Get Thee to the Confessional!


Get Thee to the Confessional!
by Mr. Phil Kosloski, Director of Adult Formation

Most people dread going to confession. Why do I have to confess my sins to a priest? Can't I go straight to God? Doesn't God already know my sins?

The short answer is that confession is for our sake and not God's. God knows everything about our lives. He knows every strand of hair on our head. Obviously He knows every sin we commit. However, like a loving father He wants us to approach Him for forgiveness.

As any parent knows, when your child does something wrong right in front of you, what do you tell them? "Say you're sorry!" Now do parents do this for their sake? No. They know what the child did wrong. However, all good parents want their children to know that what they did was wrong and that they need to apologize for it. Similarly, God knows our sins, but He wants us to make the effort, realize what we did was indeed wrong and then apologize for our wrongdoing.

Why can't I confess my sins straight to God? Sin by its very nature is communal. As much as we deny it, all of our sins hurt other people. Even our thoughts injure our communion with others for they lead to actions or words that damage. Consequently, we need to not only reconcile with God, but also with the Church. The priest is the representative of the Church and he reconciles the sinner, bringing them back into full communion with the People of God.

Also, we must always remember that it is not the priest who absolves our sins but God! God uses the priest as an instrument of grace for the penitent. The priest is acting in persona Christ, in the person of Christ. Jesus Christ is the one who is truly there in the sacrament and He alone grants pardon.
Sin is also naturally prideful. Every sin stems from a prideful attitude that "I" know better than God. Gossiping and slandering about friends and relatives makes the statement that "I" have the ability to enact judgment. "I" know what is good and what is evil. "I" have a special knowledge that no one else has. "I" have sex outside of marriage, because "I" think it is OK. As a result, confessing our sins demands a humiliation. We must approach the priest and admit our fault and say that "I detest all my sins." There is a reason why we don't want to go to confession to a priest: we don't want to be humiliated! We want to keep our sin to ourselves as a pet that no one knows about. Going to a priest "lets the cat out of the bag" and we can no longer keep our sin hidden. However, the first step to sanctity demands this humility. The only way we can get to Heaven is if we recognize this fact: God is God and we are not.

The Good News

Thankfully, there is good news. God is not out to smite us. Instead, He beckons us to the confessional and like a loving father, embraces us. Read the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke chapter 15. There you will see an image of God that is not a white man with a grey beard sitting on a cloud, looking down upon us and ready to strike poor sinners with a lightning bolt. That is not who God is! God is an "eternal exchange of love" and He has "destined us to share in that exchange" as the Catechism tells us. The reason why He wants us to go to confession is because He loves us!

Read More at St. Josemaria Adult Faith Formation Blog


Don't know how to go to confession? There are pamphlets in the back of Church as well as online. You can check out an Examination of Conscience at: 




Get Thee to the Confessional!

More resources on Confession: