A wonderful but often ignored sacrament in the Catholic church is the sacrament of penance, or as many commonly call it “confession.”
I didn’t go to church or confession for several years yet sinned all the while. I knew what I was doing was wrong but I was afraid to admit I had done things wrong. Afraid of the changes I would have to make in my live to stop sinning and so on. Eventually I went to confession though and it was amazing. I was cleansed and free and the priest wasn’t shocked with my run of the mill sins. He didn’t scold me for not going to church. Instead he said ” I absolve you from your sins…” and with that my life has been so much better. I had to make changes but I had the strength and grace to change. After such a dry spell in my church going and spiritual life it was like water on a dry field to me. Since that one important confession, a couple of years ago, I have had other confessions but the one that really set me on the right path was most remarkable.
When I see the world around me and think how much confession has done for me I am so grateful for that sacrament and sad that other people don’t know about it or don’t use it yet they search for a cleansing in their soul. Hear about how many people go for counselling these days, how many people are on drugs for some kind of mental illness, how many people are depressed. I wonder how many of them wouldn’t need those things if they went to confession, and church every Sunday?
There is no religious practice in Japan that comes close to confession that I am aware of. There are religious practices that seek to purify people though but standing under a freezing cold waterfall for example doesn’t really resemble confession to me. Flipping through the tv channels I have come across a program that is nature scenes with music and on the screen it says “Healing Time” now if only healing was as easy as watching a tv show! Hear about how many suicides there are in Japan in one year, over 30 000. I wonder how many of these people killed themselves in part due to guilt, guilt that could have been absolved in confession.
I look around me and see men wearing Armani suits and women carrying designer handbags such as Vuitton and I think yes they look nice on the outside but how does their soul look? If they heard about confession how many would be grateful have it? If you are Catholic use that sacrament and look good on the inside too!