Are you intimidated by confession? Don't be, Pope Francis says

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Pope Francis goes to Confession during a penitential celebration at St. Peter's Basilica, March 28, 2014. Credit: Vatican Media.

During the penitential season of Lent, Pope Francis pointed to confession as the means to true conversion, saying the faithful should approach the sacrament with trust and confidence.

“The Lord says, ‘Come now, let us reason together, let’s talk for awhile.’ He doesn’t frighten us,” said Pope Francis during Mass on Feb. 27 at the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta.

“Let us thank the Lord for His goodness. He does not want to beat us and condemn us. He gave His life for us and this is His goodness,” the Holy Father continued, saying God is “always looking for a way to get to the heart.”

Pope Francis referenced the first reading during Mass from the book of Isaiah, which says, “Wash yourselves clean… cease doing evil; learn to do good…though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.”

While some people are intimidated by the sacrament of confession, Pope Francis said that the confessional is not threatening, but should welcome sinners to conversion. It is a sacrament that leads to “forgiveness, and a change of heart,” he said.

“He [Jesus] does not threaten” but instead prompts his children with “kindness, gentleness, giving us confidence,” Francis said.

The act of going to confession is like God inviting you to coffee, he continued.

“This is how the Lord calls us: ‘Come on, let’s have a coffee together. Let’s talk this over, let’s discuss it. Don’t be afraid.’”

The Pope encouraged priests, who act in the person of Christ in the confessional, to reflect God the Father’s mercy during confessions.

“When we priests, in the place of the Lord, have to hear confessions, we too should have this attitude of goodness,” he said.

In hearing confessions, priests should be welcoming and approachable, so as to “open the heart” and make the individual feel “at peace,” he said.
 

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