7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn

1. Sin Doesn’t Change God

“The father of the prodigal son is faithful to his fatherhood, faithful to the love that he had always lavished on his son.” – St. JP2

God’s love for each of us is permanent. God’s focus is not on our sin, but on our relationship with Him. God allows us to turn away – we turn our hearts away from God’s love for us.

 

2. It’s Not Just about Forgiveness

The main reason we keep returning with the same list is that we don’t understand what Christ wants to do in the confessional. We go simply wanting our sins forgiven, not realizing that He wants to do much more. He wants to heal us of the attitudes, disordered desires, problems, and wounds that are causing us to keep committing those sins.

That’s why it’s titled in the Catechism under the “Sacrament of Healing.” Forgiveness is not the exclusive or final goal of confession, but “forgiveness initiates the healing” (CCC 1502).

Since the purpose of every sacrament is to give grace, and the purpose of grace is to heal and sanctify, then the ultimate goal of each sacrament is to heal us and make us holy so that we can become like God.

In the confessional, Christ “is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them.” (CCC 1484).

“[1] We come to confession to be healed; [2] We come to be educated – like a small child, our soul has constant need of education.” – St. Faustina

Confession is not meant to be a quick fix. It’s meant to be a process of healing and education that helps us grow so that we don’t keep falling again and again into the same old habits of sin – same list.

 

3. Your Sin is Different from My Sin

Sin is sin, right? Wrong! Every action either strengthens our relationship with God or weakens it. God determines what is venial and mortal sins for us.  Also, do we also try to discover the good actions we have omitted to confess?

 

4. Confession is never really private

We are all invited to meet Christ personally in the sacrament of Reconciliation.

“When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul.” – Diary of St. Faustina #1602

It is an incredible gift to be able to receive a personal, healing encounter with the Trinity!

When we return to the Father, he immediately shares that joy with all those in heaven.

 

5. You’ve Got Mail

Christ forgave me 2,000 years ago. I’m just receiving it now from the cross. And Christ doesn’t just forgive our sins; He takes them away!

“God created us without us: but He did not will to save us without us.” – St Augustine

We need to participate in the process.

What Christ did then affects us now. But it also works the other way – what you and I do now affected Him then. 

At each moment of each day, you and I can choose to be either the cruel Roman or the robin. We can comfort Christ on the cross, or we can add to His pain. We can pluck a thorn from His brow or push another in. Each time I sin, I hurt Him; and every time I do something good, I comfort Him.

This is why the best way to prepare for confession is to stir up “tears of repentance” by meditating on the Passion of Christ.

 

6. New Wine Needs New Wine Skins

The goal of confession is new life, rebirth, transformation, restoration of friendship, and communion with God, so that you can begin living in a whole new way, the way Christ Himself lives.

Christ is pouring His own life into us, His own holiness. He is the “new wine” and we must receive Him in “new skins.” We are called to a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart.

 

7. You have to let go of your chains!

“I am making Myself dependent upon your trust: if your trust is great, then My generosity will be without limit.” – St. Faustina’s Diary #548

Our idols enslave us, through disordered craving and grasping for gratification through these things, leaving us “glued to ourselves” so that we become hostage to our own needs.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us – Although God’s love is unconditional, it depends entirely on our ability to forgive others. We have to get rid of these chains that weigh us down and hand them to Christ on the cross. The Father wants us to be chinless. He wants us to be free.

How do I learn to bless when I feel like cursing? The 3 R’s – Repent, Revoke, Replace.

It’s not a question of whether you are right – “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

 

Examination of Conscience Preparation

1. Give it to Mary – ask her to help you make a good confession, for intercession, and to accompany you into the confessional.

2. Pray for Your Confessor.

 

7-Step Examen

1. What things keep showing up on my “list” in the confessional?

2. What are the root problems that are making it hard for me to make progress in these areas?

3. What areas of my life have I not yet submitted to the Lordship of Christ? Where am I not at peace?

4. What wounds do I have that need healing? Where am I hurting?

5. What person, situation, or event am I still resentful, bitter, or angry about? Who do I need to forgive?

6. Confession calls for a radical reorientation of my entire life. In what ways am I most unlike Jesus? What do I need to change?

7. What one thing can I resolve to change right now, trusting in God’s grace?

Conclusion

Don’t just go to confession; go a lot! We are in a process of healing and education that helps us grow. Go for more than forgiveness. Go and confess the root cause of your sins. Go for the grace that will help you avoid sin! St. JP2 went to confession once a week.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Anita Ongaro says:

    Thank-you Richard. Your mother, my friend, has been so kind to share this blog with me. I have read the 7 secrets and I now look at confession in a very different way. You have encouraged me and made me more aware of the importance of regular confession. Once again thank-you! .I am so greatful to receive all this information.
    May the Lord continue to pour his graces upon you.

    The best place for God’s Word is our hearts
    Anita

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