By Allison Gingras

Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.
Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
my guilt I covered not.
I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,”
and you took away the guilt of my sin.
Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
For this shall every faithful man pray to you
in time of stress.
Though deep waters overflow,
they shall not reach him.
Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
You are my shelter; from distress you will preserve me;
with glad cries of freedom you will ring me round.
Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.
~ Responsorial Psalm (32:1-7) for Feb. 5, 2020

A Life-Changing Experience

The Sacrament of Reconciliation changed my life forever. Discovering the power and grace that flows from sacramental confession transformed my brokenness and pain into wholeness and peace. In times of stress, I have learned to focus on what I am in control of, and to free myself of unnecessary burdens that add to my anxiety. Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing, and the mercy which abounds in that continues to change my life every time I participate in it. 

Bitterness and disappointments from my childhood, numerous missteps while I navigated adulthood, and the loss of meaningful relationships along the way, left me battered, bruised, and often fighting depression and on the verge of despair. Gratefully, God, in His wisdom, provides this great gift to not only free us from those burdens but bring about real reparation.

Bring Your Broken Places

Jesus patiently waits on the day when we invite him into our broken places so that he may heal them through his merciful love. As he mends, he extends an invitation to us to share our burdens with him. To submit into his loving care, all those dark, dingy places, deep within us that only he can fix. Sometimes in prayer, I visualize the pain I am bringing to Jesus as a tired old room. I imagine Jesus patiently emptying the room, cleaning the cobwebs and dust, then performing a spiritual remodel through an outpouring of his love and grace. 

The remarkable gift of seeking and speaking to a priest in Confession is one I nearly threw away because I did not understand this incredible gift we are offered. I had a horrible fear of stepping into a confessional and facing a priest; also, I struggled to see the point of going when I would most likely just be committing those sins again. Perhaps, in hindsight, the second reason existed more of as a justification for the first as it is the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation that strengthens me against being a repeat offender. 

Something is Bound to Stick

Perhaps I will slip back into a good number of the behaviors, or poor choices, I confess, however, every encounter with Jesus changes me, even if I can’t detect it. Every encounter with Jesus transforms us; we are never the same person after time in prayer, receiving the sacraments, or reading Scripture. Each a unique encounter with the grace of God. 

His mercy heals, strengthens, and restores our joy. The feeling that comes from allowing His grace to pour into our hearts is glorious. Have you ever watched a child during their First Penance?

Typically, the child wearily walks from the pew to the confessional. Their strides are slow and labored with their shoulders drooped; they may look back a few times at you, hoping for a change in plans and a call back to the bench. Yet, when they emerge just a few moments later, there is a smile, and some even skip and dance back to their seat, high-fiving their friends all the way. 

God wants you to feel that joy of a high-five every time you come to confession, and he doesn’t want you to wait a year or two or more. We’re called to confession yearly as a tenant of our faith. But Confession should be so much more. It should be an opportunity to rid ourselves of our burdens and take on the grace that God has for us. 

It is helping mend our broken places. You may return to the Sacrament again and again, for a re-gluing of sorts. Each time those pieces loving bond stronger and stronger by Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s love. Eventually, the behavior or circumstance becomes so covered in Sacramental grace it holds together, permanently. God is the Master Sculptor. We are of God’s workmanship. “For human beings, this is impossible, but for God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

About the Author:

Allison Gingras works for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization as a WINE Steward tending the Virtual Vineyard including facilitating WINE book clubs and social media. Her ministry: Allison authored  The Gift of Invitation: 7 Ways Jesus Invites You into a Life of Grace, and is the host of A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras on