Sacraments

Confession

Confessions are heard once a week or by appointment:

Wednesday 6-7pm (During Holy Hour)
Saturday 9:00-10:00 am
or By Appointment

One of the most important things we can do as we grow in our spiritual lives is to maintain a good habit of frequent confession. The Church asks us to ensure we are confessing all mortal sins at least once a year, during the Easter Season, and while that is the bare minimum, we know we can always do more. At times, people will ask me about a “good practice” when it comes to frequent confession i.e. “How often should I go to Confession?” Certainly, I have to leave that decision up to you, but every month or every other month would be a good place to start.

Why Confession?

Well, for one, Jesus Christ Himself instituted this Sacrament... and it’s in the Bible. On the evening of the Resurrection, our Lord appeared to the apostles who were still in hiding fearing for their lives. In John 20:19-23, Jesus comes to them and reassures them of his “Peace.” Then he breathes the Holy Spirit upon them and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you retain they are retained.” So, as Catholics, we can point to the Scriptures for proof that Christ the Lord, the One Who has conquered sin and death by his glorious resurrection has now passed on this power to the men he has chosen to be the first bishops of the Catholic Church.

Jesus Christ—the Consummate Psychologist

Some years ago, I remember coming across a citation by G.K. Chesterton (we cited him last week in our column on “Advent”) in which he stated that “Psychotherapy is like confession without absolution.” A very insightful statement when you consider that billions of dollars are spent annually by people seeking professional counseling through qualified psychologists and psychiatrists. In other words, the current trend in our own day and age is that we seek out another person, and talk to them about the things that are weighing most heavily upon our hearts. AND…we pay them a lot of money to do this.

Now, I don’t want to take anything away from the great work these qualified counselors and doctors do; in fact, very often I have to refer people to them when they come to me and I discern that they have serious medical issues. But, I happen to think our Lord is the “Consummate Psychologist” since, 2,000 years ago, he instituted a way (Confession) for us to deal with the whole host of problems (sins) that plague us and weigh us down. And, it requires us going to another individual (a priest) and objectively stating those sins to him so that we may not be enslaved to our sins anymore. And the best part... it’s free!

I believe the Lord set it up this way because He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows that when we humbly recognize we are in need of his healing grace that the only way to “get over our sins” is to talk about them…to articulate them one-by-one and in that moment of release, we are truly letting go of all of the pain and trauma that has afflicted us for so long. We can also look at it this way: think about those times when you held on to something, maybe you were hurt through an argument with another person or wounded by some traumatic event in your life, but when you finally had the courage to confront the problem and talk about it, you felt much better. The same principle is at work when we go to Confession.

The greatest thing about Confession is that the Lord takes on our sins—much in the same way he bore our sins on Calvary—and gives us his divine life i.e. “grace” in return. It’s an amazing exchange, far greater than anything we encounter in “professional counseling,” but that is precisely what God enjoys doing: ‘writing straight with the crooked lines in our lives.’


"The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship." (1468)

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition