Often we don’t want to go to confession. This could be for any number of reasons, but usually it is because we don’t want to reveal to the priest a particular sin we committed. The sin is embarrassing and when we think about telling someone else about it, we immediately become anxious.
St. Faustina experienced similar feelings, and one time she nearly didn’t go to confession.
She writes in her Diary, “When I began to prepare for confession, strong temptations against confessors assaulted me … to uncover the most secret depths of my heart, to give an account of the action of God’s grace, to speak about God’s every demand, about all that goes on between God and myself … To tell that to a man is beyond my strength.”
St. Faustina couldn’t bear the thought of telling the priest, a sinful human being, the depths of her heart. It caused her great anxiety and she couldn’t do it on her own.
However, she regained her strength by praying this prayer, “O Christ, You and the priest are one; I will approach confession as if I were approaching, not a man, but You.”
This short prayer was a success, and she writes in her Diary, “When I entered the confessional, I began by disclosing my difficulties. The priest replied that the best thing I could have done was to disclose these temptations from the outset. However, after the confession, they took flight, and my soul is enjoying peace.”
St. Faustina reminds us that while the priest is physically there in the confessional, it is Jesus Christ who is the absolver of sins. He is also present in a spiritual way that we do not always comprehend. This is why the seal of the confessional is so important, as it reminds us that the priest is not in charge of the situation, but Jesus Christ. He alone hears our sins and washes them away.
If you are feeling anxiety about confession, remind yourself that Jesus Christ is there in the confessional and is ready to receive you with open arms.
How to go to confession, a step-by-step guide
Before you go to confession, ask God for his healing mercy to wash over you