Confession: a Race to Mercy

First published in the BC Catholic Newspaper on July 30, 2019

Dim lights. Knees to velvet kneeler. Quiet contrite conversation in a room as big as a broom closet. This is what it looks like to be relentless in the spiritual life.

Returning again and again to the redeeming sacrament of confession, no matter how many times I confess the same sins. It’s a race to mercy.

I don’t want to drag my feet. Instead, I give up the feeling of hopelessness. And walk right back into the open arms of my dearest friend Jesus Christ.

My goal is to confess often. To go back to the well. The Lord has living water. Refreshment for the mind and soul. And my thirst is mighty. Saints get up over and over again. They open themselves up to grace.

I never want to tire of receiving joy from confessing my sins. I fall down, but Jesus hasn’t left my side.

Once the priest has given me absolution, I drink the peace and joy of salvation. It is a precious moment when I open the door of the confessional to pray my penance. A lightness expands in my heart.

Restoration. Inner healing. Peace in body, mind, and soul. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lam 3:23)

Recently, I met up with my childhood friend at one of my favourite Poke restaurants. We were ordering take-out to eat at a rooftop garden in the heart of the city. After we hugged and stood in line to order, she looked at me and said, “Something is different about you, Lisa. You look good … confident.” Smiling, I mulled over possible reasons for this compliment. No new haircut. Or clothes. Must be something else. “Well, I did come straight from confession.” A soul cleanse.

“I thought that is why you might have picked this location, since it’s near the cathedral.” She dug deeper. “How does it make you feel?”

“Fresh. Like I can begin again.” Her puzzled look diminished, and she seemed satisfied with my answer.


The conversation switched to her upcoming travel plans. We ordered our preferred dishes. My heart was singing and doing back flips. I was so happy. Hope-filled that this time, healing happened. Even if it didn’t, I know I had encountered Jesus. The peace after confession is warm sunshine on my face.

My parents modelled the blessing of frequent confession. As a young girl, I would visit the chapel on a Saturday morning with my parents and siblings. The promise of ice cream or time to play on the playground afterwards sweetened the deal. Sweeter than chocolate mint ice cream was the feeling of interior freedom.

The sacrament of confession has the capacity to shine light from inside our soul and onto our face. It’s not surprising that we become like little lamps. For the Lord is the light of the world. When we open our hearts to receive his grace, our cup overflows.

Don’t let repetitive sins weigh you down. There is always confession. Never give up! “The testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” (Jas 1:4)


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