The Catholic Corner:
The Sacrament of Penance, A Wonderful Sign of God's Love

by Franco Marchetti

Confession with a priest is a time to not only unload ones problems, but also to be actually forgiven of ones sins. The first step to healing is to know what is sinful. In today's society nothing seems to be considered a sin anymore. But it is precisely in this age of permissiveness that it is especially important to examine our behavior and recognize our shortcomings. The church's teachings and our conscience are helpful in this regard. Then, instead of feeling down or depressed in the face of our sins, we should go to confession and experience God's love and mercy. Confession should be an occasion of joy. God's love is greater than any of our sins.

It is often asked, "why do I have to go to confession. I never do anything really bad?" And we also hear, "isn't it enough that I tell God my sins?" Well, yes and no. The Church teaches that serious sin, which ruptures our relationship with God, must be confessed to a priest. And yet, lesser sins or venial sins do not have to confessed to a priest. However, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, regular confession of everyday faults is strongly recommended. Frequent confession helps us to form our conscience, fight evil tendencies, and grow in holiness.

The benefits of confession with a priest are overwhelming. Besides being Jesus' explicit command, the sacrament offers us a way to speak to someone about our problems, to actually hear someone say, "your sins are forgiven" and to receive the grace of the sacrament. Confession of sins opens us up to communion with God, the Church and with others. Our future is brightened and we are set free. It is amazing. Just think, all your sins are wiped away never to be recalled. As we prepare for the Jubilee of the Year 2000, let us examine our conscience and head over to the local parish priest and experience renewal and forgiveness.

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