Confessing my sins to a priest

Terri left a nice comment to my last post in which she asked, among other things, why Catholics confess their sins to priests when we can go directly to Christ. Here’s an explanation, as well as some other good info here and here. Those links provide enough info that I don’t think I need to get into the details myself. What I can offer, as usual, is my experience:

The concept of confession was not something I struggled with in the conversion process. When I read up on the reasoning behind it it sounded right, so I moved on to focus on the issues that I did have trouble with. But in the long road to becoming Catholic, more than a year between the time that I thought I was “probably” going to enter the Church to when I finally did, I thought a lot about my sins. The more I prayed and attempted to grow closer to God, the more my sinful past (and present) bothered me.

Not yet having the option of confession, I went directly to Christ.

In my prayers, though they were often scattered and interrupted by my notorious inability to focus, I asked Jesus to forgive me for all that I had done. I thought over my past and present sins in as much detail as I could recall, and expressed sincere regret. I also prayed that God would lead me to better understanding of the weight of what I’d done. I’d read the work of some great saints who talked about how attempting to understand God goes hand in hand with attempting to understand just what a tragedy our sins — our stunning rejections of God’s pure, self-giving love — really are. So I prayed to know God better, and asked him to let me see my life through his eyes, sins and all.

When the time finally came for my first confession, I thought it would be redundant. Having gone so long without the sacrament available to me, I’d pretty much straightened everything out with God myself — I’d offered a full and honest account of my sins asked sincerely for forgiveness.

So, that cold April night, as I stood in the dim light of our church and listened to ethereal chant music waft through the building, I wasn’t anxious. I was in the middle of moving to a new house and had a million things on my plate and just needed to get this checked off my to-do list.

Then, when I finally sat down in front of our priest, everything changed.

I’d thought about all these sins a million times within the safe confines of my head, but now I had to speak of them. I had to put them into words. I had to hear it, and so did someone else. Though I fully believed the Catholic teaching that I was confessing my sins to God, that the priest was only a conduit, there was still the fact that another person would hear my words. I started shaking. Then I started crying.

Something about saying these things for another person to hear made it real, so much more real than when I’d thought about it in prayer. Not wanting to hold up the line, I wiped the tears from my eyes and tried to get through it as efficiently as possible. And then I got to the part where I needed to confess the fact that, on countless occasions, I’d made fun of Jesus Christ himself. I started the sentence, but was stopped by a lump in my throat. I’d already prayed about this so many times, I didn’t think it would be so difficult. Our kind priest waited patiently. I tried again, but stammered after the first couple of words. How do you say something like that? I thought of the crucifix at the front of our church, depicting the Man who volunteered to undergo a long death of unthinkable torture for people like me. And I had to say, out loud, that I had flippantly ridiculed him — on many occasions. I was sobbing. I was a mess.

When I finally stammered out my full confession, I listened eagerly for the priest to tell me that my sins had been forgiven. I also eagerly awaited receiving my penance. When the priest told me to recite one of the Psalms a certain number of times as penance, I was so grateful. I wanted so much to do something to show God how sorry I was — not for his sake, since he already knew my heart, but for me. I knelt in front of the crucifix and recited the Psalm with all the love I could muster. Being able to demonstrate my regret and contrition in a physical way was so healing, so cathartic.

So many things became clear to me that night, some of which I wrote about here and here. By allowing me to put my sins into words for someone else to hear, God answered my prayer that I might better understand the weight of what I’d done. Yet, in a turn I didn’t expect, by allowing me to hear someone else say words that I’d been forgiven, God also allowed me to better understand the immensity of his mercy, and his love.

I know that God doesn’t need us to participate in the sacrament of confession. He knows our hearts, and doesn’t need any kind of formality in order to grant us forgiveness. But, from my experience, I think I know why he has given us this beautiful ritual: for us. It’s a gift. It’s a way for him to allow us humans to have something tangible to cling to in our fallen world, to better feel the tragedy of sin, and the glory of his perfect love.

RELATED POSTS: A first confession, Part I; A first confession, Part II

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Enter the Conversation...

