“You wrote to tell me that you have at last gone to confession and that you experienced the humiliation of having to open the sewer — that is what you say — of your life to “a man”.
When will you get rid of that feeling of vain self-esteem? You will then go to confession extremely happy to show yourself as you are to “that man”, who, being anointed, is a Christ — Christ himself — and gives you absolution, God’s forgiveness.” ~St. Josemaria Escriva
A question that I seem to receive over and over again is: How do I overcome the embarrassment and the frustration of having to repeatedly confess a habitual sexual sin? As St. Josemaria Escriva also discovered, most of this awkwardness originates with pride: the ambivalence associated with revealing your innermost sexual proclivities and deviances to another man. But, as Escriva recommended, the priest cannot be simply seen as another man; only as “In persona Christi,” in the person of Christ. With this in mind, the Sacrament of Confession feels less intimidating. For, if we have developed an intimate prayer life with Christ: as I often speak with Him throughout the day about the most random and bizarre thought that pops into my head – the act of Confession becomes just a more formal and Sacramental way of gaining forgiveness. Therefore, before you ever step into the confessional, the sins which you are about to utter should have already been revealed to the Lord. But, the Sacrament is still essential, as we only gain humility by asking God for the strength to speak what we have tried to keep so hidden. And, as we grow in the spiritual life, this hurting which we experience before Confession should not create a sense of panic within us; in fact, it proves that we are truly moving towards perfection because what we have done weighs heavily on our heart. For example, when I left porn and the gay lifestyle, I went to my first Confession in well over a decade. My sins were so numerous that I had to write them down. When I sounded them off to the priest, I did so with about as much empathy as you would reading a shopping list. Now, when I confess my sins, which are miniscule in comparison, my remorse goes down to the depths of my soul. Because, now, which I didn’t know before, in Confession, I am speaking directly to Jesus Christ.
It is difficult to confess these types of sins. The shame rattles you to the core but somehow the prayers of absolution gives you profound hope and strength that Jesus will help you.
Very good post, Joseph. I, too repeat the same sins. There is a priest I have gone to who asks me if I am willing to try and amend them and that is good. Thanks for the reminder.