This interesting piece in Zenit, today, offers some way to see that Confession is Reconciliation. I particularly loved the line: "It is the sacrament of peace with oneself." Speaking to one of the Dominican Confessors from St Mary Major in Rome, he describes it as the Sacrament of Peace:
Sacrament of peace
The priest emphasized the importance that the faithful see this sacrament as a gift and not as a punishment: "We must approach confession to receive this forgiveness. Herein lies the beauty of confession. It is the sacrament of peace with oneself."
And, as in any job, there are days that are busier than others, in which more faithful come and the lines grow long: "In Advent, Lent, the first Fridays of the month there are many more. It is a wonderful experience to see a person repent."
But, why should I tell my sins to a priest? Why can I not confess to God directly? These are questions that thousands of Catholics ask themselves. Father Fernandez explained: "No one has seen God. The relationship with him is mediated. In our faith, this mediation is through the sacraments, faith and mystical experience.
"In order to confess, one must have faith, believe in God, know one's sins and repent. It is not a way imposed by the Church. It is a way indicated to us by faith."
Father Fernández pointed out the real meaning of confession: "It isn't a psychological consultancy, giving one a human reason for one's problems. Above all, it is forgiveness."
He also noted that it is a sacrament that Benedict XVI has greatly emphasized in this Year of the Priest. "The fact that the Pope recommends to priests that we sit to hear confessions, means that we must be conscious of our identity and sanctification," the confessor said.
Father Fernández added that one can't give what he does not have.
"One learns to confess by confessing," he said. "It would be hard to be a confessor if one doesn't confess oneself well."
This I have to agree with. Also, as I have found, the grace is a two way thing. I've no doubt that when in Confession and ministering to the people of God there is Grace being poured out, but I didn't really expect it to effect me so much as it does. So, if you're thinking of going to Confession, think of the effect it will have on the priest. I'm sure I'm right in saying that any priest would love to hear your Confession.