61 Responses to “Confessing my sins to a priest”
  1. Karen says:

    Thanks for posting that. As I get closer and closer to being officially part of the Church, I’m becoming more and more aware of my sins; I figure that is a good thing. It is helpful to hear the “end” of this story. It is helpful to hear how amazing confession is.

    In some ways I’m scared to death to speak some of those things out loud. I know they aren’t “huge” but I guess it is more the idea that I can’t act like I have it all together, even if it is just for that moment in front of the priest. It is encouraging to hear from people like you how powerful that experience will be. It makes it easier to look forward to even that part of converting!

    Only 29 days to go! :D

  2. Kiwi Nomad 2006 says:

    Time for me to go to bed for the night…. but will be back to read this post. I had a talk with a priest a couple of weeks ago. I could have even gone to Confession at the time…. but not sure I want to do that. Your words give me plenty to ponder. Thank you Jen.
    Margaret

  3. Colleen says:

    You put into words what I feel about confession so beautifully. Thank you! Isn’t it such a wonderful gift from our wise God?

  4. tjic says:

    A while back I went to confession after a very very very long lapse.

    I had a lot to confess.

    I’d already prayed for forgiveness…and, like you, I broke down in tears as I confessed it out loud, to the priest.

    My only regret is that I didn’t get a penance that felt meaningful to me – something like 5 or 10 Hail Marys…that seemed a bit lightweight for several years of sins.

    • sky says:

      If penance were to make up for your sins or be a sort of “punishment” for your sins, then we’d all have to die on the cross. Christ suffered and died on the cross as punishment for our since ONCE and FOR ALL. Perhaps, we must look at penance as a prayerful reflection on the forgiveness of our sins and the advice the priest has given us in confession and how we can overcome those temptations that we gave into last time. And really just pray our penance as a thanksgiving to God for forgiving us of our sins and bringing us back into a fuller relationship will Him. God bless you!

  5. AveMaria says:

    My husband has the same sense of relief after confession.

    I’ve never had that experience. What I find is an amazing outpouring of Grace afterwards. As I am facing the same challenges and triggers that in the past may have resulted in a sinful response from me, I’m am more self controlled, more readily able to pray first and contain the overriding desire make an ass of myself by telling off the folks at the phone company who have screwed up posting my payment for the 100th time.

    In short, I receive tremendous Grace for living, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and his help on the journey to Heaven.

    I believe the sacrament of confession is the most overlooked gem in the Catholic gem box at least here in the US. Who would say no to something that makes living easier?

    Catholics everywhere, toss the Prozac and head to the confessional!! It’s cheaper, more effective, and it’s our faith.

  6. Jenny says:

    Gorgeous… your conversion is so beautiful, thank you for sharing these intimate experiences with your readers…

  7. Chad Toney says:

    Write a book, send in an article. Get this stuff published.

    Excellent post.

  8. Tertium Quid says:

    Very well said.

  9. Catherine says:

    This is so beautiful, and so well said. I am protestant, and I think for the most part we completely misunderstand Catholic confession. Yes, God’s needs are met when we confess to him – but we humans need that human bearing.

    I’m also trained as a counselor, and I think often, this is the void we are trying to fill.

    I came here on accident – I tried to subscribe to a friend’s blog and googlereader signed me up for you instead. Serendipity. I’ll be back.

  10. Jordana says:

    Growing up I was taught to take things directly to God in prayer and ask for forgiveness. Which I did, but since I could keep everything private and in the safety of my head, some sins never really felt forgiven and others were easy to commit again and again.

    I’ve only been Catholic for a little over a month now and I spent the month or so leading up to my being received dreading confession more than anything else. But when my first confession was over, the freedom was amazing. My sins truly felt gone. And those things I keep doing over and over? I still mess up, but knowing that I will need to confess them again and speak the words outloud, has helped act as a brake at times and I believe, although I frequently stumble, that I truly am receiving great grace in confession. I look forward to going now and have tried to go every week.

  11. pipsylou says:

    Jen, could you direct me to some great books that helped you (other than the Bible) in your search for a God? I am so confused.

  12. Kathy says:

    Pipsylou, I recommend “Rome Sweet Home” by Scott Hahn, and “Surprised by Truth” by Patrick Madrid. Both are great conversion stories.

