One of the coolest things about being a priest is hearing confessions and absolving sins. In seminary, for me it was the most daunting prospect of priesthood. What if I hear the same sins in the confessional that I myself confess? Do I even know what I would say to someone that just pours their whole heart out? What do I know about forgiving sins? Since leaving the seminary and entering into full-time ministry as a priest, however, confessions are my favorite part of the day. It’s like an athlete stepping into the arena — it’s game 7 and everything is on the line. It’s like Ric Flair before a wrestling match, Ray Lewis doing his dance entering M&T Bank stadium, Lebron James when he used to throw that chalk in the air when he was with the Cavaliers. No way the Devil’s winning today, baby!
I’m just kidding — I eat a banana because, you know, #potassium, grab my water bottle and my chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows and we’re off to the confessional.
I’ve already heard probably hundreds of confessions so far. I stopped counting shortly after I returned to St. John Vianney upon my ordination last year. But in the first week of January, I participated in SEEK24 and one night of that conference, I – along with 300 other priests – heard the confessions of thousands of people. In the span of two hours, Jesus Christ forgave thousands of people of their sins. It was definitely one of the most beautiful moments I have been a part of since my ordination.
I imagined in my mind seeing all of the souls as if they were being released from their sins: the captives from their prison bars, the sinners broken free from the chains that bind them, the dirty and shameful being cleansed and shriven of their burdens, the weak gaining strength, the dejected being built up by the strength of God, the weary borne on wings of angels and soaring upon the heights.
I know that God was smiling on each soul that day.
There’s no greater success story than the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It’s the built-in cheat code for the salvation history of mankind. If you pray, confess your sins, strive to be faithful to the Lord, and never give up, Christ Jesus always wins and you get to rejoice in his victory. He always overcomes: sin, death, temptation, fear, shame, guilt, abandonment. You name it, Christ has conquered it. Ave Crux Spes Unica — need I say anything more? “Hail Holy Cross, our only Hope” … take me, carry me, far away from men and restore me to my Divine Teacher, that through you, the One who redeemed me by you, may receive me. Amen.
Published on January 17, 2024