What is the best way to get over a chronic sin?
A) Stop going to confession until you have it handled?
B) Skip confessing the particular sin because it is an addiction?
C) Confess it regularly over and over and over?
I think intellectually Catholics would say “C” but in practice choose “A”. It can be embarrassing and humbling to confess the same sin regularly. It dents our self-esteem. It bursts the bubble of our self-mastery. But you don’t get over a toothache by avoiding the faulty tooth. You don’t mend a relationship by taking time apart. And healing from sin comes through the Church with touch and prayer – the interaction of persons in community with God.
I had a chiropractor for a spell that I would go to see when my back hurt. I would tell him that I had some big work to do and that I didn’t come to see him until after it was done so he could fix my back. He chided me and said that the time to come to see him was BEFORE I did the “back breaking” work so that I could do the work more healthily.
Do you have a problem with sin “A”? Go to confession at least once a month even if you don’t “need” it. Have the graces to see you through the temptation to come. Pray for strength when you are strong. Don’t wait until you are lonely, angry, hungry, or tired – don’t wait until temptation is pulling on your arm and whispering in your ear. Don’t get caught at battle time naked. Be prepared!
And don’t despair the lost battle. It is not about the battle, it is about the war. Go to confession. Confess boldly. Receive your new breastplate, new sword, new helmet, and charge out into battle. If your sword is broken or your helmet dented, come back and get a new one. Employ what you learned in battle. Try a new strategy. Nerve your arms and head back out into battle. Do so bravely, confidently, prayerfully, dutifully. Your opponent is counting on your discouragement. Laugh at him as you stand in the confessional line.
N.B. This weekend is Divine Mercy Sunday! Check out your parish’s confession schedule!