Top 10 Reasons to Go to Confession before the Wedding

No. 10 ? The sacrament reduces stress ? really. Before you confess you will feel angst, embarrassment, shame and stress. Afterward you will experience the opposite ? peace, joy and self-confidence. No. 9 ? Confession helps couples communicate better. The husband and wife who regularly go to confession are communicating honestly with God. If they relate to God in this way, then they will more likely relate to each other in the same way, i.e., communicating honestly, humbly, and with a disposition towards seeking forgiveness from the other. No. 8 ? No se puede tapar el cielo con la mano. The saying in Spanish, "You can?t cover the sky with your hand," applies spiritually. The mercy of God is as big and as beautiful as the sky above. You can try to cover it with your hand, but such is useless. No. 7 ? The sacrament keeps us honest. Self-deception is the worst deception. The examination of conscience forces us to be honest with ourselves. If we can?t be honest with ourselves, then we will surely face difficulties being honest with our spouse. No. 6 ? Confessing to a priest connects you directly to God. Many ask themselves, "Why do I have to confess to a priest? Can?t I just pray directly to God?" Yes, we must first pray to God and ask His forgiveness. But Christ provides more. Risen from the dead he establishes a sacrament that frees us from the past and allows us to rise. Try it and experience the risen difference. No. 5 ? The priest in the confessional has no memory. The average priest hears thousands of confessions each year. He honestly can?t remember what he hears and has no desire to do so. For your comfort, recall that he is absolutely forbidden to reveal any individual?s sins to another. No. 4 ? Making a good confession takes away mortal sin. Some sins are not serious (venial sins); other sins are indeed serious (mortal sins). (See 1 Jn 5:16-17). Confession offers the only ordinary manner on earth for the certain remission of mortal sins. No. 3 ? Confession is necessary in order to receive holy Communion. Confession keeps us in union with God. (A Catholic is bound ? under penalty of mortal sin ? to confess at least once annually for this very reason.) To receive holy Communion while in the state of mortal sin is an empty act and another mortal sin. Regain real union with Christ in the confessional. Then your reception of holy Communion will be real and not an empty act (and not a sin). No. 2 ? No sins on my soul. Make an honest confession and you walk out of the confessional sin-free. (Or at least until your next small fall.) No. 1 ? Christ Himself established this sacrament. Christ?s first public act upon rising from the dead was to declare to his apostles: "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them" (Jn 20:22-23). Christ ? the One who took away the sins of the world ? is the same One who commissioned the apostles and their successors to forgive sins in His name. Reading about forgiveness in the Scriptures is one thing; experiencing forgiveness by the power of the Holy Spirit is quite another: "Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace." God forgives everything (abortion, infidelity, drug abuse, et al). There is nothing that He will not forgive when you approach Him through this sacrament. Sometimes the biggest obstacle to forgiveness is ourselves. God will forgive us, but we won?t let him. Before the wedding day comes, let Him. Confession brings profound spiritual healing. However, certain sins damage us comprehensively and merit more care. If you suffer the woundedness that comes from being a victim of sexual abuse, past abortion(s), addiction to drugs, alcohol, pornography or some other affliction, seek comprehensive healing. Confession removes the objective guilt, but you deserve and need the care of a counselor or priest for personal healing. Seek this for love of yourself and for love of your future spouse. Unhealed wounds can become shared wounds in marriage if you do not humbly entrust yourself to the professional care you need. "Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you" (1 Pt 5:7). Fr. O?Hare is parochial vicar at Queen of Apostles Parish in Alexandria.

Copyright ?2005 Arlington Catholic Herald.  All rights reserved.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2005