What’s it like to Hear Confessions?

May God grant you pardon and peace

The truth is that a priest can’t say much about the things he hears in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but in nearly every Confession I have said: “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself, and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church, may God grant you pardon and peace, and I absolve you of yours sins, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Powerful words

For many Catholics, these are among the most consoling and the most powerful words they hear. For a Catholic priest, they are among the most joyful to say. As a priest, I see how this simple but profound prayer has a power far beyond any help or counselling I can offer.  It renews, heals, transforms, and most importantly, forgives; not just theoretically, but in reality.

Some have such a radiant joy

I wish I could have a camera with me to take a picture of people’s smiles after hearing their Confession; some have such a radiant joy, not even a photo could show their emotion. To know that my own priesthood has brought so much freedom and joy to someone else is, in itself, a true joy.

The priest remembers the joy of forgiveness

Many of us, myself included, are worried about what the priest will think about us when he hears how terrible and bad our sins are. This is probably the number one reason why we don’t go for Confession regularly. But, what the priest remembers, and what he wants to offer, is the joy of forgiveness.

This has been my experience of Confession; both as a priest offering forgiveness, and as a priest receiving absolution when I go to Confession, as well.


Written by Fr Jason Smith