Some people might ask, “Why do I have to go to a priest and confess my sins to him? Could I not go directly to God?” Why do we need the Sacrament of Penance?
First of all, the Sacrament was instituted by Christ Himself. In John 20:23, He gave His disciples this authority: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” This same authority is granted today to the ordained ministers.
Secondly, when we confess to God through a priest, psychologically it is good for us to hear a human being actually telling us that we are forgiven. There was once a non-Catholic Christian who entered the confessional box and when she admitted that she was not used to confessing to a priest, the latter asked her why she decided to approach him. She said that in their Christian sect, she was told she could ask pardon straight from God, but she felt she needed a human voice assuring her she was forgiven.
Thirdly, in availing of this Sacrament, we exercise humility in admitting that we have offended God and others, and that we need His mercy to start anew.
Another important point is that we become more accountable to Him and to others when we speak to another human being who, apart from being His representative, stands for other individuals who are affected by our sins.
The process of confessing our sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation emphasizes that these wrongdoings create blocks in our relationship with God, but if we are truly sorry for them, and we follow the penance prescribed by the priest, our right relationship with Him is restored. This Sacrament is a powerful reminder that we were not meant to live in sin, but in wholeness, righteousness, and holiness.
Bro. Stanley Villavicencio, a man we interviewed on our program years ago, shared about the Divine Mercy’s messages. He became respiratory dead for three days, during which he encountered our Lord Jesus Who instructed him to share with others the urgency of receiving His mercy. Bro. Stanley woke up afterwards, completely healthy. His story was certified as a miracle and he was confirmed to have had inner locutions.
When we are healed spiritually through this wonderful Sacrament, other areas of our lives would follow, as long as we are able to make good use of the graces given to us for our long-term transformation. Truly, it is a gift given to us by a God Who loves us so deeply that He wants us to have the fullness of life which can only come from union with Him!