Confession can be scary. But it is always worth going to, no matter how we feel about it before hand.
The graces and mercy that flow from this Sacrament always conquer the fear and anxiety that we might feel. People will find a million reasons to avoid this gift. (Read more in this post .) Sometimes it helps to hear the stories of those who have gone before us. That is why we have created this list of 8 stories of Confession that are sure to uplift you and lead you to the Confession line.
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If after reading this you need some help on the “how to” part of Confession, check out this guide.
Here, we share with you eight personal and beautiful stories about people’s experiences of encounters in or before Confession. We hope that all these stories inspire and encourage you, especially if you are nervous about going to the Sacrament.
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1. The Compassionate Priest
[blockquote source=”Ruth”] I once went to Confession and I was so nervous that I didn’t know how to begin. So I told the priest how I was feeling and he prayed with me. His prayer was so understanding and compassionate that I then had the courage to start making my confession. [/blockquote]
2. A Life Changing Penance
[blockquote source=”Alanna”]This summer a visiting priest heard my confession after I had read the book ‘How Dante can Save Your Life’. My confession was so detailed by the examination the book gave me that he gave me a whole book as penance: ‘Consoling the Heart of Jesus’. Best penance ever! It took me a month but it was so good! Also the priest later told me that he got the book and read it all night and agreed it was very good! [/blockquote]
3. Fidelity in Prayer
[blockquote source=”Alex”]Every year I go to Lourdes, and when I’m in Lourdes I always go to Confession. There are all these little rooms, each one has a priest in it, and a little sign outside with what languages are available. The English queue was long, but right opposite were the Spanish confessionals and there was no-one there, so I decided to confess in Spanish which I have done before. The priest was really nice and I told him about a lot of issues I was having with my family and especially with my mum. The following year I went back to Lourdes and when I went to Confession the same Spanish priest was there and I went to him again. After I had finished confessing, he said, “You were here last year I think?” and I said I was and he said, “How is your mother? I have been praying for her all year.” And I thought, if this is the fidelity of one priest to a woman he doesn’t know, how much greater must the love and fidelity of God be! I don’t need to stress so much about this because God is totally going care of me and my family![/blockquote]
4. Fear of Confessing Face to Face
[blockquote source=”Maria”]During parish missions in the Archdiocese of Miami priests usually hold Confessions face to face. You can imagine the horror at the thought of confessing your sins while look someone in the eyes. It’s always easier to confess behind a division but for a while I’ve challenged myself to confess face to face. However, I suddenly realized with one catch-Confession had to be with a priest I didn’t know. Talk about confessing behind a division or wall! This Lent, a priest who is a family friend was giving the Lenten Mission at a local parish. Time for confessions came, the Holy Spirit was obviously looking to pour His mercy out in this moment because I would have never considered Confession with him, but I got up, stood in line and when it was my turn he listened intently to everything I had to say, allowing me to vent. When he finally decided to speak, he did so in a way that I never expected. He reminded me that life can be tough and it can take a toll on any of us, but there is always, always someone by our side willing to help us with our cross. There was no judgment or scolding, just mercy and love.[/blockquote]
5. A Divine Appointment
[blockquote source=”Becky”]A few years ago my husband Jared and I had one of the biggest arguments we’ve ever had. I can’t even remember what caused it now, but I was pregnant which usually has something to do with our big fights. The next day I was scheduled for a three-hour glucose test. This means that you sit at the doctor’s office and they test your glucose every hour. I was dreading it, but more than that I really, really wanted to go to Confession. That night Jared and I were supposed to leave for a weekend getaway and I wanted my soul to be clean of all the sins I committed through our fight. I was so sad because I knew there would be no way for me to go to Confession with my day tied up due to the testing and the limited times for Confession at my parish. As only God can do, a priest showed up at the doctor’s office. He was tagging along to help a friend who was sick. My heart was racing, but I knew it was too much of a coincidence. I explained my situation to him (as everyone in the office listened in!) and begged him to hear my confession. He was the most kind, gracious, loving priest. A true gift! He was happy to hear my confession. We found a spot just outside of the office and he spent nearly an hour listening to me. I wrote down his advice and words of encouragement. A penance to enjoy my time with my husband and find ways to bless him is one that I’m still living out today! I felt so much joy after leaving the doctor’s office that day. I felt refreshed and renewed. I cried many tears of thankfulness knowing how God perfectly orchestrated that time of Confession so that I could experience His mercy, grace and forgiveness. In case he ever reads this, a big thank you to that compassionate priest willing to serve in any circumstances![/blockquote]
6. A Priest Prompted by the Holy Spirit
[blockquote source=”Lauren”]I was in Lourdes and I was having a really tough time with my own personal issues, which were making me more distant from the Lord. I was sat down in the Grotto when I was approached by a priest who said he felt a calling to speak to me. So we sat down together and I talked about many things, things which I hadn’t shared with anyone. This priest was so relaxed and peaceful that I felt in a sense that he already knew what I was telling him. I felt so comfortable opening up to him that I suppose at that moment in time I felt as if I was speaking to the Lord face to face and he already new what I was coming from my lips.
This priest spoke to me as if he knew everything about me, it was as if this man had been walking beside me through all my times of trouble. I couldn’t believe that, firstly, this priest honestly wanted to or knew I had to speak to him. But secondly that he was able to make me feel so secure about my life in those small moments. In that instant it was as if I was freed from all the sadness, pain and anger.
That confession has to be one of the most significant points in my life. I felt the Lord literally carrying me and stretching out his hand to me.[/blockquote]
7. Unpacking the Heart
[blockquote source=”Patricia”]I found Confession hard when I was little and I still do. I always feel like the fat mouse from Cinderella trying to juggle all the corn, which for me is how I see all the rubbish I tend to carry, sometimes without realising it. The hurt and pain in my heart just gets worse when the load is too much. So on this particular occasion I shared it in Confession, chatting to the priest and explaining it with the fat mouse analogy. There was Praise and Worship music on in the background during this time of Confession and I heard the line of a song which was “lay it all down.” At that moment, something inside me said, ‘Enough is enough, just unpack your heart, I’m here’. So I did. The priest said to me, “You belong to God, don’t let anyone put you down or try to tell you what you are not. He has made you for heaven!”.[/blockquote]
8. A Personal Relationship with Jesus
[blockquote source=”Winnie”]I love this Sacrament. It has occurred to me that Confession is where I do experience that idea so many Evangelicals refer to as “the personal relationship with Jesus.” Yes, this is of course true of the Eucharist also, to no smaller degree, but there is something so personal and intimate about Reconciliation, whereas Mass is communal and public. In the confessional, for me, it really is like stepping outside of time and confronting the immediacy of sorrow, speaking the truth of my sins out loud, and experiencing the flood of God’s mercy and love. All that is palpable. Plus, the objective knowledge that I have been forgiven. It’s awesome.[/blockquote]
If you are interested in reading what it is like for a priest to hear confessions, then check out these two brilliant articles, from Msgr. Charles Popeand Fr. Mike Schmitz!