  13. el-e-e says:

    What a wonderful answer to the person who asked this question of you! Thank you for taking the time to write it so well. It was a good reminder for me, someone who hasn’t been to Confession in a long time, though I know and have experienced this good grace — and the good cry! I cry every time, in fact.

  14. Terri says:

    Jennifer, thank you for taking time to post a response to my question. Both the explanation of your personal experience which was so well expressed and the links helped give me a clearer understanding of the sacrament of confession. I’m beginning to think much about Catholic doctrine is misunderstood by protestants.

    Thanks again for posting this.

  15. Michelle says:

    Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal! I think this post is a wonderful testament to the power that the Sacrament has and why it is there. You are right… God knows our hearts, He knows if we are truly penitent for our sins but the Sacrament of Reconcilliation is for us.

    Tomorrow I take my 7 year old daughter for a workshop on this very subject. She’ll be making her first Confession in January. I can only hope that the teachers teaching the class tomorrow will explain the concept on their level in such a beautiful way. They all deserve to know that confessing your sins is a healing act.

  16. Abigail says:

    Thanks Jen! My long response to this post is up on my website.

  17. James says:

    Jennifer,

    I just found your blog. Awesome.

    I wrote an article called “Reasons for Confession.” It appeared on Catholic Exchange in Lent of ’06. Feel free to let me know by e-mail what you think.

    http://www.catholicexchange.com/node/57984

    In Christ,
    Brother James Brent, O.P.

  18. :o) says:

    I cry each and every time I go to confession. I love how clean I feel afterwards. I always think, I could die right now and be right with God (hopefully).

    I agree, saying the words out loud is so humbling and has such an impact.

  19. Laurel says:

    Jen, your post is another incredibly moving account of how God continues to work in us.

    I, too, as a convert found confession a whole new experience. One aspect that I also discovered was coming to terms with the social aspect of sin. When I confessed to “just” God, then I felt better; however, the more I’ve practiced the Sacrament, the more I’m also aware that I’m not just sinning against God, but countless others that my actions may affect without even knowing.

    Speaking the words really DOES make it more real. I’m not just hurting God, but others in the body. The sacrament of confession, more than any other sacrament, makes me feel a part of the “Body of Christ”. Thanks for another beautiful post!

  20. Tracy says:

    Hello, as a fellow Catholic I just want to say what a wonderful post this is!! I used to be so nervous about going to confession that I would put it off and then I would get even more nervous, this last year I have made it a point to go and now I am over that feeling and I now find it to be such a huge blessing in my life. Thank you for sharing this! Also, you have a beautiful blog, so glad I found it. Blessings

  21. Literacy-chic says:

    I wanted to say that when I read this post, I found it moving, but didn’t formulate a real response. It came back to me for some reason in the middle of Mass today. I found myself thinking of it right before Communion, thinking about how I felt like I had been “let off easy” (and unfairly so) because I had never been Baptized, and that really I should have had to make a First Confession. I found myself wondering if I had sinned in some of the same ways you mention–feeling certain that I had. Anyway, it was very emotional for me to think about this post, realizing again the Grace I have received–and with so little effort on my part!!

    While I do recognize Confession as a blessing, it always helps to read stories like this so that I remember what I know, so that I remember to try not to postpone what I know is another occasion to experience God’s Grace. Thank you!

    • F Y says:

      Just discovered this wonderful blog today. Thanks, Jen, for letting God work through you!

      Not sure if you or any of your readers responded to Literacy-Chic’s comment from 2007. If I’m reading it correctly, L-C has not been baptized and yet is receiving Holy Communion. L-C, the Eucharist is only for baptized believers. Please, please, refrain from receiving the Eucharist until and unless you are baptized.

  22. Rae says:

    So true….! To non-Catholics, confession must seem a sin-on-Wednesday, confess-it-Saturday deal that enables rather than reforms the sinner. However, from personal experience, I know that confessing my sins–even in private, under a seal of secrecy–is enormously difficult! The act of accusing myself aloud of sins which had seemed minor in the confines of my mind, suddenly reveals these same sins as enormous, weighty, shameful…. Like you, I often shake during confession, and have to hold back tears.

