One of the greatest blessings and gifts that flow out of the Sacred Heart of Our Lord is a mercy that is expressed most deeply through the Sacrament of Confession. This Sacrament is also sometimes called the Sacrament of Pardon, Reconciliation, Penance, as well as Sacrament of God’s Mercy.
Words that produce inexplicable peace, joy, consolation and hope are the words that the Catholic priest expresses in the words of absolution at the end of the Sacrament of Mercy: “And I absolve you of your sins: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. My son, your sins are forgiven; go in peace!” The interior knowledge that all of my sins have been totally and completely erased, obliterated, wiped out and forgiven by the Blood that Jesus shed for me on Calvary produces a joy and peace that goes beyond the ability that human words can express!
The two most important and sublime gestures that a Catholic can do on earth are the following: to receive with faith, devotion and burning love the Sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist — the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ; then the second is to confess one’s sins to the priest (who represents Jesus, the Healer and Friend) and receive sacramental absolution and forgiveness of sins.
This being the case, we should strive with all of the energy and fiber of our being to improve our interior disposition to receive these sacraments better every time we do receive them. In a word, each reception of both of these sacraments should be better and more fervent then the prior reception! That should be our ideal and constant goal! May God assist us!
Therefore, this brief article is on the Sacrament of God’s mercy with the goal of enhancing within us a greater appreciation for this great Sacrament which flows from the loving Heart of Jesus pierced with the lance from which flowed His Precious Blood and Water that first Good Friday. (Jn. 19:34)
This article expresses an original perspective and dimension in this sense that it is totally and purely Biblical. Actually ten Biblical passages will be cited manifesting ten different fruits, effects, blessings, and the overall spiritual reality of this great Sacrament of the mercy and love of Jesus the Redeemer.
It is our hope that everybody will be moved to have a limitless trust in the greatest of all of the attributes or virtues burning in the Heart of the loving Redeemer and have confidence to make a good Sacramental Confession. The Lord is waiting for you with love.
The greatest sinners can become the greatest saints if they simply trust in the mercy of Jesus. That which wounds most the Sacred Heart of Jesus, even more than sin itself, is the lack of trust in His mercy. Saint Paul encourages us with these words: “Where sin abounds the mercy of God abounds all the more.”(Romans 5:20)
The following are ten Biblical passages related to the Sacrament of Confession, but each in a unique way. Pray over these; meditate on them; trust in God’s mercy and them make the best confession in your life: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”(Psalm 34:8)
1. Prodigal Son: Luke 15:11-32
Read and pray over the Parable of the Prodigal Son before going to Confession. Beg for the grace to understand what God really wants you to learn from this spiritual masterpiece. Every time you read and meditate upon this spiritual gem, God will enrich you with new and deeper insights.
However, in all times and places, the central message is that the Father is God, the Father who is full of love, mercy and compassion to all those who trust Him. Saint Pope John Paul II wrote an entire encyclical on this one Parable: Dives in Misericordia. Read it and meditate it!
2. Psalm 51
Pray before and after going to confession Psalm 51. This is the heart-felt Act of Contrition that King David prayed after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then murdered Urias the innocent man. Beg for the grace to have true repentance for your sins.
True sorrow, true and heartfelt contrition, is essential to making a good confession. David humbly admits that his sin is his own doing and blames nobody except himself. May we own up to our own sins and blame only ourselves always, like David, trusting in God’s infinite mercy!
3. John 20:21-23
Read and pray over the Institution of the Sacrament of Confession that first Easter night when the Apostles were in the Upper Room and Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit: whose sins you shall forgive they shall be forgiven; whose sins you shall bind shall be held bound.”
Be exceedingly thankful for this great gift bestowed upon the Church and its members the same day we celebrate His victorious triumph over death, the day of His Resurrection from the dead. In fact, every time we go to confession we personally celebrate the death to sin in our own person and rise to the new life of grace! Every confession is a Paschal-Easter experience! The Lord Jesus is risen in us, Alleluia!
4. John 21: 15-19
Read and meditate this conversation between Jesus and Peter. After the Apostles have made the miraculous catch of fish Jesus walks with Peter along the shore and asks him three times if Peter really loves Him. Peter is repairing for the three times that he denied Jesus three times shortly after the Last Supper.
Pray for the grace to truly be repentant for your sins and make a perfect act of contrition — a contrition of love! Love covers a multitude of sins. You become the repentant Peter; tell the Lord you are truly sorry for your sins and how much you really love the Lord.
5. Luke 15:1-7
The Good Shepherd leaves the 99 to pursue the one lost sheep. Recognize that you are the lost sheep and you have great value in God’s eyes. Your soul has infinite value in the eyes of God. You were redeemed not by the blood of lambs or goats, nor bought back by gold or silver, but redeemed and ransomed by the Blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. (I Pet. 1:18-19)
6. John 10
Jesus is the Good Shepherd that goes after the lost sheep. However, once you have experienced the loving embrace of Jesus the Good Shepherd then it is up to you to be a Good Shepherd for the sheep that Jesus has put in your charge.
The key for us to be a Good Shepherd is that we must first be a good sheep of the Good Shepherd, to hear His voice and follow Him. After we have experienced and we Taste and see the goodnessof the Lord in Confession, then let us bring others to the loving embrace of the Good Shepherd!
7. Luke 23:39-43
Jesus and the Good Thief. In this passage firmly believe that the worst of all sinners can actually become the greatest of all saints if we simply trust. JESUS I TRUST IN YOU…JESUS I TRUST IN YOU…JESUS I TRUST IN YOU.
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen poignantly asserts: “And the good thief died a thief because He stole heaven.” Proclaim from the rooftops the infinite mercy of God, even to those who believe that their sin goes beyond His mercy! A truly inspiring experience is to read the Diary of Mercy in My Soul, by Saint Maria Faustina.
8. Matthew 8:1-4
Every Sacrament has a specific sacramental grace — that of Confession is healing! Jesus came to cure and heal the sick, all of the sick that trusted in Him. We have to see ourselves in the leper; sin is leprosy and all of us are sinners. As Jesus touched and healed the leper, so He can touch and heal me if I allow Him.” ”Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them as white as the snow.”
Saint Damien who worked with the lepers on the island of Molokai in Hawaii suffered most because he had no priest to heal his own spiritual leprosy of sin. Thank God that you have access to priests who can heal your spiritual leprosy through Confession!
9. Galatians 5:16-26
Saint Paul contrasts those who live according to the flesh and those who live according to the spirit. Those who live according to the flesh will have a harvest of corruption and death. Those who live according to the spirit will experience the fruits of the spirit and experience eternal life.
Confession helps us to put to death the works of the flesh and to be led by the Holy Spirit. May we form the habit of frequent confession, conquer the desires of the flesh and conquer them and live the true freedom of the sons and daughters of God.
10. John 11: A Lazarus Experience
Saint Augustine compares Confession to Lazarus. Lazarus was dead and buried for four days and Jesus came and brought him back to life. What happens spiritually in Confession is the same: we leave our old life of sin, our spiritual death in the Confessional (the bandages—symbolically our sins) and we rise to new life in the spirit.
We pray and we hope that these Biblical passages will shed new light on the precious gem, diamond, gift that the merciful Jesus has given to us and serve as a jumping board to launch us into the confessional so as to experience the infinite ocean of God’s mercy. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 118)