“When I go to confession, it is in order to be healed, to heal my soul, to heal my heart and to be healed of some wrongdoing. The biblical icon which best expresses them in their deep bond is the episode of the forgiving and healing of the paralytic, where the Lord Jesus is revealed at the same time as the physician of souls and of bodies (cf. Mk 2:1-12; Mt 9:1-8; Lk 5:17-26).” ~ Pope Francis (19th February 2014)
“According to the Church’s command, ‘after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.’” Yet, for those who suffer from serious forms of sexual temptation, the frequency of Confession is far more than the minimum of once a year- as it should be. But, how often is too often? One rather cantankerous priest scolded me after making a Confession – saying that I was using the Sacrament as some sort of laundry service: habitually asking Christ to wash me clean, then – returning to the filthiness of my sins. Although, he had a point, the admonishment kept me away for a while and made me shamefully overly self-conscious. Later, I found another confessor who was more sympathetic to my plight; and he encouraged me to make frequent Confessions. How frequent? When I was most assailed by the constant barrage of sexual images and impulses, I went once a week. As the cravings eased off, I went once every two weeks; then, once a month. Therefore, there is no one answer as to how often a penitent should go to Confessions: as at different stages in your life, you will require the healing power of Christ at different times and in varying frequencies. Though, as a rule, anyone who has been plagued with sexual deviancy should never go over a month; from personal experience, even if things are going seemingly very well, the absence of the Sacrament in one’s life can lead to a false sense of security and to pride – henceforth, setting us up for a fall that causes us to rightly run back to the soothing protection of Our Lord. And, here the Holy Father is astutely accurate: Confession is healing; and, for the grievously sick, frequent visits to the doctor are not only required, but a necessity; and, so it goes for the spiritually sick – we desperately need to feel the healing touch of Christ the Physician.