    It isn’t easy–and it is good for us! How else in this life would we regularly confront the reality of our sins, and of God’s amazing mercy? …It seems a beneficial foretaste of the personal judgment after death, in which we must also face the truth about ourselves, and about God.

  23. Anna says:

    “They all deserve to know that confessing your sins is a healing act.”

    It seems to me an under-emphasized aspect of Catholic teaching that the sacrament is not just about forgiveness (i.e. removing the black spots from our soul) but also about healing, about restoring ourselves to the glory we are meant to be.

    Aside from Jen’s excellent answer to the question of “why not go to God directly”, I have this image to offer.

  24. Studying Catholicism says:

    Thanks for posting this. You recently posted on my blog. I actually had many people tell me to come read this post by you since I’m struggling with the idea of confession, and now I’m glad I did. You put the idea of confession in such a new light, explained YOUR experience in a way I hadn’t heard before. Thank you.

  25. Jennifer F. says:

    Thanks so much for all your comments!

    Br. James – I love your article. Really good stuff. I wanted to email you but couldn’t find an address.

  26. Padre Steve says:

    Beautiful article! Thank you for that and thank you for the blog! Keep up the good work! God bless! Padre Steve

  27. Carrien says:

    I found this really interesting to read. As a protestant I am quite familiar with confession and forgiveness. I’ve just never confessed formally to a priest.

    The protestant view of confession, as I understand it, is that confession happens within the context of the relationships that we have with each other in the body of Christ. I seek out and confess my sin to the person I have wronged. They may or may not forgive me. OR I do it in the context of my small group that I meet with for prayer study and devotion. We also are aware of the value of confessing to each other our sins. As the Bible says, “Confess your sins one to another.”

    The added benefit of this type of confession is that it helps everyone to realize that they are not alone, they all struggle with the same things, and we become a support to each other instead of struggling in isolation.

    This has it’s downsides of course, because people are sinful and don’t always respond to each other in perfect grace and love. Some things are probably wiser confessed to a few people with great spiritual maturity rather than all and sundry when one is first dealing with them. But even the process of working through the hurt and difficulty caused by this honesty can be used to refine us and bring us to greater growth and humility.

    I can see why the Catholic church instituted the confessional. People aren’t perfect and the confidential aspect would perhaps keep people from being hurt, and provide a means for people to confess without needing to form relationships with others in the body of Christ. But while it works out practically I can’t help feeling that it’s not ideal.

    When one confesses to peers and people they are in relationship with, one sees even more strongly how sin affects us all.

    And I question the idea of penance. My mother relates how she stole a dime as a child and confessed to her priest. He told her to put it in the collection. She always felt that the right thing to do was in fact to return the dime to the person she stole it from and confess to them what she had done. The other problem with penance is that it misses the point of grace. Grace is free. Part of the hard work of being a follower of Christ is accepting the free gift of forgiveness. Not being able to do penance in order to receive forgiveness forces the protestant to realize, time and again, that it is not through any of my own effort that I can make my self right with God. It is all His grace, it is all His gift, it is all His strength and power that brings me through, and that I can’t work harder, do more, try harder, in order to experience forgiveness and life. I just have to let Jesus carry me, as a little child, into his kingdom. In a way it may require a greater exercise of faith

    (I’m not criticizing or downplaying your experience in confession in anyway. I believe that it has power no matter who we confess to, that’s why we are commanded to do it. Just offering my perspective on the subject.)

  28. Beth (A Mom's Life) says:

    When I entered the Church 2007, I too participated in my first confession. Having been a Protestant all my life, I felt I didn’t need it. I had already asked God to forgive me and knew in my heart that I was forgiven. But I knew that I needed to go to confession before I participated in my first communion.

    And can I just say that after I confessed all of those sins to the priest, I haven’t given them another thought. Even though I had asked God to forgive me a million times before as a Protestant, I kept asking for forgiveness over and over again.

    I never truly felt forgiven until
    I confessed them at my first confession.

