Every time the calendar turns from December to January, we have that conversation with our family and friends: what’s your New Year resolution? What are you going to change, be more active? Do more reading? Learn a new instrument? Or are you the smart one who resolves to make no more resolutions…
Giving ourselves an opportunity to turn over a new leaf and start afresh is important, but the idea of New Year resolutions suggests we can only do it once a year. What’s more, surveys suggest that up to 80% of us fail to live up to our resolutions by the end of January. When you can only make a fresh start once a year, and then slip up on it, it can feel like there’s no point carrying on - you have to wait until next January!
Our faith gives us a wonderful opportunity to turn over a fresh leaf whenever we want. It’s called confession! Whenever we slip-up or realise we have taken a wrong path, in any area of our lives, we can always find God’s mercy and healing grace in confession. We can turn over a new leaf in our lives whenever we go to confession, not just once a year.
Confession can be daunting, you can be unsure of whether you prefer to go to a priest you know, or a priest you don’t. It can also be difficult to be honest with yourself - what if the priest will judge you?
In my experience, I always leave confession feeling so much lighter than when I arrived. You put all your burdens behind and receive so much grace in return. This is true no matter who the priest is and is especially true when you enter completely into it: hold nothing back! If there’s something big on your conscience, make it the first thing you say! Saying all of the things out loud to the priest often helps you to make sense of what’s going wrong in your life, and I have always found priests to be great sources of wisdom in helping me to see that and think of ways to put it right. And you can be confident that the conversation between you and the priest will stay in the confessional; priests are strictly forbidden to speak of anything they hear in confessional. Priests have sooner been killed or imprisoned than break this promise.
Churches near you will have time of prayer and confessions throughout the week, maybe just check their website or parish newsletter. Above all, never be ashamed of going to confession! Anyone who claims they don’t need to go to confession is kidding themselves, and confession isn’t about admitting defeat, it’s about making that fresh start with God and with yourself.
When we go to Confession we are not telling God something He doesn’t already know and we’re not showing Him something He doesn’t already see. We are giving Him something He doesn’t already have: Your broken heart.
Father Mike Schmitz (Who also has an awesome YouTube channel, called Ascension Presents)
Confession is an act of honesty and courage - an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God.
Pope John Paul II
The Lord never tires of forgiving. It is we who tire of asking for forgiveness.