I go to Confession now more frequently than I ever used to, and my greatest takeaway from it has to do with these two lines from today's Gospel: "Jesus said to His disciples: 'Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful . . .' and, 'Forgive and you will be forgiven.'" (Luke 6:36-37)
We're all called to imitate Jesus in each of our vocations. And since we were made in the image of Jesus, then, it's only natural that we were formed to be like Him and that this lifetime is where we stretch ourselves and mold ourselves more into His likeness.
My mindset whenever I'm hurt by someone nowadays has completely changed since before I went to Confession more routinely.
It wasn't always like this, but going to Confession frequently has had this profound change in how I receive forgiveness and in how I give it out. It has transformed my understanding of God and my understanding of who I am, who I'm meant to be, and how I'm meant to interact with others.
I'm reminded of how I can do these things, albeit in a much smaller scale, for the people around me. I'm reminded how I can forgive and forget and not hold things against people in the future. I'm reminded I can show another human being that when I look at them that I don't see their sins, that their sins have not ruined them, that there is hope for them, that Jesus absolutely still loves them and wants to know them. And that I do, too.
Now whenever I'm wronged by someone, I think about the hurt I've caused others, and then I think about how Jesus looks upon me when I've hurt Him. I try to respond as closely as I can to how He responds to me—with mercy, with forgiveness, with a fresh start, and a chance to try again. I've come to know our Father more deeply there as I've experienced His mercy and forgiveness through this Sacrament—mercy that is given when I am undeserving and forgiveness that knows no bounds. And because this is Who the Father is, this is how I want to be, too.
These are messages we are all in such desperate need of hearing, and thankfully, we receive them through Confession. We learn that we are seen, known, and still loved. Let's remember the gravity of sharing this message with others too, especially this Lent.
Annie Deddens is a writer and producer. She runs a prayer ministry with her husband, called Pray More Novenas. She has a heart for the sick & suffering, and she writes about living with greater faith (hope & love, too) in this imperfect world as a Catholic wife. You can find out more about her here.