    You are right. God has given this to us a gift. What a great way to put it!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Religion has always confounded and confused me. The only part of relion i can really relate with is helping the community and caring. However I’d like to know how people can follow any religion. If anyone would like a serious talk about how to believe email me at: racoon1177@hotmail.com

  30. Monnie says:

    I know a lot of non-Catholics can’t understand why there is a Sacrament like Confession… But it is, indeed, for US. God didn’t institute the Sacrament of Confession to torment us or even simply to benefit Himself…

    JUST psychologically-speaking, admitting your wrongs to another person IS cathartic. I think that the lack of Confession in today’s society (by and large) is the reason that mental illness is unprecedentedly rampant. People have no outlet for their guilt (which the Church does not impose, but rather our own conscience imposes on us).

    …Bravo on another excellent post! If I ever have a friend I’m seriously talking to about conversion and the various aspects of our Faith, I think I’ll refer them to your blog! :)

  31. catholic09 says:

    Hi! I just entered the Church this Saturday at the Easter Vigil Mass. I was very nervous about my first confession also, but it literally felt like a million pounds has been lifted of my shoulders. I made an appointment and was there for over an hour. It was amazing to get it all off my chest and turn it over to God. Really. I told him things that I’ve never told anyone – not my family, husband, best friend, sister, even my therapist. I think some of the hardest parts of my confession were confessing my sins of thought – the evil things that went through my mind that I never acted on, yet I have carried in my heart and soul for years.

    Like you, I was thinking it was more of a formality that I had to get through. I made notes to study from and such, so I could be prepared. I was nervous, but thought I’d do ok. In reality? I didn’t even get the first sentence out before I started crying. I too liked having a tangible penance to perform.

    You are so right. Confession and all the Sacraments are gifts to US. They are outward signs of Jesus’ love and grace for us sinners.

  32. Molly says:

    Confession is one of the parts of Catholicism that scares me the most (I'm considering converting). I'm most afraid that something I might have done in my past when I was young and stupid and allowed myself to be swayed by un-Godly things will be too horrible and the priest will tell me there's no hope. I know this is true, but it's the part that scares me the most.

    But at the same time I'm beginning to understand how freeing it is to be fully aware of the mistake I made, even without confession yet and just really thinking about them makes me so aware of what I did and how to go about to never to those things again.

    Thank you for a wonderful post and to be willing to share such personal parts of your story.

  33. ravloony says:

    Lovely post!
    Allow me to tell a joke I really like.

    One day a man kills his grandmother in a fit of rage. Obviously it doesn't take long for him to realise what he has done, and distraught, he seeks the forgiveness of God. Unfortunately, everywhere he turns, all the representatives of various religions send him packing once they hear what he has done. "I will have no part of this", they say, "Leave before I call the police!"
    Then one day, just as he reaches the end of his tether, he walks past a church. He enters. There is not mush light, save for a red light burning near the altar, and the light coming from a sort of large wooden box marked "Confessional". He enters, kneels down and says "Father, I have something terrible to confess." A murmured reply comes: "Yes my son?" – "Father, I killed my grandmother!" A pause ensues, and again comes a murmured reply: "How many times, my son?"

  34. Katharine says:

    Hi Jen, my name is Katharine. I've been a Protestant Christian since I was a little girl. I'm loving reading your blog, as in my part of the world, there is a relatively small Catholic community– I've never known much about Catholocism. I respect its traditions for their obvious ministering to so many souls– and I've never been one to say that a Catholic must not truly be "saved."

    One of the parts of Catholocism that I've found the most difficult to understand, however, is confession. This post really helped me understand its merits. For that, a thousand thanks!

    God bless you :)

    Katharine

  35. Jack says:

    I’m going into confession this morning. Last I went was my First Confession–and, truth be told, I lied to the priest back then, so I wouldn’t have to confess any real sins. Virtually, I’ve never been. Anyway, I feel somewhat less nervy after reading your article. What a blessing your website is. Seriously. My fiancee is non-believer and loves your site; she’s reading it from beginning to end. If she reads enough, I believe there’s a Catholic wedding in the make! (Good morning, Kelly!)

