Don’t you feel heavy in the heart when you’re harboring hard feelings towards someone? And don’t you feel better after talking it out with the person or when you confide what you feel to someone you trust?
When you’ve done something wrong and you’re feeling guilty about it, don’t you feel like talking to someone so you’d feel better? After confiding to a trusted person, don’t you feel so relieved, as if a thorn is pulled out of your chest?
If you agree with the above then you should be eager to go to Confession every time you sin against God. You would not only feel better and relieved, you would also be reconciled to God and be healed.
Confessing your sins heals you. ‘Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed’. 1
No wonder Confession (Penance) is one of the sacraments of healing.2 When you confess your sins to a priest, you are placing all of your sins before the divine mercy for pardon through the mediation of the priest.3 If you withheld some knowingly, then you will not be completely healed, just like a sick person is not completely healed when he is too ashamed to show all his wounds to a doctor.
Through the sacrament of Confession, a sinner who confesses his sins is granted forgiveness by God through the priest. Only when one is forgiven can the process of healing start.
You’ve probably heard of stories of people who became seriously ill because they blame themselves or someone for a wrong done to them or their loved ones. Somehow, these people cannot forgive themselves or someone and this is what most likely made them ill.
According to Dr. Everett Worthington, Jr., Psychology Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, unforgiveness causes stress which leads to a suppressed immune system and an increased risk for cardiovascular issues.4 To lessen this stress and be healed, one should learn to forgive and be forgiven.
If you’re harboring hard feelings towards someone, you should include it in your confession. Let it off your chest and you’d feel better. As you have been forgiven your sins through the priest, you should feel it easier to forgive that someone who wronged you.
We confess our sins to be forgiven and be reconciled to God. Being reconciled to God, we feel renewed in His grace and this is the source of healing for us both physically and spiritually.
Regular confession helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit.5
Those who insist that they don’t need to confess to a priest to be forgiven should take note of Jesus’ instructions to His apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.6 The priests and bishops are successors to those apostles and are given the authority, through the sacrament of Holy Orders, to forgive sins.
It is really more convenient to just go directly to God and not go to a priest for confession. And there is the danger. If it’s too easy or convenient, there must be something not so right with that.
It takes humility to go to a person and confess your sins. And this humility is a sign that you are really repentant. Whereas if you are in the habit of just going directly to God for remission of your sins, you would be much more tempted to commit sin again and again because anyway you would just have to be deeply sorry in your heart and pray to God for His forgiveness and you’re done. So convenient. No need to go out there and see a priest.
But then in effect, your sins are still hidden. And there could be a disadvantage in that, as stated: He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.7
Go to Confession to obtain mercy as often as you offend God through your sins and as often as you feel like talking to someone so you will feel relieved of guilt and be healed. Be grateful for the sacrament of Confession. Be thankful for the healing.
© 2015 Life Path of Love. All rights reserved.
- The Holy Bible RSVCE James 5:16
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1421
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1456
- Dr. Everett Worthington, Jr., Psychology Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, www.evworthington-forgiveness.com/research
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1458
- The Holy Bible RSVCE John 20:22-23
- The Holy Bible RSVCE Proverbs 28:13