"My friend, teacher and mentor, Peter Kreeft once told me, (I think citing St. Thomas Aquinas) that God often allows us to fall in a lesser sin (for example, lust), to inoculate us against a greater sin, for example, pride. Confessing the same stupid sins over and over is humiliating, but that is exactly why it is good for us, apart from the penance and graces of the sacrament.
"The older I get the more I think the most important issue of the spiritual life is humility. We are not God. As unpleasant as it is to be reminded of this fact we need to keep remembering it. We need His grace to do anything good. Don't worry about the priest thinking less of you for confessing the same old thing. He probably has had to confess the same sins over and over himself. Don't worry about next week. Next week will take care of itself. God's grace is always concerned with now. And God's grace is the only thing that gets rid of sin...
"No, your willingness to go to the confessional, repeating the same confession week-to-week is a way of saying to God, "I hate doing this! I don't want this in my life anymore! This sin is not taking me where I want to go! It’s embarrassing! I don't want to live this way, God, and only you can help me!" In time you may be surprised to learn that while you may not be sinless, you do find that you do sin less!
"It is all God's grace. We cannot do it ourselves. To think we can attain salvation by our own merits is the ancient heresy of Pelagianism, which St. Augustine fought against. That you repeat the same sin does not mean that you are not sorry. We all have divided hearts. We are all in a war between what St. Paul calls the "Old Man" (or woman) and the "New Man" in Christ.
"Yes, certain sins are "clingy" but confession applies a healthy dose of "Goo Gone" to our souls to make them less sticky. More accurately, it is the Blood of Christ, which is the antidote to the stickiness of sin into which our soul is dipped in this sacrament...."
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Many thanks to Danielle Bean for her post on confession, and for pointing her readers to this article from Catholic on-line on why we need Confession, even when we find ourselves confessing the same sins over and over again: