Whenever I go on a trip I make sure that I gets lots of books to read. Before I went to Maine I purchased, ‘In the Redeenming Christ’ by F.X. Durrwell. I have found it very insightful. It is one of the book that I will keep and refer back to. I would like to share something that he said about the sacrament of confession that intriqued me.
He writes, “Then the Christian who submits to an outward suffering, a penance’ which give him the assurance that with Christ with whom this suffering asscoiate him, he will enter into glory” ‘This is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall like also with him.'(2 Tim 2:11)….The effect of the sacrament depends on the worth of these actions. They are what effects our union with Christ in his death: ‘Everyone receives frogiveness of his sins in so far as he united himself to Christ who died for our sin.’ How else could the Christian find forgiveness for sins except by a personal participation in the redeming myster? For the forgiveness of sin gained on the cross was not simply a juridical result of Christ’s death, but a reality personal to Christ.”
What the author is saying that if we have this attitide toward confession. I just want to place to it safe. Than it is questionable if our sins are really forgiven in the sacrament of confession. If we do not have a personal desire in our hearts to free ourselves from sin and our attachment to sins. Confession is not just a jurdical act, but responds to a personal inward desire to be conformed to Jesus death on the cross. Also we must have not only our personal safety in mind, ie just in case I die today but confession must corespond with a real desire to love God and neighbor more.
Jesus said to saint Faustina that when he was on the cross he was not thinking of himself but sinners. Jesus wanted Faustina death to corespond to his in this way. Again to quote the author, “Everyone receives forgiveness of his sins in so far as he unites himself to Christ who died for our sins.” This helped me to see the penance that the priest gives in confession in a new light. The penance is not so much the concluding act in the sacrament of confession, or the act that seals the deal. Rather the penance that the priest gives is meant to help us participate in the redeeming act of Christ himself.