Those of you who are not followers of Fr. Z's blog should be.
The following is from his latest post ...
Jesus Christ, God and Savior, gave us the Sacrament of Penance, of Reconciliation.
This is the ordinary means by which He desires us to seek forgiveness for our actual, post-baptismal sins.
There is no sin that any limited little mortal can commit which is so bad that God cannot forgive it.
Christ gave His own power to forgive sins to the Church He established, the Catholic Church.
Priests exercise this ministry in the Church, acting by virtue of their ordination, as "another Christ".
When you confess your sins to a priest and he gives you absolution, you sins are taken away… not merely covered over or set aside. They are no more. You may remember them in sorrow, but they no longer harm your relationship with God.
Mortal sins break your saving friendship with God. Mortal sin places you at risk of eternal separation from God and the happiness of heaven… forever.
Confession and absolution repairs that rupture and returns you to a state of friendship with God.
Awareness of mortal sin should drive you to a confessional.
In our weakness we will sometimes put off going to confession. Perhaps fear or embarrassment keeps us away. Time slips by. Days become weeks become months become years.
Then you die and go to your judgment.
So … maybe the priest is not friendly or the confession schedule is a little narrow…. so what? A better confessor is some distance away… so? It is a little hard… not convenient… too much to do…. And?
What is a moment of embarrassment, what is an interruption of your oh-so-important routine compared to the eternity of heaven or of hell?
You do not know the moment when your reckoning will come, friends.
Have you fallen into the trap, willingly or innocently, of going to "general absolution" without making a confession of your sins in the proper way?
The Sacrament of Penance heals your soul, strengthens you against sin, and – simply on the basic level of peace of mind – works wonders.
I will never forget one somewhat slow afternoon in a confessional… just a bit bored… I heard someone get in and slid open the window. "Bless me Father, I have sinned. It has been sixty years since my last confession…."
When we were finished he wept and said "I’m free."
I know exactly how that man felt. I simply cannot put into words the feelings of freedom and gratitude that came over me after my first confession in almost 30 years.
Thank you, Jesus, for this wonderful gift.