Fr. Bill McCarthy, MSAFrequent Confession
Carl Jung, the great psychologist, estimated that more than 95 percent of all Americans walk around loaded with sin, guilt, bitterness, and unforgiveness. He said that it is the way the average person throughout the world lives. They pile on all the sin and guilt and unforgiveness of their childhood, their young adulthood, their twenties and their thirties, and try to enter a new day with peace, love and joy - the three great gifts of the Spirit.
Obviously, they cannot do so. So often, they settle with a quick fix of drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, sports, shopping, TV, and carnal living.
For thirty years, Carl Jung searched for an answer. When he was 84, God gave him the answer. One of his clients, he noticed, showed no signs of guilt or bitterness. He excitedly asked her why not. She mentioned that she was a practicing Catholic, and that she believed that Jesus, by His death and resurrection, had suffered and died for her sins; and then on Easter Sunday evening, He gave the power to forgive sins to His priests by saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven.” He looked at her with great amazement and said, “You’ve found the pearl of great price for which I’ve searched diligently for more than thirty years. Please never stop going to confession.”
Karl Menninger, another great psychologist, who decried the fact that psychologists were denying sin, wrote the now famous book, “Whatever Happened to Sin?” He claimed that sin and guilt as well as bitterness were the most crippling emotions in the human soul.
The Greatest Psychologist
Jesus is the greatest psychologist. He alone knows what the soul needs - a way to cleanse sin, guilt, bitterness, and hatred through His shed blood. That is why He said to His priests, “As the Father has sent me, I now send you.” Then He breathed upon them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven.”
Enter John Paul II and Sister Faustina
Realizing the darkness that has overcome mankind and the culture of death to which mankind has descended, Pope John Paul II--this great apostle of mercy, who has already beatified Sister Faustina--encourages every baptized Catholic to go to confession frequently. It is in the Sacrament of Confession that three awesome, wondrous miracles of grace take place. First, every bit of sin and guilt is washed clean through the Blood of the Lamb administered through the absolution of the priest. Second, all bitterness, unjust anger and resentment are released. Third, the penitents are given the awesome power to completely forgive themselves and get on with their lives.
The late Holy Father stated:
“I am also asking for renewed pastoral courage in ensuring that the day-to-day teaching of Christian communities persuasively and effectively presents the practice of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As you will recall, in 1984 I dealt with this subject in the Post-Synodal Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, which synthesized the results of an Assembly of the Synod of Bishops devoted to this question. My invitation then was to make every effort to face the crisis of “the sense of sin” apparent in today’s culture. But I was even more insistent in calling for a rediscovery of Christ as mysterium pietatis, the one in whom God shows us His compassionate heart and reconciles us fully with Himself. It is this face of Christ that must be rediscovered through the Sacrament of Penance, which for the faithful is ‘the ordinary way of obtaining forgiveness and the remission of serious sins committed after Baptism’.”
If you want to live a life with real joy, true peace of soul and awesome love, an integral part of the answer is frequent confession. The more you are cleansed of sin, guilt and unforgiveness, the more receptive your soul is for all the fruits of the Spirit.
Fr. Bill McCarthy, MSA