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Detox for the Soul!
By Dave and Joan Maroney
On several occasions, Jesus asked St. Faustina to record what He said about the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the reasons why He implores us to come to confession.
To understand the importance of confession, we must first understand what sin is and how it affects us. Let's look at it like this. What happens if our body has been exposed to toxins or has been poisoned? We become sick and may suffer serious illness or even face death. Even with good nourishment, we cannot become truly healthy until the poison or the toxins have been removed from the body.
Well, sin works like poison. Sins are toxins that will eventually make us very sick and our lives miserable, not to mention the lives of others. We cannot receive the full benefit of the nourishment that we receive in Holy Communion until the toxins, or sins are first removed. In a sense, we need to "detox," and the place to do this is in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Jesus says in the Diary of St. Faustina, "Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul" (1602). Christ's grace upon our souls is what washes away the toxins.
This is accomplished through the action of the priest in confession. Paragraph 1461 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that by virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, priests have the power to forgive all sins, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Jesus encourages us through St. Faustina, "When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest but I Myself act in your soul" (Diary, 1602).
Jesus is the one who offers us a detoxification regime, and He reminds us of this in His Divine Mercy Image. The pale ray coming from the Heart of Jesus helps us to recall the water that poured forth from His side at the Crucifixion. It symbolizes the cleansing that we received through the Holy Spirit at Baptism, but which we also receive in a continual way through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, "Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy" (Diary, 1602). Our souls are washed clean and we are "detox'd" in the Sacrament of Reconciliation where Jesus told St. Faustina that, "the greatest miracles take place" (Diary, 1488).
If the Sacrament of Reconciliation is where Jesus says the "greatest miracles take place," then could this be the reason the evil one works so hard to keep us from going to confession?
Our Lord said in Diary passage 1725, "Never analyze what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light."
This encounter with God not only has a cleansing effect (which is why we always feel so much better when we walk out of the confessional) but it also has a nourishing effect. By filling us with His light, Jesus empowers us with the grace we need to overcome sin and temptation and to avoid the situations that lead us to sin. Without sin, we grow in holiness and love of self and neighbor. This is why the evil one wants to keep us from going to confession. He wants us to continue to sin. He wants us to do things that will be hurtful and harmful to ourselves and to others.
So, be on guard and don't let him fool you or discourage you from going to confession. Try to go on a regular basis, but especially when you have committed a serious or mortal sin. Cleanse your soul of the toxins that will keep you from good health and good cheer. And do not fear. Just remember these wonderfully consoling words of Jesus and thank St. Faustina for writing them down in her Diary for us:
Be not afraid of your Savior, O sinful soul. ... Be willing to talk openly with your God of mercy who wants to speak words of pardon and lavish his grace on you. How dear your soul is to me! I have inscribed your name upon My hand; you are engraved as a deep wound in My Heart" (Diary, 1485).
Dave and Joan Maroney run Mother of Mercy Messengers (MOMM), an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. Learn more about MOMM.