" Only one thing remains: to live as a perfect Redemptorist and to persevere in this vocation unto death. "
Blessed Peter Donders C.Ss.R
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RYM - Confession talk and discussion

This article was first published in the March 2018 edition of Bishop Eton's in house magazine BE Alive.

 ConfessionRYM

 

The Sacrament of Confession is probably the most misunderstood of all the sacraments. It is something which, for many, is a source of apprehension, fear, and in some cases, terror. The Redemptorist Young Adult group recently had an enlightening talk from Mgr Peter Fleetwood about this sacrament, and we put to rest some of the myths and mysteries surrounding it. 

What exactly is this sacrament? First of all, it is a sacrament of love, not fear. Jesus stands at our side, with open arms, ready to forgive us no matter what we have done. It is a conversation, which you approach when you feel genuine repentance. It is not a habit, or something we have to tick off our "to do" list once a week, month, or year. It is a real, tangible connection with God that we are called towards.

Sometimes people go to confession because they think it's what they should do. They say the same things each time and walk away unchanged. This is a misunderstanding of the sacrament, and puts a barrier in the way of us experiences God's love fully. If you think this is you, then next time you go to confession, ask God to open your heart, and truly listen to Him as you examine your conscience before confession. Are you genuinely sorry? Do you really want to change (even if this feels like an impossible task)?

So what is it that scares us about this sacrament? Perhaps you were brought up strictly - taught that every tiny thought or deed was sinful, or that you had to go to confession every week, as if it were a chore rather than a beautiful encounter with God. Perhaps you have had a bad experience with a priest who wasn't as full of God's love and mercy as you'd expected. Perhaps we feel too unworthy to receive God's forgiveness. Whatever our hang ups, we all need to remember, we are children of God and He will welcome each and every one of us back in the same way the father received the Prodigal Son back: joyfully, and with open arms.

I remember that there was about a ten year gap between my first confession and my second. I thought, what's the point? Will it be scary? What if I don't remember the words?! Since then, I have developed a deeper understanding of how wonderful this sacrament is, how amazing I feel afterwards, and how much my relationship with God has grown because of this. 

This Lent, God is asking you to come back to him, with all your heart. His arms are open wide. What's holding you back? 

(We have compiled a list of times when priests are available in the local area to hear confessions. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information)

 

- Natasha Pritchard, Redemptorist Youth Ministry.