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  37. Fr. Inno Ngutra says:

    My dear daughter…I had many chances to hear confession in a small chapel in Manila. Many times people like you come to me and with their tear they confessed their sins. I just red your experience in the confession’s room and I feel something different from your sharing is the way you are taking to share your story. It came from your heart and you know that there is the place of our beloved God. He was the one to touch your heart and changed your mind. He was the one to encourage you to share your wonderful experience about confession. You are a wonderful tool of God to spread his mercy and tell the people that “don’t be afraid, and just come to God because He is full of mercy. Thank you so much for your nice story. I’ll always pray for you in my daily life, may God continues to use you as His tool, to spread His love and mercy to the people.

  38. I’ve been enjoying reading through your archives. Our church, though we are not Roman Catholic, truly believe in the confession of sins to one another. Oh we don’t stand up in the service and announce our shame to the whole church but it is good to confess to a trusted brother or sister in private. It’s like a great burden is lifted that private confession doesn’t seem to lift. Perhaps it’s a bringing out into the light all those things done in secret.
    LikeSunshineintheHome recently posted..I knew He loved me- and that was all I needed to know

  39. A. Sanchez says:

    Simply beautiful. Scriptural evidence, Church history, and Apologetics, as important as they are, can not convince someone of certain truths. It’s only when we share why and how we know they are true that we can really make an impact for others, in His name. Thanks

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  41. Inquiring says:

    Mrs. Fulwiler, you’ve mentioned in a couple of places how you got help finding an orthodox parish. Would you mind posting thoughts on this? If one is looking to become Catholic, I think most would want an authentic church, and I would appreciate any thoughts on what to look for in general. Thanks.

  42. Rachel says:

    Jennifer-

    I am a recent convert from Protestantism to the Catholic Church. I love reading your blog. Your insights inspire me and have helped answer many questions as I have taken my RCIA journey. As part of my journey, last week I was required to receive my first Sacrament of Reconciliation.

    I was scared to death.

    Being raised Protestant, I was inculcated with the belief that my sins were between myself and God. I have lived 38 years believing this, and I feel that this belief contributed to the intense isolation I felt in my practice of Protestant Christianity. It was precisly this isolation (although I hadn’t really acknowledged it yet) that led me to The Church.

    I feel so blessed to finally learn that my sins are not just between myself and God, but between myself, God, my loved ones and my church. This has been a big breakthrough for me, and God has lovingly drawn me out of my isolated state and into a wonderful community that shares with and encourages me. Reading your posts has also significantly opened my eyes to the power of Confession, and how our souls are very much healed by the Sacrament.

    So, back to my first Confession. I, being a list maker-type, spent quite some time assembling my mulitple-paged list of sins. I was so nervous to actually think of verbalizing these things to another person, especially my priest. As I entered in the Confessional, my priest began with the story of the Prodigal son. He emphasized how the father received this son with open arms and did not ask ANY questions. He then asked if there was something specific I would like to discuss, and we did talk about some underlying things I struggle with. After receiving my absolution, I sat in the Chapel, feeling very free and uplifted and thinking of all the things we discussed. I was praying as well, and then realized, and said in prayer, “Oh, God, I didn’t even get to do my list”. Then I heard very clearly “I’ve already forgiven you for that list”. What a blessing! I can’t fully express how grateful I feel to finally know my Father in this way. And enjoy learning more of Him in communion with my fellow classmates and leaders. Just wanted to share that and thank you, Jennifer. Your conversion has personally inspired and enlighted me. Christ’s Peace.

  43. Wyld says:

    Wow… suddenly Confession makes so much more sense. Thanks for sharing and putting it into the context of a loving God’s mercy, rather than what we usually think of it as: “just another thing to cross off our to-do lists.” ;-)

  44. GADEL says:

    The sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation also know as Confession is one of the most logical and beautiful part of our Holy Catholic Faith.

    I’m touched by the light of Faith that touched your soul to help you leave atheism for Catholicism.

    Pax in Christo.
    GADEL recently posted..10 Quotes on Rest and Relaxation

  45. Megan says:

    Exactly. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve asked God for forgiveness for the things I’ve done. I’m still haunted…I still feel guilty and horrible and ashamed. I cannot wait until the day when I can finally go to confession with a sincere and pure heart. I want to receive forgiveness and receive Jesus through the Holy Eucharist. I hope and pray that God will forgive me.

