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Sacrament of Confession

Feb 25

Written by:
2/25/2018 12:00 AM  RssIcon

Perhaps the biggest challenge that we face to our own ongoing conversion is the recognition of our blind spots to conversion. If we never learn of the areas where we need to change, we will never actually try to change them. This is one of the reasons the Church exhorts a daily examination of conscience, as this can be a great tool to help recognize these blind spots. Having a list of questions can be a great asset in performing this task, as well, because even as a priest, I sometimes struggle with my own spiritual life to both recognize and then implement the needed changes for me to become close to whom God wants me to become.

Connected with an examination of conscience is the celebration and reception of the Sacrament of Confession. It is in this Sacrament that we recognize our own weakness and bring that weakness to the Lord for His grace, power and forgiveness; all as aids to our ongoing conversion and turning of the heart towards the Lord, as we are called to do in a particular way during this great season of Lent.

For many who make a habit of a frequent reception of the Sacrament (somewhere between weekly and monthly reception of the Sacrament), they find such therapy and freedom in the ongoing look at the state of their soul before God and the ability to find those small steps of progress that can be traced in such a frequent use of the Confessional.

However, many are only able to make it to the Sacrament on a yearly or semi-annual basis. This is not bad, and this is the basis of the ‘Easter Duty’ that is one of the precepts of the Church, after all. The challenge in this approach (and these Confessions often happen during the Advent and Lenten Penance Services that we hold towards the end of the season) is that it does not allow for a greater depth of examination that can be required to more completely root out the sin that can be habitually grafted into ones life. The grace of the Sacrament is still present, that is for sure, but the efficacy of that grace could certainly be greater!

Finally, there are also those who have fallen completely away from a practice of the Sacrament altogether. It can be as simple as the habit of going was never formed, or there is not an awareness of why one should go to the Sacrament, or even to the much more serious: ‘I’m embarrassed by what I have to confess…’ that binds many in fear. For those who have not formed the habit of going, I would invite you to consider the possibility. It is a great Sacrament oriented towards the freedom that comes from knowing, loving and serving God. After I receive the Sacrament, I know I always feel just a slight be taller, the weight of my sins has been lifted and freed. It is a feeling unlike any other.

To those who feel ‘I have nothing to confess,’ this is where a good examination of conscience comes back into play. There are so many hidden areas of conversion that we can go through to find that deeper and greater freedom in Jesus. Having a good examine can lead you into that freedom.

Finally, to those who embarrassed by previous sinfulness, the Lord is calling to you, in a particular way, to come to Him in this Sacrament. Please do not worry about what the priest will think, for me: I will just love you more because you had the courage to lay out your deepest fears at the feet of Jesus, and I just happened to be there. If you find yourself in this category, I invite you, in particular, to the Light is On for You this coming Tuesday evening, from 7-9, in every parish Church in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. This Sacrament is so important, especially to those who have fallen away from the practice of this Sacrament, every priest has committed to being available at this time, across the diocese. 

It is a unique and powerful opportunity to experience the healing freedom of Jesus Christ; please join me and my brother priests in the openness to receive the graces Jesus wants to give to you in this Sacrament this week.

God Bless
Fr. Kyle Schnippel

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