These days, the Church discourages the use of the term “confession” in preference to “rite of reconciliation”. I don’t know why, but it may be because of the negative connotation the word has received from an anti-Catholic culture, which sees confession as enforced, even oppressive. So many good things are discarded now in a fruitless and never-ending attempt to appease the secular judgment god.
I prefer “confession” to “rite of reconciliation”. When I go to confession, I’m confessing, not engaging in a rite. I understand that my sins estrange me from God and I need reconciliation, but that’s what I’m trying to amend by confessing.
I love confession. It’s one of the things I love most about the Church. My soul may be (and is) buried under a mountain of sinfulness when I receive Holy Communion, but when I’ve confessed as honestly and truthfully as possible, I know I’ve done what I could, and the rest is his grace, the grace I receive in Communion.
It isn’t fun. It’s embarrassing, even painful, but so is the cross, and we know we have no seat at the table without having taken up the cross, and there can be no Communion without confession. I don’t have any delusion that confessing my sins somehow sanctifies me. No. He protects us from the full knowledge of our sinfulness. If we knew the depth of our corruption, we could not bear it. But we do have the catechism to guide us, and the Holy Spirit to convict us, and we know we must confess before we receive him. No amount of rationalizing excuses us, and we know it. That knowledge too is a grace. It enables us to receive him in humility rather than in audacity.
I love confession.