  46. This is the third comment that I post on your blog today and, once again, I find you very effective. I’m currently in a position similar to the one you describe: I’m waiting for my first confession. The nullity of my first marriage has just been declared, and my second husband and I will soon get married in the Church. What scares me about receiving the Sacraments, including the Eucharist, is that they might mean nothing to me, as they did when I was a teenager or when I married in the Church the first time (I’m Italian, and all Italians marry in the Church, regardless their commitment to the faith).Your emotional reaction to confession gives me hope.
    Antonella Garofalo recently posted..Going with the Flu

  47. i was born a catholic or baptised shortly after birth and have been a good person with strong moral conviction ever since my early elementary school training by the ursuline nuns. ken k.

  48. Janet says:

    I am watching you on EWTN Life on the Rock, so came to your website to check it out. Thank you so much for your confession story, it is SO vital to our faith. I want to yell it from the mountaintops to all the world! And sadly, the one closest to me and the love of my life is deaf and blind to the truth of the Catholic faith. I was a cradle Catholic, left at age 19, then came back, actually finding my faith for the first time really, just before I met my husband. The fact that I cannot share my faith with him every day is like a huge boulder I must carry around, it is so so hard. He was baptized Catholic, but never raised in the faith. He is Baptist now, and just doesnt realize where I am at. He thinks he can be his own authority on his beliefs.

  49. Trish says:

    I look forward to this time of letting go and growing in what God has planned for me. I am a new convert to the faith and believe that this is a precious moment of not dread but anticipation. A new beginning.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I’m writing this way past when I’m sure discussion is over … but a protestant friend once stated: it’s more important we confess to the one we offended, rather than to priest. It took time for me to ‘click in’ …but Protestants aren’t all wrong… It is ok to go straight to God to say I’m
    sorry. Catholics too are told we can make a simple Act Of Contrition before receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist. As Jen stated: God knows our heart. If we are unable to forgive those we perceived wronged us, it is best NOT to receive the Eucharist til we come to terms with our hearts. Before presenting gift at alter, if you find there is something you have against brother go and reconcile with brother. (that ‘brother’ we are to reconcile with is Jesus…the spiritual brother within us) Protestants say we need to confess to one another…and AGAIN not wrong. We Catholics say
    our confessions to each other in the Confeitor at beginning of Mass: “I ask God, Father and you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the Lord our God…I have sinned thru my own fault, my grevious fault… etc.

    Yes; Protestants aren’t wrong… just wrong in what they understand about Catholics perhaps. We can confess sins that have not broken the bond with
    God directly to God (anger, impatience, laziness, etc) We confess generally
    to each other thru the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, AND THEN there is the
    grace of the Sacrament so humbling…speaking the specific sins in private
    and then THEY ARE FORGOTTEN…and we go forth forgiven to live the forgiveness. Properly done, Confession leaves one LIGHT.

    To the soul we had problems with…talk is futile…they don’t even know why they are mad. So, we start anew…if they are active in our lives we
    talk with them like nothing happened…and they go right on as all is well.
    But, to remind them of something…NOT GOOD. Today is a new day live it as
    such … the past IS DONE and FORGOTTEN. Any who looks back is not fit for God’s kingdom.

  51. Teresa Brownlee says:

    My Dear Sister in Christ: You have a great gift expressing the Heart in all of this..God is genuis in His Plan for all time for humanity. Father Knows Best! Confession brings us to the foot of the cross. Humility comes waiting in the line..Reflection. Jesus always used a backdrop for His Miracles…..We need ambiance and humans in our connection to true remorse, true sorrow to The Lord, spoken out loud. That Sacrament is an outpouring of Mercy;His power and authority of the Keys! It is Him….That is why we cry. Whomsoever sins you bind are bound in heaven, whosoever sins you loose are loosed in heaven! My neighbor cannot do that! The Hail Marys or whatever we are given is not like paying for a parking ticket, it is Love that binds us to Heavem. It places us with the Archangel Gabriel gazing upon little Mary at the Annunciation…It brings us to holiness…Those Hail Marys said with Great Love..The Ladder to Heaven……

  52. Sam says:

    I have did so many sins i just want to confess my sins.I need the power to stop doing it again.

