Last night was the diocesan wide Night of Confessions. For three hours Fr. Anthony, Fr. Miller and I manned the confessionals at St. Sebastian and heard pretty steady confessions all night. Fr. Pfeiffer joined us for dinner after and we talked about what a wonderful experience it was for us.
But more importantly it was the satisfying experience of those who went to confession. The absolute relief many people expressed when they finished was an honor to witness. I made the comment that I wonder why more people don’t take advantage of this.
Well, maybe I don’t wonder that much. First, there is the courage it takes to make a good confession. No matter much relief there may be after, you still have to have the courage to go in the first place. One of my relatives just had knee surgery. Now she is SO glad that she had it done. Life is so much easier (and pain free.) But still, before hand she had to work up the gumption to go into the hospital and have the surgery done in the first place.
Then there are all of the typical arguments that people have: Why should I tell my sins to another human being? Why do I need a priest to absolve me? I can just tell my sins to God . . . and there are all kinds of responses to this but here is one very human reason why should do this:
It works. Jung who was developing his psychological treatments in Vienna found that most of his patients were Protestants and Jews despite the fact that most of the population was Catholic. This led him to speculate that the Sacrament of Reconciliation makes psychiatry much less necessary. The sacramental practice already largely handled (and had for 2,000 years) what psychiatry was developed to do. No wonder Jesus gave it to us. It is good for us.
Not that we do it in order to feel good. But it is a nice side benefit. So why don’t more people do it? Why don’t they exercise and diet more? Why not read better books? Why not expose themselves to well produced art? Why not fix up their houses? We know we would be so much happier in life.