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Why Confess to a Priest?

NO one likes going to confession. And it is only natural to shy away from the embarrassment of opening up and letting someone see you at your worse.

We often agonize and wonder whether it is worth it? Can’t I just tell God my sins?

Well you probably could, but do you? When last did you go before the Lord and humbly acknowledge your wrong doing. Most of the time we don’t. Or we forget. We make excuses and rationalize away our wrong doing blaming everyone but ourselves.

Confession forces us to face the sobering fact that we are responsible for our lives. We can choose whether to do good or evil. It helps us to acknowledge that we are not as strong and powerful as we think we are.

Regular confession helps us to realize that the buck stops with us.

The added bonus of the sacrament is that we get someone, free of charge to help us look at our lives objectively, to clarify issues we might be confused about and to guide us in overcoming sin. The priest is not there to judge or condemn but to support and guide. He is an instrument in God’s hands.

But the true worth of the sacrament comes about by virtue of the assurance we are given that our sins are indeed forgiven. If you go before God without the benefit of the sacrament there is no guarantee that your sins are forgiven. It is all subjective.

However, John 20.23 assures us that Jesus gave authority to his apostles and by extension their successors-“priests”, the ability to forgive sin. “Whoever sins you forgive they are forgiven, whoever sins you retain they are retained.” There is no guessing matter here. When the priests says the words “I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy spirit” you are washed clean, everything has been wiped out. You can be confident. Not so with private confession.

So as the Nike ad says –just do it. Go often, and enjoy the freedom of forgiveness.