An Appointment With the Lord
Imagine that you are given a great opportunity: you hear that on a certain day, at a certain time, Jesus Christ is going to grant appointments to those who wish to speak with Him. You are one of the lucky ones to get an appointment with the Lord.
You come in and ask the Lord to bless you. Our Lord, looking at you with great love, says, "My dear child, I suffered and died so that I could take all the guilt of your sins upon me, so that you may be free of them. Will you let me do this?"
"Yes Lord!" you answer.
"Then, repent of your sins."
"Tell me what they are, that you are sorry for committing them, and tell me that you intend never to commit them again."
"But Lord, you know what they are!" you say.
A look of pain and sorrow casts a shadow over His face. "Yes, I know. But do you?" he says. "Do you love me enough to tell me that you are sorry? Are you repentant of each of your sins? You have been given the gift of free will. Just as you sin through free will, the gift of my forgiveness can only be accepted through free will. I cannot make you repent."
"I am sorry Lord! Please forgive me, for I am sorry for each sin. I am sorry for ...." and you go one, declaring everything you can remember that you did wrong.
"But Lord," you say. "I am worried. Perhaps I am not sorry enough. Perhaps I am only sorry for my sins because I fear the loss of heaven, or going to hell. What if I do not love you enough?"
Our Lord smiles, and places His hand upon your head. "My dear one, I would have died on the cross, even if you were the only sinner in the world. I wish to forgive you more than you wish to be forgiven! So do not worry or be anxious. As long as you come to Me, and declare yourself sorry for your sins, you have My promise - I absolve you from your sins!"
Now can you imagine if any of us had the opportunity to have such a visit with Christ? To hear His voice, saying "Your sins are forgiven!" What a great blessing!
Well, that is precisely what happens every time we go to Confession. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, was instituted by Christ to give us this very opportunity.
Do not think of confession as a limit on God's forgiveness. Christ will forgive us as soon as we repent with perfect contrition. But who can know whether they are perfectly sorry for sin? No one. So think of Confession as the opportunity Our Lord gives us to hear His assurance of forgiveness. All we need is the minimum requirement, to declare our intention to repent by declaring our sins, and His grace will provide the rest. We have His word for it, for he told his apostles: "Who's sins you forgive, they are forgiven."
Just as he does at the altar where he celebrates the Eucharist and at each one of the sacraments the priest, as the minister of penance, works "in persona Christi" - in the person of Christ. And because strictly speaking, we are speaking to the person of Christ, the priest need know nothing about us. In fact, the Church very strictly declares that people have the right to go to confession anonymously. There are screens in confessionals for this very reason. All that matters is that we be given the chance to declare our sins before Christ.
When we remember to whom we are speaking to in the confessional, we will approach the sacrament more frequently, more lovingly, more peacefully and more gratefully. And the more you go, I assure you, the less of a burden Confession will become and the more it will be seen as a special appointment with our blessed Lord Himself.
Originally posted April 10th, 2011.
The Light is On for You (Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland)
Celebrating the Sacrament of Penance: Questions and Answers (USCCB)
The Forgiveness of Sins (Catholic Answers)
In preparation of our Easter celebration, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland is inviting Catholics in the State of Maine, especially those who have been away for a while from the Church or the confessional, to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
From March 26th to March 30th, at least one church in every parish/cluster will be open for a period of confession and quiet prayer. Some parishes and clusters will offer additional hours as well.
For times and locations, click here or contact a parish near you.
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