Ed’s wonderful reflection on the sacrament of Reconciliation led me to my own thinking.
I don’t have any profound insights to share on this other than a desire to strongly encourage you to build a better habit of visiting the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I often hear of Catholics who don’t attend often, or haven’t been back since they first received the Sacrament! (Pastors haven’t helped this, I cannot call the last time I heard a solid homily in a parish setting on the sacrament – if at all)
There really is no better feeling in life than walking out of a confessional. I can never help but have a smile on my face, and am sometimes surprised when other penitents don’t.
If you think it’s weird, or you don’t feel comfortable, or are afraid the priest is going to judge you, well get over that IMMEDIATELY. I heard a great homily by a former Benedictine abbot who is living with us at the Seminary on sabbatical about this issue. His message was clear: do not discount the overwhelming grace that the confessor receives from the sacrament. By hearing the struggles, the pains, the sorrows, and the suffering of people a confessor has the opportunity to grow in sympathy, love, and compassion for others.
Cardinal George once said “some of the most important conversations on earth happen in a confessional.” It’s hard to argue with that.
So if you haven’t been to confession in a while, go! There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.