Pastor's Homilies

Nine Chief Benefits of the Sacrament of Reconciliation:

1. Self-knowledge is increased. Self-knowledge is needed to grow in holiness. This means knowing and admitting your virtues so you can advance them in your life, and knowing and admitting your vices so you can uproot them out of your life.


2. Christian humility grows. Humility is the “moral virtue that keeps a person from reaching beyond himself. It is the virtue that restrains the unruly desire for personal greatness and leads people to an orderly love of themselves based on a true appreciation of their position with respect to God and their neighbors.” The very act of making a good examination of conscience (required before even stepping into the confessional) is humbling, and it helps us to grow in self-knowledge.


3. Bad habits are corrected. Little by little, through frequent Confession and honesty with one’s confessor, who will offer advice accordingly, bad habits can be overcome. Frequent, worthy reception of the Sacrament of Confession means frequent graces received from that sacrament for those bad habits.


4. Spiritual neglect is resisted. Let’s say you are struggling to establish the practice of praying the daily Rosary or daily prayers. Your failures to practice these devotions would be examples of “spiritual neglect” that cause your spiritual life to suffer. Regular Confession can help you “get back on track,” and so you begin to carry them out more faithfully on your own.


5. Spiritual tepidity is resisted. Let’s say you do, indeed, carry out such spiritual practices — but only infrequently. In other words, you carry them out in a tepid or lukewarm manner. The graces from frequent Confession can help ignite a renewed spiritual fervor that will help make your daily spiritual life grow stronger and more committed every day.


6. Conscience is purified. Confession of one’s sins brings with it a purification and, importantly, peace of conscience. This is tied to the healing aspect of Confession. Indeed, Confession is one of two “healing” sacraments, along with the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Both of these sacraments aid the body-soul reality of the human person.


7. The will is strengthened. Whereas our intellect is what helps us “to know,” our will is what helps us “to choose” (based on properly ordered love as opposed to choosing something based on disordered love). Through the practice of frequent Confession, our wills become strengthened to help us more frequently choose good over evil, virtue over vice, and the beneficial over the malicious.


8. A salutary self-control is achieved. Only you can control you. Frequent Confession makes us simply want to “do better” in all aspects of daily living. It’s the grace of the sacrament that propels us to control our lives better by practicing an ordinate love toward persons, places and things and not an inordinate, or disordered, love toward them.


9. Grace is increased in virtue of the sacrament itself. Every sacrament, when it is received worthily, increases sanctifying grace in the soul. For Eucharist and Confession; the only two sacraments that can be received both repeatedly and frequently, this is especially true. Baptism, while wiping away the Original Sin we inherit from our first parents, also wipes away any personal sins we might have (i.e., any venial or mortal sin). Confession helps rid us of personal sin committed after Baptism.


We should add also that going to Confession too frequently out of scrupulosity is not helpful to the penitent, nor is it the intention of the sacrament. Scrupulosity may be defined as seeing sin where there is no sin at all but rather, say, a simple fault; or, seeing mortal sin when, in reality, it is a venial sin. Indeed, scrupulosity can stunt one’s growth in the spiritual life.