Confession gave me the strength for what God knew was coming...but I didn't

Confession gave me the strength for what God knew was coming...but I didn't

As a cradle Catholic and as part of a strong Catholic family, it was always expected of me to go to confession at least two times a year.  After high school graduation and moving away from home those times became few and far between until it was years since my last confession. It wasn’t until after I was married and had children that it become important to me again, but honestly, only because of the good example I wanted to set for my own children. And still that was very sporadic.

It was about 2002 when I began to feel the need and desire to study and strengthen my faith, to be more intentional about it. (I can’t explain this desire other than what St Augustine said “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”) And I thank God for that restlessness because only He knew what my future held and how I would need Him for strength.  I started attending a bible study and reading more Catholic books. I was given a book written by Matthew Kelly called “Rediscover Catholicism.” That book alone has taught me so much and inspired me to be more intentional about my faith. The chapter about reconciliation really spoke to me so I returned to the sacrament and began to feel the healing and the strength of Christ.

In 2008 at the age of 20 our son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The phone call from the doctor on that fateful evening is one I will never forget….

After 30 years--a return to confession

After 30 years--a return to confession

“The Lord is kind and merciful” ~ Psalm 103.  It had been 30 years since my last Confession.  I knew I needed to return to Confession but I was afraid.  Where would I start?  It had been so long. But because I was also attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist I knew I needed to make a decision soon.  I knew it was wrong to continue to receive the Eucharist after being away from Confession for so long.  I was searching for the right opportunity but my fear of going back to the sacrament was very strong.

Through an act of providence, I believe, I was invited to join a group of Catholics from various parishes in Rochester to travel to Irene, South Dakota….

Forgiveness and healing after an abortion

Forgiveness and healing after an abortion

As a former Protestant who had never experienced the healing and forgiveness offered in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it is difficult to express how privileged I feel to now have access to this incredible sacrament of healing.

 Some years ago, while preparing to be received into full communion with the Church, the time came for my “dreaded first confession.”  At least that is how I thought of it.  In fact, there was one thing in particular I dreaded to confess; the abortion my wife and I had some 17 years previously.  I had not understood why the pain would not go away, even though I had repented of  it publicly and privately many times. 

The Lord will tell you what to say, if you ask

The Lord will tell you what to say, if you ask

A few years ago when preparing to receive the sacrament of reconciliation I ask the Lord to help me prepare my heart and soul for Him and if I had any sins that I did not recognize that the Holy Spirit would reveal them. I prayed in the morning at home, in the car, and entering the church but nothing seem to be coming to my mind.

As I walked up the stairs to the church I stopped suddenly and the Lord showed me something from my life. 

I come from a broken home...and Confession and the Eucharist have helped me heal

I come from a broken home...and Confession and the Eucharist have helped me heal

Since my conversion to the Catholic faith, I have learned that there is a powerful but often subtle connection between the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the Eucharist.  Over the last several years, it seems like every important step forward in my interior life has happened through the rich relationship that exists between these two sacraments.

 I come from a broken home, have made a lot of bad choices in my life, and have struggled with addictions and compulsive behaviors that I used to medicate all of the unprocessed pain and undressed wounds in my life.  But, in the years since I have become Catholic, regular visits to the confessional and prayer before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament have gently but firmly accelerated the healing process and brought me to a level of freedom I could not have imagined was possible.

"If I say this out loud, I will die"

"If I say this out loud, I will die"

Most people don’t know I didn’t receive sacramental reconciliation for 16 years. If it’s been a long time for you, I am telling you I get it—but I encourage you to go. Every reason you have for not going to confession is wrong. I want to share my own story.

When I was 16, a good friend and I got in a huge argument—or really, I got into an argument with her. She was trying to reach out to me after I had a very bad week, and I wasn’t having it. I screamed some vicious things at her in an empty high school hallway (“stay away from me, I don’t want your help!, just leave me alone!”). She was clearly hurt and I left. It was the end of the school day, and I went home.

But then she didn’t come to school the next day or the next

Mary can help: how confession became easier to do

Mary can help: how confession became easier to do

Most of my life I had a distant and somewhat tense relationship with Mary, our Mother. I understood her importance as the mother of Jesus, but I never felt a connection—more the opposite, honestly. I thought of her as the perfect woman, perfect disciple, perfect mother. I was none of those things. I looked at her and felt judged.

A friend challenged me to consider Mary as a friend rather than an adversary, a mother rather than a judge. It took a while, but one day I was praying and something clicked—that some of my most God-drenched moments happened as a mother, and it must have been that way for her even more—she was mothering the messiah, the Son of God! As I considered that, I “turned” to Mary in my mind and said, “Look—I need to go to confession later today anyway. Would you help me out? Thanks.” That seemed to be well received and I went on with my day. I didn’t realize how significant that prayer would be. …