Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook


Father Muench Says...

Considering confession

July 26, 2023

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

The sacrament of penance is also called reconciliation. In faith, we seek reconciliation with God the Father, so we go to confession. This sacrament is an important part of Catholic spirituality. The Gospels tell us that Jesus spoke often of God the Father’s great love for us all – a love that leads to forgiveness of sins. Today, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts about confession.

I believe that the experience of confession should be a joyful experience. I encourage you to recognize that confession must be a very positive experience. This sacrament of penance is about conversion – a change in life, a plan for the future. The ritual of confession demands a good preparation for a penitent. Let us talk about this.

Do you remember how Jesus welcomed Peter back into friendship when they met after the Lord’s resurrection? Remember, Peter had denied even knowing Jesus during the Lord’s arrest and crucifixion. Now Jesus wants to welcome Peter back into a close relationship. He takes Peter aside and asks him three times, “Peter, do you love me?” Jesus wanted Peter to realize how important it was that despite his denials, Jesus realized that Peter truly loved the Lord and wanted to have a good relationship with him. He could accept Peter’s failings.

I believe that each person preparing for confession is asked this same question by Jesus. “Do you love me?” “Are you still a good person despite your failings?” Jesus still loves us. We must renew our relationship with the Lord. So, do you still love God? Do you want to be in a good relationship with God? Each time we come to confession seeking forgiveness, we must begin by declaring our love for the Lord. We want to make our friendship with the Lord alive and strong. If our Lord for the Lord is not all it should be, then our confession may be meaningless.

Next, we must take time for a prayer of gratitude, gratitude for God’s blessings throughout our lives and gratitude for God’s forgiveness. This time for gratitude opens our hearts so we realize how loved we are by our God. So, we must begin to examine our conscience to realize our failings, our sins and all that keeps us from the love our God and Savior has for each of us. We must realize all that must be changed.

So, now is the time for a plan. Confession is all about a plan and about the changes that must be made in the future. As a confessor, I hear confessions of sin. Each time, I want to say to the person, “So, what are you going to do about all this.” Forgiveness must be the beginning of some changes, of a new life. Here is the Lord challenging a penitent to become a new person. All the prayers, as well as the absolution of forgiveness, seek God’s love and support that a person finds God’s help for the future.

After the ritual of confession comes a most important time for the forgiven penitent to open his or her heart to seek the presence of God, seeking the support and loving presence of the Holy Spirit into our hearts. I encourage a time of silence before the Lord to allow our Lord and Savior to lead and guide us.

This sacrament of penance is important for all Catholics. It is a transformative moment. Many tell me they do not know just what to say to the priest confessor in confession. I suggest honesty.

I do want you to remember that the seal of the confessional is the most important of the many promises that a priest makes. As a confessor, I know offering the gift of forgiveness is a huge privilege. I am always ready to talk about any situation that is brought up in confession. Finally, I pray that you all find peace and joy in this important sacrament of penance.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.