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The Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist

The Mother Church of Stamford • 279 Atlantic Street, Stamford, Connecticut 06901 • Phone: (203) 324-1553 • Fax: (203) 359-2660 • Email: stjc@optonline.net

"Sometimes Confession can be seen as something only for those who sin badly, but not me. In history, we see Saints frequent Confession; Pope St. John Paul II and St. Mother Teresa went once a week, as did so many others. The healing experienced in Confession comes from the deep contrition one feels for sins, and the supernatural grace of God."

Confession, the great gift from God

by Fr. Brian P. Gannon

"By His wounds we are healed" (1 Peter 2:24).

It seems a paradox to the ears; how can we be healed by someone else’s wounds?

What heals us is the sacrifice of Our Lord and the incredible, infinite love He showed despite the scourging and crucifixion. The wounds inflicted on Our Lord are wounds caused by hatred, but His response was one of infinite love. Through His Passion, Our Lord teaches us many treasures.

Why was the God of Love so hated by those He loved, and even put to death? St. Augustine asked this same question 1,600 years ago, and answered it by saying that we become so subtly engrossed in our own pride, that God’s entrance into the world, like for King Herod, becomes a threat to the little kingdoms we set up for ourselves.

In humility we must admit that we may say we accept God completely, but when called to absolute fidelity, we can balk, like St. Peter or others, because of pride, because of habit, because our world view cannot be wrong. But then comes the Passion of Our Lord, which if we really meditate on it with great grace, should melt our hearts with love and sorrow. It reminds us that every word Our Lord teaches us is a salve for the soul; it has a healing property that can work wonders if we only accept the whole word with love.

God is incredibly patient and loving, and walks with us as we struggle to grow in perfection. The Ten Commandments; the Sermon on the Mount; every parable; the temptations in the desert; and of course the Passion and death all become striking words and images meant to jar us out of worldly distractions and remind us of the things of eternity.

When we contemplate that God becomes a man who has His flesh ripped from His bones; who is derided and humiliated by all of us; then crucified; we are called to recognize life must change, that the restlessness I feel each day is rooted in the desire to be healed in my soul from pride, from sin, from my own fragility – that is desperate for God’s stunning, ever healing divine love. When Christ is followed, the soul has peace; when resisted, anger, resentment, grudges, and desire to strike at people grows.

Healing is exactly the nature of Confession. Many times someone will joke and say, "Hey, if I confess the roof will fall in," or, "If I confess you will need five days, Father." No! I never had a Confession that lasted more than a few minutes, unless someone had some questions they wished to discuss.

Sometimes Confession can be seen as something only for those who sin badly, but not me. In history, we see Saints frequent Confession; Pope St. John Paul II and St. Mother Teresa went once a week, as did so many others. The healing experienced in Confession comes from the deep contrition one feels for sins, and the supernatural grace of God.

It is no coincidence that Divine Mercy Sunday immediately follows Easter. Confession is about how Mercy only empowers us with grace. It manifests how much value God puts on each human life in spite of our sinfulness: infinite worth. He died for us because He places each human life in more value than even His own earthly life.

How to go to Confession? Just enter and ask the priest for help; he will be happy to help.

The supernatural healing of Confession is a great gift from God that gives us peace, strength, and hope. By His wounds God gave us Confession; through it we have incredible mercy, love, and joyful freedom.

Ordained in 1997, Fr. Brian P. Gannon is Pastor of Saint Theresa Parish in Trumbull, Connecticut. He holds a doctorate in Moral Theology from the Academia Alfonsiana in Rome.

5 thoughts on “Confession, the great gift from God 04/28/17

  1. I’m concerned about the mixed message that the bishop and others send when they focus on discipleship and having a “personal relationship” with God. If that is so, then why bother confessing my sins to a priest when I can talk directly to the Big Guy Upstairs?

    I think ultimately talk like this undermines the importance of the sacraments — without which, we are neither Catholic nor a Church.

  2. I love my Sunday evening confession — almost 24 years and I know that it feeds me from one week to the next.

    Attributes of the sacrament for me? Moral courage, a great shield against temptation, unbounded energy, and the Holy Spirit’s inspiration… I’m hooked!

  3. I began to go to Confession once a week after reading the essays by Father Andy Vill published in the Basilica’s October 4, 18 and 25, 2015 Bulletins. I am glad I do. Father Vill’s October 18, 2015 essay made me aware that we can make “Devotional Confessions.” I use this Sacrament to dislodge and uproot stubborn venial sins. After I re-read the section in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Ten Commandments, I was amazed how many ways I had been breaking Commandments. Back to the Confessional I went! This section of the Catechism also helped me a lot in dealing with every day moral dilemmas.

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