by Madeline Sanders, Columnist
We avoid things that we view as inconvenient. Often times, we deem “inconvenient” anything that requires a sacrifice. In a society that prides itself on convenience, we try to avoid anything that might stand in its way. But as Catholics, we know that making sacrifices is a fundamental aspect of the faith, and we understand that developing a relationship with God will require sacrifices.
There is one aspect of the faith in particular that embodies inconvenience. It requires a sacrifice our our time, and often, our pride. It requires humility. It asks us to examine ourselves, our actions, and our choices, and can make us uncomfortable. Yet, the grace received from it is so much greater than any sacrifice made on our part. If you haven’t already guessed, that aspect is Confession.
Often referred to as the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Confession gives Catholics the opportunity to confess their sins or wrongdoings to a priest and in turn, receive God’s forgiveness. Doesn’t seem so bad, right? Why would we put off being forgiven? More often than not, we feel like it is an obligation that we should “probably go to” rather than a positive opportunity to receive God’s gift of grace. For the majority of us, we hear about the value of the Sacrament through homilies or family members who frequent the Sacrament. But, until we experience the outpouring of grace from the Sacrament, we are left asking ourselves why we should even go at all. What do Catholics truly get out of the Sacrament?
Perhaps it is best to think of the Sacrament of Confession as an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with God. Think about it this way: As humans, our lives are full of relationships. In all of these relationships, we of course want them to “work out”. No one wants to deal with a conflict-filled relationship. We want others to forgive us when we’ve done wrong and vice versa. We don’t want past damages to define present relationships. If this is true with close ones whom we love, why wouldn’t it be true with God? Too often, we view Catholicism as just a religion: a set of rules or commands around which we should order our lives. But Catholicism is so much more than that. It is a relationship: A relationship between God and every single person He has created. We are called into relationship with our Creator. He made us, He loves us, and He desires to be with us. Admitting our wrongdoings and asking for his forgiveness is truly the least that we can do.
If it’s been a month or ten years since you’ve been to Confession, know that our Lord is eternally patient. He longs to forgive us. As Saint Maria Goretti once said, “He loves, He hopes, He waits. Our Lord prefers to wait Himself for the sinner for years rather than keep us waiting an instant.”