JARO, Iloilo City, Mar. 3, 2105 – As Christians all over the world are called to “turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel” (Mk 1:15) especially during the season of Lent, a youth leader and elementary school teacher has encouraged young people to rediscover the sacrament of Confession as a beautiful aspect of the Catholic faith.
“Many young people nowadays are afraid or hesitant to go to Confession,” observed Julie Ann M. Blancaflor, youth coordinator of the Jaro Parish Youth Ministry and a teacher of Kids Nook Integrated School in Iloilo City.
Tender and strong
“For me, young people feel afraid because they think that they might be scolded by the priest if they do not know how to confess properly,” she explained in “Youth on the Move”, a section for young people of Candle Light, the official newsletter of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles.
While Blanclaflor admitted that “the way the priest speaks and reacts is important and that he must make the penitent feel welcome,” nevertheless, she emphasized the more important reality of Confession by recalling a teaching of Pope Francis.
“The Holy Father said, ‘Our priests are men of the Holy Spirit.’ The priests’ power to forgive sins comes from the Holy Spirit – who is both tender and strong – as they give witness and proclaim the new life offered by the Lord’s resurrection,” the school teacher explained.
Highlighting the Pope’s teachings on the positive qualities of those who hear confessions, she said: “Pope Francis further said, ‘Not with the attitude of a judge and not like a simple friend, but with the charity of God, with the love of a father who sees his son returning and then heads his way, like the shepherd who has found his lost sheep.’”
Experience of mercy
Sharing her own and other people’s happy experience with Confession, Blancaflor said, “It’s really surprising how free one feels after taking part in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Many Catholics describe incredible feelings of peace, joy, relief, and love that they never expected.”
“We should not be afraid of going to Confession. We should be brave to take a step in faith. In this sacrament, sinners obtain forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God and the Church. We confess our sins so that we can become clean again in God’s eyes,” the youth leader said.
As a call to action, Blanclaflor encouraged the faithful not to delay Confession but to “heed Jesus calling us to experience his mercy in this unique way.”
“Many people say that sometimes they feel something that is telling them to go to Confession. So, whenever you receive the invitation to go to Confession, this is God himself inviting you. And God is inviting us to the sacrament of Reconciliation for one reason – because He loves us and wants us to know real joy and the fullness of his love,” Blanclaflor added. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas/CBCPNews)