Do we need Confession?

 

DO WE NEED CONFESSION?

INTRODUCTION

Experience shows that many people have questions on the significance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Catholic Church. As a result few people celebrate this Sacrament frequently. In this article therefore, we wish to explain the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and therefore, help one another to find it easy to go for confession frequently.

A.      WHY AM I SLOW TO GO FOR CONFESSION?

To this question, many have different answers as to why they experience difficulties in going for confession. Here we shall sample some of them and later give suggestions on what should be done.

1. I don’t have sins?

John tells us “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:8).

The following some of the reasons that may prevent one from recognizing their sins.

  • One might have become used to sins; so, they become normal.
  • One is selfish. A selfish person cannot acknowledge wrong doing. This is because he considers himself always right; so he cannot accept doing any wrong.
  • Pride. A proud person cannot admit his mistakes.
  • May be we have taken so long to confess; so that we fail to recognize our sins of the past.
  • My be it is because we compare ourselves with the world and say “I think I am better than others.”
  • May be we do not make examination of conscience every day. Daily examination of conscience helps us to keep track of our life and recognize quickly whenever we commit any sin.

2.        Justification and rationalization.

“You know I had no way out. I had to do it. After all, we are human beings. Everyone is like that.”

 3.        I find it difficult to mention some sins

It is true that confession is not easy because it involves self-accusation which is difficult for a human being. It is only faith and trust in the merciful God who is ready to forgive that will give us courage to go for confession. We cannot surprise God with our sins. He knows us before we commit sins, when we commit them and after committing them. He knows we are weak and He is ready to forgive us.

 4.        The priests know me

Although it is advisable and recommended that your confessor should be one, you are still free to go anywhere to confess to any priest of your choice. It should also be remembered that the priest under no circumstances reveal the seal of confession.

 5. I can confess directly to God

I do not need to go to a priest. After all, priests are human beings and they also commit sins like me.

 6. I do not see any importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

 B.       DO I NEED CONFESSION?

1. Yes, because it removes my sins

Jesus loves a sinner but does not love my sins. Therefore, I should struggle to do away with my sins. Confession is the only way.

2. Yes, because it keeps my conscience pure and sharp

When I pile sin upon sin, I get used to sin; I lose the sense of sin and I can commit any sin; I can do anything anywhere, before anybody.  This is what the Psalmist tells us:

Dhambi huongea na mtu mwovu ndani kabisa moyoni mwake; wala jambo la kumcha Mungu halimo kabisa kwake. Kwa vile anajiona kuwa maarufu hufikiri kuwa uovu wake hautagunduliwa na kulaaniwa. Kila asemacho ni uovu na uongo; ameacha kutumia hekima na kutenda mema. Alalapo huwaza kutenda maovu, wala haepukani na lolote lililo baya.” (Zab.36:1-4).

It is only confession which can restore in me the sense of sin and the sense of shame to commit sin.

3.  Yes, because it restores my friendship with God

Recall how we demand apology when we are wronged by others (our spouses, friends, children our parents). “If you want our relationship to continue, you have to apologize.” Why don’t we think of the same when we sin against the Lord? Sin destroys our relationship with God by removing in us the Sanctifying Grace which can be restored by the Sacrament of Confession.

 4. Yes, because it restores my friendship with others

Sin does not only destroy our relationship with God but also with our neighbours and nature. We need confession to restore this relationship. Confession is a sure means for conflict management (to be explained in a later article).

 

5. Yes, because it makes me capable of loving

When we are forgiven our sins, we become capable of loving. Sin makes us incapable of loving. This is what Jesus told Simon (Lk 7:36-50) “Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, otherwise she could not have loved so much.” Jesus adds “but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Look keenly at this statement “but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  If “ he who is forgiven little, loves little, what about “he who is not forgiven?” Surely, he is incapable of loving.

How does sin make us incapable of loving?

Recall what the Psalmist told us above “(A sinner) Kila asemacho ni uovu na uongo; ameacha kutumia hekima na kutenda mema. Alalapo huwaza kutenda maovu, wala haepukani na lolote lililo baya..

What is “kutenda mema” If not “to love?

When we are in a state of sin we become blinded.

  • We do not see why we should help others.
  • We do not see why we should help the church.
  • We do not see why we should not testify falsely.
  • We do not see why we should not interfere with the marriage of others
  • We do not see why we should not take the plot left to the orphans.
  • We do not see why we should not cheat others in our business.

We need confession to remove this veil and restore the sense of shame. This will make us say like Paul “It is no long I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” If Christ is living in me then “It is God who lives in me.” But God is love. Therefore, “It is love that lives in me.” It is love that directs all my actions. Because the woman in the passage above was forgiven, ‘she could now love’ and kiss the feet of Jesus and “provided for them out of their means.”

C.      DO I NEED TO CONFESS TO A PRIEST?  CAN’T I CONFESS DIRECTLY TO GOD?

1. I need to confess to a priest because it is the truth taught by the Catholic Church

2. I need to confess to a priest because it is Jesus who gave them this power and mission

Jesus told his apostles, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained” (Jn 20:23). If Jesus knew that one could confess directly to God without going to the minster why did he commission his apostles to forgive sins?

3. I need to confess to a priest because it is the WORD that forgives

There is power in the word. God created by His Word. He forgives by his word “YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN.” It is this word that forgives. We need to confess to the priest to be forgiven by the word of God which is pronounced by the priest in the person of Jesus “YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN or I ABSOLVE YOUR SINS”

4. I need to confess to a priest, because it gives me assurance

We are human beings; we need symbols. We need to hear this voice “YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN.” This cannot be said be anyone but by an ordained minister who is saying it in the PERSON OF CHRIST.

Why didn’t Jesus forgive this woman without saying anything? The woman needed to hear “YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN

Why didn’t David just confess directly and privately to God? He had to confess to Nathan the prophet “I have sinned against the Lord” because he needed the word from God through the prophet “The Lord also has put away your sins” (Psalm 51).

Conclusion

In short these are some of the reasons that should convince us to celebrate this important sacrament of reconciliation in spite of all difficulties that we may experience. Let us pray for God’s grace to enable us always find it important and easy to confess our sins.

 

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