“Ask a Priest: How to Overcome Fear of Confession?”

Q: What are some concrete ways to get over my fear of confession? I know that priests can’t tell what I’ve confessed to others, and I’ve read about the importance of the sacrament. But I still can’t help feeling as though I’m being judged, especially if I go to a priest who knows me personally. – A.W.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It is good to remember that the one to whom you are really confessing is Jesus. And Jesus loves you so much that he was willing to suffer and die on a cross for you.

Jesus is happy when you come to confession. He is ready to embrace you with his mercy. It would be tragic if people didn’t take advantage of the sacrament of reconciliation and the redemption Our Lord won for us by his precious blood.

Remember, the priest is merely an instrument of God’s mercy. Don’t worry that the priest will think less of you. In fact, he will probably admire you more, for your sincerity and contriteness. In any case, you are free to go to priests who are strangers if that helps.

The important thing is to take advantage of the sacrament. You might find this short video helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fANl9vX5m8.

You also could get a lot out of this Retreat Guide on confession, available for free: From Sorrow to Joy.

Try praying to your guardian angel for help before confession. Or pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It would gladden Our Lady to see you draw confidently to the confessional to receive her Son’s mercy.

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