One of the most important ways in which we prepare our hearts during this Advent season to welcome and receive Christ, is to take part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I know very well that this sacrament is difficult for some of you. The sacrament is intended by Christ to be healing and freeing and transformative, but that is often not how people experience it. There are a number of reasons for that.

Some of us have had bad encounters with a priest in previous confessions. Perhaps we were treated unkindly and were shamed by the priest. Confessing our sins is a very humbling experience, and we may feel very vulnerable. If that has happened to you, I want to apologize on behalf of the Church. That should never have happened. I think that it happens less often now than it may have in previous times, and I hope that you will walk through whatever fears and anxieties you may have so that you can open yourself to receive the graces that Christ wishes to pour out upon you. There are some of us who have committed sins that we are especially embarrassed about, and our pride prevents us from confessing them. This is especially true of sexual sins. Abortion is also a sin for which we may experience so much shame and self-loathing that we cannot imagine ever confessing it. Please, know that the sacrament is not about judgment, but is about mercy. Do not let your shame keep you from approaching Christ in the sacrament.

We have the Sacrament of Reconciliation every Tuesday and Saturday, at 11 am, during Advent. Unfortunately, this Tuesday I will not be available to hear confessions because it is a study day for all of the priests. I will be hearing confessions after 9:30 am and 11:30 am this Sunday, December 8, and next Sunday, December 15.

Fr. Mike Comer