“Opening the door (of the confessional) is like opening your heart to a new beginning.”
At the age of 13 I found myself writing the above sentence on a Post-it note. Ten years later, I came across it again. My spiritual life has had its fair share of ups and downs since writing that note; however, finding it now brings much peace and meaning into my life. Let me explain.
There have been times in my past, that my experience with the sacrament of reconciliation has been intimidating and an uncomfortable process. I’m sure many others can relate. But it wasn’t until I was in my deepest valley, committing repetitive sin that God’s grace finally broke through my darkness.
One day after going to confession yet again for the same sins, I was kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament and in my mind I cried out, “Lord, I give up. I cannot do this alone. Only through your mercy, grace, strength and love will I be set free.” And that was all God desired, my complete surrender. From that moment on, I knew I was blessed to have such a gift. Yes, the sacrament of reconciliation is a beautiful gift. A gift from the Father of Mercy to me, his child.
I view the sacrament as a gift because we as Catholic Christians have the opportunity to become one with Jesus again. Whether to go face to face or behind the screen is your personal preference. But for years I was caught in fear of “What will Father think of me?” so I found myself always behind the screen. I had to remind myself that fear does not come from God. One day while standing in line, waiting my turn to go to confession, God placed on my heart the desire to see him face to face. That without a doubt was my best confession yet, and I know it was not me who walked around the screen. The Holy Spirit works in ways to give us peace, and I truly believe it had to have been the Holy Spirit gently nudging me to go face to face, so I could truly see Christ. As I shut the confessional door to begin, my instinct was to stay put behind the screen, but the next thing I knew my feet were leading my heart elsewhere, and I found myself face to face with Jesus.
Now, every time before entering confession, I look at the Jesus present in the monstrance in our chapel and I say a simple phrase, “Lord, give me peace and help me to see you in the priest.” Face to face offers such a great deal of accountability for me personally.
In recent months Chris Tomlin’s song, “Good Good Father,” has spoken volumes to me. Tomlin sings about how he could never look at one of his daughters and tell them they have made too many mistakes and that he doesn’t love them. That interpretation is on a human level. Just think about the magnitude of that when it comes to how God our Father views us. He truly does love us as our good, good Father. As humans are going to fall, but I tell myself it is about how many times we get back up that counts.
Christ laid down his life in order to give us an everlasting one. He cried out “I thirst” because he thirsts for us sinners to repent and to be one with him again. There’s no such thing as too late or too long away to return to his grace in the sacrament. He’s there waiting for you. Take advantage of Jesus’s precious gift to us in the Year of Mercy.
Veronica Bausom writes from Conway.
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