Our priest mentioned something in his homily last Sunday that has really stuck with me through the week – partly because it was so profound, but also because I have been struggling with a particular sin in my own life.
He said that the holiness of a parish is not measured by the length of the line for Holy Communion, but by the length of the line for Confession.
The more I think about it, the more I am convinced by the truthfulness of his statement. Whilst it is true that in Holy Communion our Lord makes us grow in holiness because He gives Himself to us, it is necessary that we receive Him worthily in order to receive this grace. Unfortunately, we can so easily grow complacent to our sins, and also become indifferent to our Lord in the Eucharist.
And this is just one way in which Confession can be so valuable to us Catholics. This is because a good confession requires us to honestly examine our conscience and accuse ourselves of our sins to the priest. Admitting our faults and sins to another person is an extremely humbling experience and it is never comfortable. But we must lift our hearts in faith past the person of the priest and always remember that he is hearing our confession as the ambassador of Christ. In other words, when we confess our sins to the priest, we must remember that we are really and truly accusing ourselves before our Lord Jesus Christ who is simply acting through the priest who then, vested with the authority of Christ, pronounces the absolution. And so, leaving the confessional, we can truly know that our sins are forgiven and go with a firm resolve to sin no more.
Oh, what a wonderful gift the Lord has given us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation! My own prayer is that I would be more faithful to make use of this Sacrament so that I may grow in holiness, and so grow more worthy to receive our Holy Lord in the Eucharist.