Why Should I Go to Confession?

Sin is a fact of life. Whether we’re guilty of the sins of the flesh (such as adultery, fornication, masturbation, gluttony, drunkenness), sins of pride (anger, hard-heartedness, envy) or some other kind of moral failing, we all fall prey to sin. Some sins are called “venial,” because they weaken the life of grace in the soul and make it more likely that the person will fall into “mortal” (i.e., serious) sin — the kind of sin which, because of its gravity, extinguishes the life of grace in the soul. But all sins separate us from God.


As the Bible reminds, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).


The problem is that many people become comfortable with living in the state of sin (c.f., 1 John 5:16-17) and never really make any effort to turn their hearts back toward the Lord with repentance and a firm desire to avoid sin and grow in holiness. There are even those who live an outward life of apparent goodness, but inwardly, they are practicing sins that keep them from the relationship with the Lord that He desires for them. “He who says, ‘I know him’ but disobeys his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).


The good news is that Jesus Christ wants to free you from the chains of sin, give you new life in grace and lead you to the heights of holiness. But he won’t do that against your will. You must be willing to say “yes” to His gifts of grace and forgiveness. And the very first step along that path is to make a good, sincere, heartfelt confession of your sins.


Even if it’s been many years since you last went to Confession, there’s no reason to be afraid or to delay. You can change your life today, simply by discovering Christ and His mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation!


Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest rather than going directly to God?