  53. Marijoy Tomoyori says:

    Please help me i need someone to talk to

    • Sue says:

      Jennifer, you have my permission to privately give Marijoy my email address, I do not want to post it publicly. I’d be happy to talk to her. Thanks!
      Marijoy, I’m praying for you in the meantime. God bless you.

  54. Cheryl says:

    I am a Catholic, now returned fully to the Church since about 1990. As far as Confession goes, I can personally tell you that it makes a huge difference between confessing to only God and confessing before the priest.

    You see, when our sins are still with us, even when we believe God has forgiven us, Satan still seems to succeed in reminding us of our sins. He tortures us with them until we doubt God’s very forgiveness. What I have experienced is that in that Confessional, something happens that lifts that guilt out of my mind. I am still convicted to work on becoming better, but I know the power of the Holy Spirit working to help me. Awesome gift! We as humans need to experience the physical gift of forgiveness in the words, the voice, and the advice of the priest.

  55. marta says:

    confession is one of the most beautiful sacraments. As a child I did not treat it as I should, it was just a stressful and unpleasant experience. Then I left the church for the next 20 years…. until 2010, when finally experienced remorse, cried over my life and went to a long, general confession. Kneeling in that darkened confessional I was the happiest person on earth. Since then I treat this Sacrament differently, I can see its beauty. In 2 days I want to go again!

  56. Scott Alt says:

    I am a convert. My first confession was on my stillborn daughter’s fifth birthday. I still don’t know whether that ended up being my gift to her, or whether it was her gift to me. But now every time I go to confession I think of what a joy it is to have an extra advocate for me in my daughter. We do go to Christ in the sacrament of confession, and He speaks through the priest. What a gift to us!
    Scott Alt recently posted..Redesigned and Battle Ready

  57. Sue says:

    I’ve been studying this a lot recently and wanted to share with you what God has put on my heart.

    If you truly want the truth, please just pray directly to God (we can do this only because of Christ) and ask Him for truth, leaving behind anything that we’ve been taught or think we know. We must humble ourselves/die to self before doing this if you really want the truth. It’s really hard to do this sometimes because of our family’s religious beliefs that are passed down to us for generations. I’ve done this and have realized that especially the Catholic church and actually most denominations preach something other than what the Bible teaches. Reformation churches were reforming catholic beliefs instead of going back to the Bible itself as their source of beliefs. If we all do this (go back to what the Bible says about the first Christian church–read the book of Acts to stay in context), I believe we’d actually believe the same thing. It’s all those other voices, creeds, & traditions in our churches that are dividing us.

    About the subject of confession, the Bible stays to confess your faults, one to another (James 5:16). I wouldn’t have problems confessing my sins to someone if they, in turn, confess theirs back to me.

    Even though catholic tradition is taught by the Catholic church that they are equal to the Bible, and might make us feel good, it is contrary to God’s Word. Here is what God says about it: (Colossians 2:18, 2 Peter 1:12-21, Mark 7:7-9, 2 Timothy 3:15-17)

    How does a penance of praying to Mary afterwards deal with our sins? Either Jesus took care of all our sins on the cross and is our intercessor or he didn’t/is not. There is nothing in scripture that says that we are to pray to dead people. The Bible says that all Christians are saints.

    I didn’t realize until studying that the Immaculate Conception doctrine is about Mary, not about Jesus’s virgin birth, but about Mary not being stained with original sin, like the rest of us are, according to the Catholic church (another false doctrine).
    Read the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 9:11-27) and you’ll see that Jesus is all we need as our mediator.

    When we die or when Jesus returns, we will be accountable to God, not our church, our paster, no matter how spiritual they make us feel. In Matthew 7, it talks about some very sincere spiritual people not getting into heaven. Some worship the body instead of the head, which is Christ. We need to put our faith in Christ and what God’s Word says instead of putting our faith in our church. Remember, Christ said to stay in the Word (John 8:31-36), that the truth would set us free. Deceived people do not know they are deceived.

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