Updated: Nov 25, 2019
It’s quite extraordinary. When we die and go before the judgment seat of God, the devil (or whoever will be the prosecutor), will not be able to use against us anything that has been absolved in the confessional. We do stupid things. We sin, we wander, we go searching for passing pleasures in forbidden fields. But none of those things — not one of them — can be used against us at that final trial. Why not? Because we are simply not guilty of them anymore. Oh my word! Do we realize that?! We are truly and in all reality (i.e. even before the eyes of God) not guilty of the terrible things we have done in our life, provided we have confessed them and been validly absolved.
Let’s consider this for a moment. Nobody is without fault. Everybody sins! Catholics aren’t the only ones who do things they shouldn’t. People of the world break God’s laws in very serious ways too, and their consciences are positively eating them alive. I mean, who could possibly say they have never once experienced that guilt that weighs upon the soul after doing something wrong?! Everybody sins, everybody falls, everybody feels that terrible pricking of the conscience! The difference, though, is this. Catholics know of a refuge…and the rest of the world doesn’t.
“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven!” (Ps. 31:1). It’s so easy to take confession for granted. Do we realize, do we love and appreciate, the certitude that this sacrament gives us? The certitude that our souls have really been purified, that our sins have been washed away, that we are no longer under any guilt for those horrendous things we had done. How much would a worldling give for such knowledge, for such certitude! Instead, they go through life constantly struggling with a guilty conscience — trying to deny it, to justify it, to silence or repress it — but to no avail. They know not about the treasure we possess. The price of our sins has already been paid by the blood of Christ. Let us not take that lightly! Yes, the temporal punishment due to those sins still remains, to be remitted either in this life through prayer and penance in union with Christ, or in the next through the fires of purgatory. But we are no longer guilty. Not guilty! Not at all. The conscience cleansed, the soul truly guiltless of those things — those sometimes terrible things! — the Catholic leaves the confessional with a clean slate, a fresh start. Some people would die for this opportunity of a fresh start, but we take it for granted. We entered the door a sinner, a miserable wretch, and then we leave, not just innocent, but God-like, possessing within our soul the divine life of sanctifying grace. How wonderful…
What sentiments should fill our hearts at such a cause of Catholic joy?
“Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15)