This Lent is memorable for me because my daughter just had her first confession. It was memorable for me because I got to participate in preparing for this. The parish had five sessions over five weeks for the child and parents to prepare them for this celebration. During this preparation, I got to see a new meaning of the Sacrament of Confession.
I realize that Confession is not merely telling the priest our sins. It is not merely asking God to forgive our sins. It is not only knowing that God has forgiven us. Instead, I see confession now as a means for me to reaffirm my baptismal vow of rejecting Satan and his deceptions and in reaffirming my belief in God as my Father. It is also my way of telling God that I need him to help me win this battle against Satan.
Before I got to know the Lord, I never took confession seriously. (Come to think of it, before I knew the Lord, I never took him seriously!). I always felt that it was a waste of time because I would confess the same sins over and over again. All I thought of confession was that once I got out, I was forgiven of my sins and that was it. But as I got to know the Lord, something changed in my view of confession. For me, it became a very powerful way of humbling myself before the Lord and to ask for his forgiveness. And very often, I cry when the priest speaks out the absolution because I feel very loved and cleansed.
But with those five weeks of preparation, I have a different perspective of confession. It is still a powerful symbol of God's love and forgiveness. But it has become a statement of my battle against evil.
When I go into the confessional box, I come before God and tell him that I am a sinner. I tell him that despite my weaknesses, I still choose him over the deceits of Satan. I tell God that I love him and I want him over all other things. And most of all, I tell him that I need him to help me win this battle against Satan. “For our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Galatians 6:12.
We have to realize that we are up against a more powerful enemy. He is smarter and far more powerful than we are. On our own, we cannot and will not be able to win over him. And in confession, we not only choose God and ask him for his help, we are exposing our sins to the light. And if our sins are exposed to the light, the deceits of Satan are exposed. “For everyone that does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:20-21.
This season of Lent, may we all come to the Lord in humility and truth. May we find confidence in his love “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1: 9.