Today many Catholics ask questions such as, "Why should I go to Confession?" "Isn't that an outdated practice?" "How would it help me?" These are legitimate questions, and they deserve an answer. Before answering them, however, it would be helpful to discuss some more general concepts.
Catholics believe that God became man over 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ. Further, we believe that He died on the Cross for our salvation and that He rose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God in heaven. We call the life of Jesus Christ the "Gospel" or "Good News." But if there is "Good News," what is the "bad news?" In other words, why did God become man? Why did Jesus have to die for us?
The Bad News
Deep in our hearts, most of us know the "bad news" - this world is full of suffering, pain and loss. We all have experienced it - we lose loved ones, we are betrayed by friends and we often are not the person we hoped to be when we were younger. It was once said that Original Sin - the knowledge that each of us suffer from a lack of perfection - is the only Christian doctrine that could be "proved from the daily newspaper." Even the happiest person on earth feels a void that needs to be filled.
It was into this painful and suffering world that Jesus entered. He became man to show us - and make for us - a better way to live and to give us a means by which suffering could draw us closer to God.
But we have to always remember something - we are part of this painful world and it is sometimes our own actions which bring pain to ourselves and to others. We are not innocent bystanders in this sinful world - and often we help make it such a world by our own actions.
God's Love for Us
So does God reject us when this happens? Does He give up on us when we bring hurt to others and to ourselves? Not at all. Instead, God is a loving Father who wants us to be reconciled to Him and to others. In fact, He loves us so much that He gave us an easy way to bring about this reconciliation - the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When we confess our sins through this wonderful Sacrament, we are completely forgiven and we are reconciled to God. What a loving God we have!
During this Season of Lent, every Catholic should look deep in themselves and ask how he or she has not fulfilled the laws of love given to us by God, and then confess these failings in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. By doing so, we will find healing and forgiveness from our loving and merciful God.