Why Go To Confession

12 DEC | DAY 14

SEE WHAT FATHER MIKE SCHMITZ HAS TO SAY ABOUT GOING TO CONFESSION.

Father Mike Schmitz is the chaplain for Newman Catholic Campus Ministries at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He also serves as the director of the Office of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth. Known nationally for his inspiring homilies, consistent hilarity, and genuine coolness, Father Schmitz is quickly becoming a Catholic household name in America.

Reflection

By Matt Fradd

Several years ago, as I stood in line for the sacrament of confession about to confess for the umpteenth time a sin I couldn’t seem to quit, I began to fear that God’s mercy was running out. I didn’t doubt that God would pardon a person who turned to him after a life of the most heinous sins imaginable. What I did doubt was that he would continue to forgive me. How many times have I said, “I will never do this again,” only to return to that sin like a dog to its vomit (see 2 Peter 2:22)?

At that moment, by God’s grace, no doubt, I was reminded of the incident in the Gospel of Matthew when Peter approached Our Lord with a question:

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

Now Jesus did not mean that Peter was to forgive his brother 490 times and then no more. No, rather, “seventy times seven” signified perfection and consistency. It then occurred to me, if God’s forgiveness is not like that—perfect and consistent—then Jesus was commanding Peter to act in a way that was contrary to the nature of God.

The truth is, God is infinite in all of his attributes. In fearing that God’s mercy was slowly evaporating, I was unintentionally making God in my image. If you have ever been tempted to doubt God’s mercy as I did, or if you’re tempted to do that now, please ingrain the following words from St. Claude de la Colombiere into your brain:

I glorify you in making known how good you are towards sinners, and that your mercy prevails over all malice, that nothing can destroy it, that no matter how many times or how shamefully we fall, or how criminally, a sinner need not be driven to despair of [God’s] pardon.  .  It is in vain that your enemy and mine sets traps for me every day. He will make me lose everything else before the hope that I have in your mercy.

Regardless of where you have been or what you have done, be at peace. The same God who forgave Moses the murderer, Rahab the prostitute, David the adulterer, and Peter the denier will forgive you. All you have to do is seek that forgiveness with a contrite heart. The only sin God won’t forgive is the one you will not ask forgiveness for.

Excerpt taken from Beautiful Mercy. Get your free copy of the book (just pay shipping).

Focus

God’s mercy is infinite. His forgiveness is infinite.

Act

Open yourself to the “sacrament of mercy,” as Father Mike calls it. Find a time to go to confession.

Pray

Lord, give me the courage to ask for forgiveness, and help me to let you heal me.

QUESTION

Do you have a story about the impact of the sacrament of reconciliation in your life?


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