Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni - 1773

Evolution for the Catholic Student

Order 'Evolution for the Catholic Student' - Click on the image above

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Power of Confession

The Power of Confession

This week I’m writing about the Sacrament of Confession.  Earlier in the week I tried to show a Scriptural basis for the Sacrament and speculate at some of the Wisdom that would cause God to give us such a great gift.  However, I didn’t even get into the power that hearing the words, “I absolve you from your sins,” from someone who has just heard the worst side of us, has, or the action of Grace in the Sacrament.

I would like to approach these through a story.  A priest friend of mind told me this story that happened when he was a seminarian working in a parish during his “intern” year.  He had been put in charge of teaching second-year Confirmation.

Like all Confirmation classes, his included some students who were there because of a desire to grow closer to God, and some who were there because their parents had forced them to be.  There was one student (“Oscar”), however, who constantly gave him trouble.  He was a gang member from a broken home and made it clear that he didn’t much care about what the teacher was saying, and was there only to please his mother.  My friend was usually happy if Oscar was just quiet in the back of the room because at least that way he wasn’t disturbing class.

Shortly before Confirmation came the time when all the kids would be coming to Confession.  My friend sat in the church that Saturday and prayed for the kids as they were receiving the Sacrament.  He noticed something strange happening in the line, however.  Oscar was in line with the other students but whenever he got to the front, he stepped out of line and got in the back.

This happened about three times until there were only two people left in line.  When the student in front of Oscar went in, there was nowhere else for him to go; he had to be next.  Suddenly he turned around and started walking briskly to the back door of the church.  My friend, from the pew, got up and stood in the aisle, blocking Oscar’s way.  He put a hand on his shoulder and said, “You are going to Confession.  It will be okay.”

Well, Oscar did go, and my friend prayed the entire time.  After forty minutes, Oscar finally came out, with tears streaming down his face.  He sat next to my friend and said, “It’s true.  It’s really true,” and cried.

Oscar was confirmed, left the gang lifestyle, and eventually became a Bible study leader and a youth minister.  All because God had loosed his chains in the Sacrament of Confession.  There are a million such stories of people enslaved by sin who finally, by some Grace, bring those sins to Christ in the Sacrament of Confession, and are set free.

Please listen to the audio clip below as a holy priest gives his perspective on the Sacrament of Confession and the role he plays as a conduit of God’s unfathomable mercy.  And if there are any sins in your life for which you believe you can not be forgiven, bring them to Jesus.  Come to Confession, no matter how long it’s been, and see that no sins are too big for Jesus.  He is waiting for you and as Scripture says, behold, He makes all things new.