Monday, November 30, 2009


I had an awesome talk with a friend this afternoon about Catholicism. A big part of the discussion was on confession.

When I was Protestant, I would have said that going to confession seems counterintuitive to the concept of Christ's coming making it possible for man to interact with God on a personal level. Confession appears to require that man come close to God through another person, the priest. As if you must have the priest to have Christ's forgiveness.

Straight out, I feel very attached to the essential personal contact we have with God without the need for any human intervention. My Catholic friend suggested that she too would agree that if someone were to ask God on their own for forgiveness, it would be given to them. She also offered me this illustration of confession:

A child is told to stop jumping on the couch by their parents, but when the parents are out, still decides to do it. The child falls off the couch and breaks his arm. When the parents return home, they will most certainly forgive the child when asked and possibly offer some penalty or maybe not at all. However, despite the parents' forgiveness, the arm is still broken. The parents will still take their child to the doctor to have the arm properly set to heal.

Christ forgives us at our asking, but damage has occurred to our hearts and in our relationship to the community (depending on the sin). Going to confession is a step to healing and reparations. NOT that we must do things to be forgiven, but that it heals us to speak to a physical representative of Christ, to feel his hand lay on us and voice forgiveness. Confession is a sacrament, and the sacraments are God's way of reaching our senses and acknowledging our physicality, our humanity.

Another thought that occurred to me is that in scripture, when Jesus healed people, he not only spoke, but he touched. He could have healed with only words, but he used his touch as well. The act of confession seems to follow in this line of action.

It's been a while since my very first confession. I think with the correct way of viewing it, confession could be very therapeutic. It would help lift burdens off and help direct my mind to moving forward.

***A few phrases I want to remember from the conversation:

"I was saved (at baptism), am being saved (through life choices) and will be saved (when Jesus comes again."

"Sacraments are when Heaven touches Earth."

"Priests are a representative of God and of the community." They are Christ at that moment.

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