From parables like the Prodigal Son and the Pharisee and the Publican, to Christ uttering the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing,” before his death, we come to understand just how important seeking forgiveness is to our faith.
As Catholics, we are called to partake in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But for many, the confessional can be an intimidating place, and one that raises some questions. Why should we confess our sins to a priest, when we can pray to God and ask for forgiveness?
The truth is that when we commit a sin, no matter how minor or mortal, we not only break our bond with God, we break our bond with the entire community of faith that is the Body of Christ. So, when we participate in the Sacrament of Confession, we restore that bond between God and the community, since the priest both represents the community and acts as an intercessor between us and God.
Even with all of this in mind, we’re still only human, and we have very human fears. Will the priest judge me? What if he scolds me the way my second-grade teacher did when I pushed that kid on the playground? Wait, how do I even make a decent confession? And what’s penance all about? Confession ought to be a liberating experience, and we can help you leave the confessional feeling strong and confident in your restored relationship with God and the community.
Busted Halo has put together a Guide to Confession, which explains the Sacrament’s steps so you know what to expect. If it puts you at ease, feel free to print this guide and bring it with you to the confessional!
Click here to download a printer-friendly version of this infographic.
Other Confession Resources:
Do you get sweaty palms just thinking about the Sacrament? These tips from one formerly reluctant confessor will help you prepare for your trip to the confessional and get rid of any jitters.
In this podcast from the Busted Halo Show, Father Dave encourages a listener, who had a negative experience with her first Confession, to return to the Sacrament.
A listener struggles with the common dilemma of knowing that something is sinful and confessing it, but also wanting to live by his own rules. Father Dave prompts us to be honest about this in Confession, as doing so can help us to overcome such a struggle.
Ann Naffziger answers a reader’s question and explains that Saint Paul provides an excellent explanation as to why Confession is necessary to rebuild our relationship with God and the entire community of faith.
It’s common to head into the Confessional with preconceived notions. Even if your Confession isn’t quite what you expect, there’s still wisdom and healing to be gained. Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft shares that priests usually provide her with guidance, even if her Confession doesn’t go the way she imagined it in her head.