Dear Friends in Christ,
On Tuesday December 9th from 7-9pm, there will be seven priests available for the Sacrament of Confession at Marsh Chapel at Boston University. Are you looking for the perfect gift to give the Christ Child? This is it: Give Him your sins. That is all he wants. Are you looking to give a gift to one of your friends? Invite him or her to come to confession with you. For so many people, all they need is an invitation. They need a friend who is willing to accompany them to the manger . . . to the confessional. There's nothing lost by saying to someone, "I'm going to confession tonight. Do you want to go too?"
Some might say, "It's been so long, I don't know what to do." Answer: Don't worry about it. They will provide an examination of conscience (you can also share this one HERE). And as far as the format, the priest will help you."
Some might say, "I've done some pretty bad stuff." Answer: "Yeah, that's why we have confession. You're not going to say anything that the priest hasn't heard a thousand times before."
Some might say, "I'm afraid to go to confession." Answer: "Yeah, I always get nervous too. But, the building has never fallen down after I've confessed, the priest has never flipped out or had a stroke, and I always leave feeling better."
Some might say, "Will the priest think less of me?" Answer: "Go to confession to Fr. Barnes then. Out of all the priests hearing confessions, he's the biggest sinner among them. He's got so many sins of his own, he doesn't have time to think less of you."
Are there things that you are particularly embarrassed about, ashamed of, or afraid to bring to light? That is exactly what you should confess! The Devil--who before the sin--tries to convince us that the sin is "no big deal," after the sin tries to convince us that we should be so ashamed that we shouldn't dare try to be forgiven for it. "Keep it a secret. Act like it didn't happen." Don't be blackmailed! Once we confess our sins--especially those sins which cause us the most embarrassment--we are truly set free. We realize that this thing that tried to exercise such power over us is really small compared to the infinite mercy of Christ.
Oh yeah . . . and what does the priest think when he hears someone say, "It's been a really long time since my last confession" or when he hears someone confess some particularly serious sin? The priest thinks, "Who am I to be so privileged to hear this beautiful confession and to be a minister of so great a Mercy?"
Tuesday December 9th from 7-9pm. Come. Bring a friend. The Manger of Mercy is wide open.
Your Fellow Sinner and Brother in Christ,
Fr. David Barnes