In his homily at a Mass in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis once described confession as a friendly date with God. “The Lord calls us like this: ‘Come now. Let’s grab a coffee. Let’s talk. Don’t be afraid, I don’t want to beat you,’” he said.
If only it were that simple, Lolo Kiko.
Raise your hand if the thought of going to confession freaks you out, makes you anxious, or turns you off. Such reaction can be pretty understandable, because in confession—to a priest, a loved one, or a person we’ve not been totally honest with—we are at our most vulnerable, baring ourselves, our secrets, and our shortcomings to someone who we fear may judge us, or worse, disown us, for what we’re about to reveal.
But confessing our wrongdoings to someone and asking for forgiveness is also an act of humility. It is an acknowledgement of our being human and of our vulnerability to making mistakes. More important, it is a step toward goodness and restoring the trust and honesty in our most valued relationships. This is because in confession, everyone is equal––even Pope Francis himself has been known to kneel before a confessional, admit his sins, and receive absolution from an ordinary priest!
“Priests, too, need confession, even bishops. We are all sinners. Even the Pope goes to Confession every two weeks because the Pope, too, is a sinner,” Pope Francis said in a report by Catholic Herald. “My confessor hears what I say, offers me advice and forgives me. We all need this.”
Planning to go to confession for the first time in years? If Pope Francis can do it, so can you! Why don’t you ask family and friends to recommend a priest who will come across as a confidant rather than an authority figure, a good and sympathetic listener who will make you feel comfortable to be yourself and open up.
“Many times we need this word: ‘Come, don’t be frightened, come. There is forgiveness,’” says Pope Francis. “And this encourages us to go to the Lord with an open heart. It is the Father who awaits us.”