Catholic Blogs · Catholic Poetry · Poems · Teens · Young Adults

Confession: True Rescue from Bondage

When I converted to Catholicism, my mom told me why we confess our sins. She quoted James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.”

As a teen, I insisted it was better to confess sins directly to God than embarrassing myself on a regular basis. I knew my mom was speaking truth because I had a hard time forgiving myself after repenting in the silence of my heart, but I didn’t understand how telling a priest could completely set me free.

I had heard about the slavery of sin and how Jesus came to set us free, but I had no clue the bondage of sin could be as real as shame and guilt. I soon realized that having a negative image of oneself is a form of abuse. There is a battlefield in our minds and we must fight to protect our dignity. The victory of the battle raging inside of us is only possible with intervention. We must draw from God’s strength and reject the lies that deny us of our self worth.

This poem shows that God is always our warrior ready to defend and restore us if we just ask.

My Warrior & God.

You hold me above the storms of life
In your arms I am enthroned.
Like a princess I sit in the hands of a King
Though He is so much more.

So gently You keep me from the roaring waves
And sometimes when I fall,
You roar above the mighty waves until they finally part.

Down at the ocean floor I sit and sometimes far beyond,
No where on earth is beyond Your control,
So when I call You pick me up.

When I feel hopeless, when I doubt,
I return to You with a heavy heart.
You lighten my load and take the fears I casts,
So they no longer have a strong hold.

When I forget to return to You,
You roar above the sea waiting for my call.
As I fight to stay above these waves
Ignoring my warrior and my God!

God is always waiting for us to call on Him. He is our warrior, ready to help and come to our rescue. Sometimes we ignore God’s promise of salvation because we’d rather ignore our sins than deal with the shame.  Sometimes we don’t see that we are drowning or we don’t understand how we can be saved from that “Catholic guilt”. We must look into ourselves and call out the sin that is keeping us from reconciling with God; pride.

As Catholics, we have an advantage. Priests are sworn to secrecy and they are there to help.  Although this process seems logical, it can still be uncomfortable telling a priest your sins whether they are mortal or venial.

I was trapped in shame for a long time. I avoided confession except for special occasions like retreats. When I did go to confession, I would cry every time because I found it an extremely humbling experience.  I soon learned that confession gets easier with practice. I heard a speech at Theology on Tap this summer that described confession as an ongoing process. As we dig deeper into our souls every time, the more we empty ourselves to Christ and become pure like Him.

It is important to empty ourselves of our shame and sin so we can be filled with Christ’s light. If you are struggling with the importance of Reconciliation, start with obedience and trust.  God would not ask us to confess our sins to others if it would not benefit our souls. Sometimes we don’t want to admit we are wrong because we know we will have to change. What we don’t realize is the power of the light. Trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit and exposing our sins to the light is the first step towards change. When we expose our sins to others, the darkness loses its strength little by little. If God is calling us to be holy, He will instill in us the grace to do so; we must rely on His strength.

Finally, I want to share with you how I learned how to make a good confession. This past year, I felt God challenging me to confess my sins fully. Before this, I would put generic labels on my sin since most priest did not ask for details. I soon found that confessing not only the act, but the negative feelings of shame, anger and guilt helped me let go of those strong emotions that kept me from forgetting my sins.  If God casts our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalms 103:12), we too should forgive ourselves in full.

Here are 3 ways you can examine your emotions for a deeper confession:

1. Identify the source: There is usually one big sin pulling you away from God that instigates more sins. Think about the emotions you feel and why you may have repeatedly struggled with this sin. Identify the emotion you struggle with. Is it insecurity, doubt, fear, anger, sadness or judgment?

2. Find the lie: Have I agreed with negative thoughts about myself or others? Am I embracing the lie that I will only be happy if I continue to sin? Am I drawing my self worth from something other than God? In situations of desire and temptation, do I trust in God to be my internal source of joy?

3. Don’t hold back: When I go to confession, do I fully express my sins and emotions to the priest or am I holding back to protect my pride? Just TRY confessing the whole truth and you will feel a weight lifted. You may have to tell your darkest secrets to someone, but once the darkness is out, it becomes weaker.

With these three steps, you will start experiencing the power of confession in a new way. Grace comes through healing, but healing starts with humility. It is truly the root of all virtue because it is the opposite of the original sin of pride; therefore, nothing is more powerful than the acknowledgment that we need God.

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