“Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” The priest says this at every Mass while he prepares the altar. Jesus died on the cross to cleanse us from our sins, but we must step forward to receive that grace. The surest way to do this is Confession.
I will try to explain the sacrament with an analogy: Confession cleanses our souls as showers cleanse our bodies. In addition to showering regularly, we also shower every time we get particularly dirty. Confession works in a similar way, we both go regularly and when we know we really need to. Some people might be afraid of Confession, perhaps because it requires vulnerability. You have to be willing to expose your sins, parts of yourself you do not want to share, with the priest so the grace of the sacrament can cleanse them. All cleaning, all purification, requires vulnerability. Showering requires you to get naked so the water and soap can reach the parts of your body that need cleaning. Confession requires vulnerability so the graces of the sacrament can reach the parts of your soul that need cleaning.
Should you decide to go to Confession, you will should arrive in the chapel about 10 to 15 minutes before you want to go to Confession so you can perform an examination of conscience. There are materials about how to do this in the rack outside CTK. You can also consider writing your examination down, that way you remember everything when you go to Confession.
When you are ready and Father is not hearing anyone else’s Confession, go up to the confessional (which is usually behind the altar at Loras), and sit down. He will say something to start Confession. You will say, “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been _____ long since my last Confession.” If necessary, tell him you do not remember everything and ask for help. He is there to help you. Then confess your sins. If you get nervous and you have written out your examination of conscience, you can just look down and read.
When finished, say “Father, I am sorry for these and all my sins.” The priest will probably say some words of comfort, encouragement, or advice before giving you a penance. It is usually something simple, like saying three Hail Marys or something that relates to your sins. He will then ask you to make a good Act of Contrition. There are copies of it if you do not remember it. Finally, he will absolve you of your sins. When he is finished, say, “Thanks be to God,” shake his hand, thank him, and go do your penance. It is pretty straightforward, and much less intimidating once you do it.
There are several opportunities for Confession on campus. On Monday, you can go from 4:15- 5 p.m. in CTK. On Wednesdays, it is from 8-8:50 p.m. in St. Joe’s Chapel. On Fridays, it is from 3-3:50 p.m. back in CTK.
Please consider going to Confession. I cannot urge you enough, nor can I emphasize its healing and purifying power. It is the power of Jesus Christ that cleanses you in this sacrament. Please, please let God’s grace wash over you. And one last thing: if you know it has been a while since your last Confession, please consider going before you go to Mass. You would shower before a date. Please shower your soul before receiving Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, in His Most Holy Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.