Confession, do we really need it? Is this just another opportunity to relieve ourselves of the guilt we are feeling for the wrong we have done? Are we using the sacrament of confession the way it is intended?
For me, it is a lot more than just getting the guilt out; each confession I rush to teaches me something new, something I did not think possible. A few days ago was no exception.
I had just received this amazing sacrament about a week ago, but was ever willing to accompany my friend since he needed to go. It was a Friday evening and we went around looking for a priest, throughout the city. We finally found one, who had just finished his routine jog. He was tired and sweaty but when we asked him if he was available, he was more than happy to help us out.
As I watched him drag two chairs into the garden, I knew this was going to be a confession like no other. When have you confessed in a garden with birds and trees around? I waited for a while till father settled down and when he was ready, I made my way to him. He had a face that looked like it had always been smiling and I began telling him all the wrong I had done, justifying some of it and explaining the rest. When I was done, he still had that smile on his face, as if to say, Wow! That is a lot of guilt for just one week.
Then he said something I will never forget, he said
“I think you are focusing on the negative excessively. I know this is a confession and you have to tell me what you have done wrong, but I am going to take this moment to tell you something. I just want to say good job, and that is not just from me but also from Jesus.”
He actually patted me on the shoulder and said
“Jesus says good job, not for your sins, but for all the good you have done. For your entire journey thus far, your journey to come and for your path to holiness.”
I was completely shocked and didn’t really know how to react.
Had I done that much that it made a difference to God? Did this priest know something about me? Was he who I thought he was; a stranger, or actually someone who knew me? It took me a while to realize that no one had actually said that to me, and here God was saying it to me through a priest. Even if I had heard the words before, they did not strike me as much as these did. I was not prepared for something like this and I immediately broke down.
Human that I am, that was not the last time I sinned, but it made me realize that there was someone watching, someone who cared. And the most surprising bit of all was that he spoke to me in a way I never imagined.
Another confession, another adventure!