I am employed part-time as a library substitute. Since I started my job at the library, I have come across all sorts of interesting books, some that make me wish I had more time to read and some that inspire me to pray for the soul of the person who just read them, if you catch my drift. One of these books that I recently noticed upon check-in was a book that documents what seems to be a fairly new trend, postcards or letters sent anonymously with the most horrid written, sometimes typed, confessions. As I looked through the book, the thought occurred to me that confession is a natural desire of the human soul.
St. John Vianney, whose feast is celebrated on this date, is most well-known for his hours devoted to hearing confessions. This dedicated priest had such a deep respect for the value of confession to the souls of the faithful that he would remain in the confessional for up to sixteen hours at a time. It is wonderful to read about his life and all of his sufferings he endured for the sake of his devotion to our Lord and His Church.
Confession seems to be one of those misunderstood things. It seems that some people find it adequate to confess their sins directly to God and be done with it. However, the psychological aspect of grave sin is not addressed when this is done. It seems that we, as humans, need to have human verification that God has forgiven us. All of the sacraments have these tangible aspects. God knows that our faith is aided by our senses, so sacraments are the perfect instruments by which we receive God's grace. I pray that those people who feel the desire to confess will have the grace to recognize God's gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Church.