Over the last couple of years I have made a decision to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation as often as I can. One church in the area makes the sacrament available on weekdays, although most churches make it available on Saturday afternoons.
Since I am an in-home salesperson, I am out and about most Saturdays. I headed to the nearest church on this particular Saturday for confession. I did a quick examination of conscience. It had only been a week since my last confession, and it had been a good week. Pornography hasn’t been an issue for quite some time, but I still fall into masturbation or lustful thoughts from time to time.
I went into the confessional and started the opening prayer: “Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last confession.” I paused for what seemed like a long time. I then said to the priest, “I got nothing.” He chuckled and asked why I was here. I explained that if the opportunity presented itself, I get to confession as often as possible. He said that he couldn’t argue with the strategy, and prayed a blessing over me.
As I read the Liturgy of the Word the following morning, the theme of the readings was God’s love. The reflection following the readings examined how God loves and asked this question: How does my love measure up to God’s love? I was confronted by how short I fall from the nature and the glory of God. I was struck by how goofy it was some 18 hours earlier to think that I was without sin!
As I pondered these thoughts, I came to realize that the grace I received the afternoon before was meant to open my eyes to the wonder and awe of God’s greatness. It was not meant to cause me to focus on my pride and arrogance. Instead of feeling embarrassed about my ignorance of my sinfulness, I was drawn to marvel at God’s greatness. I grew in my appreciation that we are called to look to God and not ourselves.
How often ought we go to confession? As often as possible because we can meet Jesus there and receive more of His salvific power. When I go to confession and I receive the prayer of absolution, I feel God lifting me up as a child who is learning to walk. I have fallen. I may be frustrated. I may feel pain. But he lifts me up, brushes off the dirt, and encourages me to try again.
As I was leaving the confessional recently the priest said to me, “Young man, you are in a state of grace! Sit with that awareness for a minute.” I now hunger for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I urge you to go to confession regularly and experience God’s love, grace, and mercy in a way that you never imagined!
Jim Gorski is a 57-year-old father of four children who has been married to the same woman for 34 years. He completed his master’s degree in social work in 1984 and has directed church music groups for the past 39 years. He remains a grateful child of the most high God and strives to trust in God’s loving mercy and His ability to provide for Jim’s every need.