing on their conscience, that they feel so ashamed of. For that person to go away relieved and at peace, knowing they have been forgiven, that for me is a great experience of being a priest.
Maybe you’re someone who thinks that you don’t have any serious sins to confess, so you’re good. But Bob in Chicago shared his experience and offered another perspective on whether or not you should bring small sins to Confession. He said:
I filled like three or four notebook pages of everything I ever did wrong. And I went to Confession and told the priest, ‘I know you’re here as Jesus to forgive my sins. And I think Jesus died not just for some of my sins but for all of my sins. And I’m going to start naming them now.’ And I was in there for about 15 or 20 minutes. And the priest was kind of blown away. Why take a shower and just wash your arm or your leg? Wash your whole body. Just ask for all of His forgiveness. It worked for me.
If you get nervous about going to Confession and put it off, take the advice of Chris in New Jersey, who has made it a habit of going to Confession every month. Even though he gets nervous, he said it’s always worth it. Chris said:
I try to do the First Saturday devotion. It gives me a discipline to get to Confession every month. And, you know, every month I get filled with fear, trepidation, that kind of thing. But it’s come to a point where it’s like almost every confession is transformative. It’s the experience of God’s grace, His mercy, and His love. Just to confess that I’m a sinner and I’ve failed and I haven’t loved my wife and my children as I should have. It’s just a great gift to be able to do that as a discipline, doing the First Saturday devotions.
Many Catholics have been away from Confession, or away from the Church, for many years. Often a barrier to going to Confession after so long is fear that they will be reprimanded or yelled at. That was the case for Karen in Rhode Island who shared her experience of Confession after many years. She said:
I was away for many years, under the misunderstanding that in the beginning of Mass the priest cleanses you of your sins. But when I came back after many years, during the Lenten mission, I had a friend who encouraged me to go and all the priest said was, ‘Welcome home.’ And it was a wonderful feeling. I left the confessional and I don’t think I was even walking on the ground, I was floating.
I had been so fearful that every year it got worse. I got nervous and thought, you know, it’s been a long time and he’s gonna be so upset, he’s gonna yell, he’s gonna be difficult and make it worse to go. But all he said was, ‘Welcome home.’ And it was just marvelous.
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