There was a strong reason for the Anglican priest John Henry Newman to become part of the Catholic Church and that was his witnessing a person coming out of the church after his confession. Newman was passing by the church when he saw the young man walking into the church, walking with the tear stained eyes. A few minutes later he noticed the young man walking out of the church and his demeanor was completely different. He saw the happiness in him and called out to him and asked, “what is the secret of your joy, you walked into the church crying but now you are happy. What were you doing inside?”
That young man explained the sacraments of the Catholic Church and the importance of confession to Newman. He explained that he had gone to confess his sins and Jesus forgives his sins completely during the confession and the priest who is sitting in the confession is a representative of Jesus. The fact that the young man’s sins were forgiven and that was the reason for his joy resonated with Newman and became a reason for his conversion.
With great conviction John Henry Newman said, ‘I want to confess as well. I am going from a motherless church to a church with a mother and walked out the Anglican church, and a high paying job at the Oxford University and became a member of the Catholic church. He studied again to become a catholic priest and went on to become a Bishop and a Cardinal. In the year 2010 on September 19th Pope Benedict the XVIth raised him up to the family of ‘Blessed’ in a ceremony held in Birmingham, England.
Blessed Newman goes on to write in his book that ‘miracles happen every time in the confessionals, He says that ‘we discard the sinner at the confessional and come out as the risen Christ after the confession.’ Sacrament of reconciliation makes us a new human being.
God is never tired of showering his mercy upon the mankind but very often we fail to go in search of his divine mercy. God calls us to his eternal love and mercy. And this mercy is free. God is waiting to show his mercy on us. We receive this divine mercy in the confessional. Lord Jesus will truly bless us and guide us to confess our sins and to walk away from the sinful ways. Even if we return to the path of sin, he is always calling out to us to reconcile with him.
In the Catechism of Catholic Church, it is said thus, “God created us without us: but he did not will to save us without us”(CCC 116). To receive his mercy, we must admit our faults. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (CCC 1847).
Confession is all about voicing out our sins. Regular confession will lead us to a path of holiness. Confessional is a place where Jesus is waiting to hold the sinner close to him and shower him with his mercy. Peter went out and wept bitterly in the pain that he committed sin and hurt his master Jesus. That tears caused Peter to become the first Pope and the leader of the Catholic Church. The confessional is the place which calls us to leave our sinful nature and to become saints like Peter.
The sins we commit after the absolution of our sins after baptism is forgiven in the confessionals. “Just so I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15: 7).
When we approach the confessional for reconciliation and to receive his mercy we should approach it like the sinful woman did when she approached Jesus. “Standing behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment” (Luke 7: 38).
Lord Jesus will forgive any sins as long as we repent sincerely and confess the sins. To receive this mercy, we need to ensure that we are confessing all our sins with repentance. Mother Mary tells us that confessing only some sins and hiding some to confess later, hurts her son the most. Let us pray that God gives us the grace to confess our sins sincerely and receive his mercy. “Strive for peace and holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12: 14).
Satan is striving hard to lead people to sins and to enslave the humanity in his clutches. Mother Mary in most of her apparitions ask people to pray the Divine Mercy Rosary so that we shall be freed from the hands of the satan. Even the faithful who lead a holy life are targeted by Satan. “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10: 12).
God is always ready to shower his mercy on the mankind, because God is love, kind, patient and good. Let us take shelter under his mercy. “My child have you sinned? Don’t do it again and pray for forgiveness for you have already done” (Sirach 21: 1). When they brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, he said, “Neither do I condemn you, go and do not sin again” (John 8: 11). Regular confession and daily mass will lead us to the path of holiness.
Let us approach the confessional and pray for the mercy of God. Lord Jesus asks us at every confession, “shall I wash you from the stain of your sins”. Every priest is a doctor. They have the healing power to cure the sickness of the souls. Let us approach the stream of God’s mercy with repentance. God is never tired of showering his mercy on us. So tlt us confess regularly and grow in holiness.