Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin, all hope consists in confession; in confession there is a chance for mercy. – St. Isidore of Seville
The sacrament of Confession brings freedom and forgiveness. It is a place we can get a fresh start, no matter how often we fall back down. And in some cases, it can change your life forever.
That was the case for a listener who called in to The Inner Life® recently. The day’s topic, with spiritual director Fr. Ed Broom, was the freedom found in Confession, and a listener named Terry called in with her story.
She explained, “I was born into a Catholic family, did all the right things. I graduated from school and fell away from the Church. By 21 I got involved very deeply into drugs, and at 33 I was suicidal. I was very suicidal because of the drugs – I couldn’t live with it and couldn’t live without it.”
What Terry didn’t know was that her mom had been praying for her, and having others pray for her for years. Then one day, to appease her mother, she went to her first Confession in 20 years. She made an appointment with a priest and went to the church that day, not knowing that it would completely change her life.
“I wasn’t going to confess my drug use, or the lifestyle that came along with the drugs,” she admitted. “I was just going to say I smoke, I swear, I talk back to my mom, that kind of stuff.”
Then the priest asked her a simple question: what was her relationship like with her father? Terry then realized, “The drugs stemmed from him. There was a background of domestic violence in my family, a lot of anger, a lot of hate, a lot of resentment that I built up. And when the priest asked me that I remember I broke down. I literally broke down and started confessing everything.”
“I couldn’t confess it all because I couldn’t remember it all, but the main things I confessed. And I was never so free in my life. After I left that church I came home, I remember falling on my knees, and it changed my life.”
Terry thought that a confession like hers would have a pretty intense penance attached. But just as the priest knew just the right question to ask, he also gave her just the right penance.
“For my penance I was expecting 1,000 Hail Marys or 1,000 Our Fathers,” she said. “He said to come to church that Sunday. I said, ‘OK, I can do that.’ And I’ve been going ever since. That was when I was 33 years old, and I’m well in my 50s now.”
Terry said that the years since that Confession have been a time of immense freedom and peace. She said, “Every year I’ve learned something about my faith, about God’s love, about how I can share with people. I’ve brought people back to the Church through my testimony. So I’m a big advocate of Reconciliation. It’s kept me straight, no matter what is happening in my life. I can go to Confession, go to my God, feel his love, and know it’s going to be OK. I’m going to be OK.”
Listen to the full conversation below: