I love how today's readings fall on a Saturday because this is the of the week day I frequent Confession. And the parable about the prodigal son—the one who comes home after having squandered all his father had given him, confesses this to his father, and is welcomed with compassion, love and rejoicing? I couldn't love this more.
There have been times I didn't want to go to Confession. Because confronting my sins and speaking them aloud felt shameful and embarrassing. Because I was afraid of what the priest might say in response to what I said. Because it was uncomfortable and I just didn't want to do it.
What's helped me, though, to overcome these thoughts and feelings and fears, has been to think more about Jesus in the confessional than about the person who is the priest acting in His place. I think of the father in this story of the prodigal son: this father who is filled with compassion, who embraces his son and kisses him. God does the same when we enter into that confessional. He desires to grant us forgiveness so profoundly.
God wants our nearness and for us to want to be near Him. When we go to Confession, we're getting closer to Him and we're showing Him that we want that too. So I cry in the confessional—because I'm still ashamed, because I'm still embarrassed—and I know I'm not the only one crying in there; God is too, but His are happy tears.
This painting of the return of the lost son is striking in its vivid colors and emotional figures.
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.