In his 1986 Angelus, Pope Saint John Paul II famously referenced Saint Augustine stating, “We are the Easter people and Alleluia is our song!”

But before we can truly be the Easter people, we have to be the Lent people. 

During this liturgical season of Lent, we are spiritually called into the desert to unite our sufferings to Christ, reflect on our journey, and even bleakness. While the Catechism states that Catholics are required to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation for serious sins at least once a year, (CCC #1457), we should receive penance and aim to be in a state of grace as often as possible.

Below are four reasons we should go to confession during Lent and throughout the year.

1) Accountability 

While it can be easy to place blame on others, we must take responsibility for our actions. Given the seal of confession, it is a safe place to name our sins out loud, state the frequency of those offenses, and acknowledge our wrongdoings.

Making an Examination of Conscience before confession serves as the best reality check to be honest with both yourself and the Lord in pursuit of living a more devout life. 

2) Experience God’s Forgiveness

Whether we feel worthy of forgiveness or not, the Lord grants us this grace through the ministry of the priesthood.

God’s mercy washes over us during confession, releasing us from our burden of sin. We have the opportunity to begin again with a clear conscience. 

Jesus said these words to Saint Faustina about his mercy:

I desire trust from My creatures. Encourage souls to place great trust in My fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of My mercy.” —Diary of Saint Faustina, 1059

3) Fully Participate in the Mass

Going to Mass in a state of mortal sin feels like watching all of your friends get invited to a party without you. But only worse.

We are called to be in full communion with our Lord and His church, which means we must be in a state of grace.

During the celebration of the Mass, Jesus invites us to share in His presence and receive Him in this intimate and vulnerable way. Since the Eucharist is the most precious gift we have on Earth, it should be our desire to do everything we can to fully participate in this relationship with the Lord. 

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” (John 6:53

4) Receive Spiritual Guidance 

God does not leave us desolate in our sins. Thankfully, we have many holy priests to aid us on our journey.

When the penitent gives the Act of Contrition, he or she is making a declaration of intent to the Lord, of a change of heart and behavior. Aside from penance, the priest will offer spiritual guidance to help grow in holiness. 

Like our Lord during those 40 days, maybe you are currently being tempted by the enemy. Maybe you are angry with yourself for being a slave to habitual sin, or perhaps, you are struggling to keep your Lenten promises. 

In our brokenness and mere humanity, the Lord seeks to meet us and transform us with His redeeming love. We may be in the desert now, but it will not last. Easter is coming!

Do not let the gift of this beautiful sacrament go to waste, and prepare your heart and soul for the Heavenly banquet now. 

“Many are invited but few are chosen” - Matt. 22:14 
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