X is for Confession as an eXamination of Conscience

Jesus listening to confessions
Jesus is in the Confessional. Catholics only receive forgiveness through the Lord

As an elementary school teacher, I’d often have my students call home when they missed an assignment or broke some class rule. Sometimes, it broke my heart to see their adorable little faces as they dialed. They’d look at me with their wide round eyes and mumble explanations to mom or dad.

I didn’t have them call out of meanness or spite. Mostly, I wanted them to take responsibility for their actions by owning up to and thinking about what they had done and because, if I was consistent with the consequences, they’d be less likely to repeat their mistakes.

Once the consequences had been served, whether they entailed completing additional assignments or missing recess, they were forgiven and could begin with a clean slate and a greater chance for success.

My knowing this didn’t make it easy for my students to make those calls.

My knowing how difficult those calls were didn’t stop me from having my students make them.

Why Make Confession? – Examination of Conscience

Confession is a Sacrament many non-Catholics don’t comprehend. They understandably, but mistakenly, assume Catholics seek forgiveness for sins from the priest, but Catholics know,

only the Lord can forgive sins.

We go to Confession because of Biblical evidence. We see a priest make atonement for a man who has committed adultery (Leviticus 19:22), the masses baptized and acknowledging sins (Matt 3:6 and Mark 1:5), and the disciples receiving the power of the holy Spirit as Jesus tells them, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20:23), to point out a few examples.

Knowing this doesn’t always make Confession easy though. There are people who approach the Sacrament happily with the understanding that they will be forgiven, but somehow, I still feel like a child calling home to my Father.

At the time the sin is committed, I know what should be done, and yet, I’ve chosen to do wrong anyway. Day after day, sometimes second after second, I let down my Father in choosing sin over His Commands.

Confession Makes Me Squirm

Confession is a lesson in humility, and every time I make my Confession, I squirm uneasily. I don’t enjoy admitting my wrongdoing – some of them committed over and over, some deeply hurtful to myself or to others.

I squirm knowing the priest now knows my sins while I’m reminded that, although I may hide my sins on earth, they are always in plain sight  of our Lord who tells us to confess to one another.

I repent by confessing my sins here and suffering the consequences in this life rather than in the next.

I squirm but am grateful to our priests who have the difficult job of non-judgmentally listening to evil after evil as they pass on the wrongdoings of their parishioners to the Lord for forgiveness.

I am grateful that the priests takes up my pitiful offering of repentance to the Father – again!

I must walk into the confessional, but the priest helps makes that phone call home for me.

And, just like the child in my class, I leave the Confessional vowing to do better

and at the same time, I know my Father has forgiven me through His son Jesus Christ,

that I am forgiven,

that I am still Loved.

Taking My Boys to Confession – A Funny Little Story!

Your Turn to Share:

Whether you are Catholic or not, I’d like to hear your thoughts on Confession.

For Questions to Ask for a Good Confession:

A Guide for Confession – Catholic Online

Making a Good Confession (Uses the 10 Commandments as a Guide) – The Light is on for You

photo credit

*Please accept my apologies for back dating this post approximately 24 hours.

God Bless… 

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