During the Week of Christmas i helped my priest friend to hear confessions from 22nd to 24th December till 8pm. These days were hectic and tiredsome as many penitents keep coming to the Sacrament. The joy that you derive from having helped them to get reconciled with God, others and themselves. The qeues get longer and longer these days of Celebration. Some of the faithful who make regular confessions dont take much of the time but those who come once, twice or sometimes in the year do take a long time. But we cannot spend much time as there are many who wait in a long qeue. Some penitents have serious problems and they need attention and counselling which we cannot do in the confessions. Most of those who prepare and come do have a good experience of God's mercy and forgiveness. Those who come without preparations or out of habit do not profit much and go back to live the same old life. I advised my friend to guide these people to prepare themselves well and those who need more counselling and guidance should approach him during the year.
One thing i observed that this time the number of young people was extraordinarily high. These young people were well prepared and did show signs of repentance while confessing. I am sure this effect has been of the year of Mercy that we celebrated last year. Some of these young ones did say that it was the impact of the Year of Mercy and the personality of the Holy Father. Young ones if guided well could really come back to the Church and to the Sacraments. The little time that i gave them in the confession was very important for them. I dialogued and spoke about the importance of accepting our own mistakes and sins. To acknowledge our sins and move forward is the Gospel teaching. The youth were so much convinced that the world needs the Gospel preached again. The Church needs to present the Jesus in a different way as the Pope is doing.
Finally, i was so happy that we are all in the same boat. The lay people while confessing are very sincere and honest and have no hesitations to consider themselves as sinners. It was an eye opening for me. It also reminded me that we are all fragile and can fall into temptations but we need to accept that the Lord is always present to grant grace to come out of the mess. While hearing confessions i received the grace to put myself in the place of the penitent and saw myself as a sinner who needs God's grace and healing touch.