Saint Augustine wrote: “While he is in the flesh, man cannot but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call ‘light’: if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession (In epist. Io. 1, 6).”
Children who will be receiving First Holy Communion had their maiden experience of the soul-cleansing sacrament of Confession. The sacrament, which was also administered to confirmands, should be one that every Catholic frequents regularly in order to grow spiritually.
Sin is bad company. It is opposed to what we all want in life: happiness, which is made up of love, compassion, peace and joy – and continuing prayer! The greatest thing: God is infinitely merciful and always ready to open the door of forgiveness. Sin is forgiven by the mercy of God through Christ. By acknowledging and confessing our sins with repentance, we are on the way home, on the way – like the Prodigal Son – to the embrace of our Father.
Note the emphasis on personal confession and absolution. Christ, the Good Shepherd, always tends his sheep one by one.
“The confessor is not the master of God’s forgiveness, but its servant. The minister of this sacrament should unite himself to the intention and charity of Christ (Presbyterorum Ordinis 13). He should have a proven knowledge of Christian behavior, experience of human affairs, respect and sensitivity toward the one who has fallen; he must love the truth, be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, and lead the penitent with patience toward healing and full maturity. He must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord’s mercy.”
The rite of the Sacrament of Confession has evolved over the years, yet the essential elements have always been the same.
We Catholics know we are sinners. We believe that the Catholic Church has the means to forgive our sins. A faithful Catholic seeks forgiveness and healing. A faithful Catholic goes to confession.