As we live out this time of Advent and approach Christmas, we want to prepare ourselves and our family, friends, neighbors, and all of Chicago, for the coming of the child Jesus. The best way to be prepared for this great event is the way God prepared Mary: he freed her from all sin at her Immaculate Conception; He frees us of sin through the sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance. Let’s make a good Confession and help others do the same.
How can we do this? Ask your friend or family member: What are you especially thankful for? Of course, be prepared for any answer, but many will say, “I am thankful for my family.” For others, it will be for their spouse or their health, for the job they have, or for their friends. Likely they will ask you: And what are you thankful for? You can reply, “For receiving God’s forgiveness in Confession!”
Certainly, that will surprise them… or at least it should. Again, they may ask you, “Why are you so grateful for going to Confession? It is such a chore for me.” Of course, make the answer to them your own.
I am grateful for Confession… because it makes me feel truly loved. I am not loved for doing everything right, as I have messed up big time and still God loves me! He loves me despite my mistakes. I don’t have to earn his love because he loves me just as I am. This spurs me on to want to make him proud, so I promised to sin no more. Yet he still loves me if I come back to Confession again. He is proud of every effort I make to improve.
I am grateful for Confession… because of the peace I have when I come out. Once I have confessed all my sins all my worries disappear as my soul is prepared for eternity. I can let go of all my useless efforts to rationalize my selfish decisions and my efforts to put myself above others, as though somehow, I am better than them.
I am grateful for Confession… because it moves me to forgive others as I have been forgiven. I can let go of all my resentments and hurt feelings and experience the freedom and joy of not being angry, that I am no longer being controlled by others through my angry feelings. It frees me to be myself and be part of a family again.
I am grateful for Confession… because I am moved to improve with a plan to avoid the near occasions of sin and to improve my relationship with God and with others. I’m not defined by my past as my new and improved relationship with God empowers me to become a better version of myself.
I am grateful for Confession… because it allows me to approach Jesus Christ in Holy Communion with a heart and body closer to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, free of sin so I can receive our Lord “with the purity, humility, and devotion with which your Most Holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervor of the saints.”
I am grateful for Confession… because I feel spiritually clean and refreshed, just like my body does when it is fresh out of a hot shower! I feel like a new person who is ready to share his joy with everyone around me.
May your gratitude be contagious!