28-year-old Father David Michael Moses: "God's mercy is abundant, available and, from a human perspective, seemingly crazy. I wanted my confession times to mirror that."
My seven musical sons are huge fans of the wildly talented Fr. David Michael Moses, whose Concerts for Life have raised more than $500,ooo for pregnancy resource centers around the country, so it was a real joy to catch up with the Texas-based priest to talk about his awesome Holy Week. He heard more than 1,100 confessions over the six days, including 400 on Good Friday alone. (Yes, those numbers are accurate — he spent up to 16 hours in the confessional each day!)
Fr. David Michael took great pains to deflect praise away from himself and give all glory for the high turnout to God, his pastor, visiting priests, and the volunteers who gathered at his home parish of St. Faustina’s Church in Fulshear, Texas, in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. But it’s easy to see why folks are drawn to this dynamic priest who has a YouTube Channel following of more than 20K subscribers.
I first learned of Fr. David Michael’s remarkable Holy Week on his Facebook page. When I reached out, he was happy to talk a little more about why he’s such an advocate of confession.
Aleteia: What would you say to someone who has a hard time going to confession?
Fr. David Michael: I get it! It can be nerve-racking to tell your sins to a priest. I get nervous when I go to confession too. But I also think it’s important to not get it twisted: If we think going to confession is the hard part of our sins being forgiven, then we really don’t understand what Jesus did for us on the Cross. Because His suffering, His Passion: That was the hard part. Us going to confession is really the easy part.
Aleteia: Why do you think confession is such a powerful sacrament, particularly in our day and age?
Fr. David Michael: Confession deals with our greatest problem: Sin. With so much brokenness in the world and in our personal lives, it’s good to be reminded that the most important thing – the forgiveness of your sins – has been taken care of.
There’s a reason Jesus chose to use priests to administer this sacrament. If you simply confess your sins directly to God (which isn’t scriptural), you won’t hear anything back. In confession with a priest, however, you will literally hear him say, “I absolve you …” At that moment, you know you’re forgiven.
It is so psychologically healthy to speak about the dark parts of our lives in a confidential way. It’s only when we bring things to the light that we can start to see them clearly, address them, and make a plan for a better future.
So often, we think what we want in life is pleasure, or money or fame – when ultimately, what we truly want is peace. And nothing brings peace like the sacrament of confession.
Aleteia: What would you say to the person who just went to confession last week, but already has to confess the same sins?
Fr. David Michael: I’m glad you’re back! The Church says to go to confession at least once a year, but the saints would say a frequent confession is a huge help to growth in holiness (I recommend every 1 to 2 months). If we’re truly sorry for our sins, but are confessing the same ones again and again, then perhaps we need to get a little more practical: What concrete steps can we take to avoid these sins? How can we put ourselves in situations where doing the right thing is easy and doing the wrong thing is hard?
Aleteia: And what would you say to someone who hasn’t been to confession in years, in order to inspire him/ her to go?
Fr. David Michael: I didn’t go through 7 years of seminary and promise to be celibate for the rest of my life so that I could judge people. Quite the opposite: I’m a priest because I want people to experience God’s mercy.
Honestly, the longer it’s been since your last confession, the happier I am that you’re here. This is what confession is for — this is why Jesus came.
A mom told me that her 6-year-old son made his first confession recently. And afterwards she asked him, “How do you feel?” He said, “I feel like I can start my whole life over again!”
He got it. Confession really makes us new. It restores grace. It restores life. It restores peace. So, don’t wait for tomorrow. Come to confession! Today is a really great day … to start again.