Summary of 7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn

1. Sin Doesn’t Change God

God’s love for each of us is permanent. God’s focus is not on our sin but on our relationship with Him. Don’t allow your sin to change your vision of God.

“The father of the prodigal son is faithful to his fatherhood, faithful to the love that he had always lavished on his son” (Pope St. John Paul II).

Sin is about relationship. Every sin is a refusal of divine sonship. When we don’t let God father us. We break rightful relationship of child & father.

Your relationship with God can never ben altered or destroyed by any sort of behaviour. It wounds Him but does not make Him turn away. We turn away our face & our hearts by sin.

The sun is always shining. Giving heat. Radiating heat, light, warmth – regardless of what we do. You can shield yourself from it. Run into a cave. Turn around. Live in the darkness.

Confession is running to daddy.

Conversion is always a rediscovery of the Father who is rich in mercy. We just need to receive it and say yes.

2. It’s Not Just about Forgiveness

The main reason we keep returning with the same list is that we don’t understand what Christ wants to do in the confessional. We go simply wanting our sins forgiven, not realizing that He wants to do much more. He wants to heal us of the attitudes, disordered desires, problems, and wounds that are causing us to keep committing those sins.

  • That’s why it’s titled in the Catechism under the “Sacrament of Healing.” Forgiveness is not the exclusive or final goal of confession, but “forgiveness initiates the healing” (CCC 1502).

Since the purpose of every sacrament is to give grace, and the purpose of grace is to heal and sanctify, then the ultimate goal of each sacrament is to heal us and make us holy so that we can become like God.

  • In the confessional, Christ “is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them.” (CCC 1484).

Confession is not meant to be a quick fix. It’s meant to be a process of healing and education that helps us grow so that we don’t keep falling again and again into the same old habits of sin – same list.

  • “We come to confession to be healed; We come to be educated – like a small child, our soul has constant need of education” (St. Faustina).

3. Your Sin is Different from My Sin

Sin is sin, right? Wrong! Every action either strengthens our relationship with God or weakens it.

  • Don’t just look at sins in regard to what is mortal and what is venial. Looks at sins in regard to your unique relationship with Christ.

God isn’t judging you on your behaviour alone. God created you unique and He deeply desires a totally unique relationship with you.

4. Confession is never really private

We are all invited to meet Christ personally in the sacrament of Reconciliation and receive a personal, healing encounter with the Trinity that is immediately shared with all those in heaven.

  • “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” (Jesus to St. Faustina).

5. You’ve Got Mail

Christ forgave me 2,000 years ago. I’m just receiving it now from the cross. And Christ doesn’t just forgive our sins; He takes them away!

  • “God created us without us: but He did not will to save us without us” (St. Augustine).

What Christ did then affects us now. But it also works the other way – what you and I do now affected Him then. 

  • At each moment of each day, you and I can choose to be either the cruel Roman or the robin. We can comfort Christ on the cross, or we can add to His pain. We can pluck a thorn from His brow or push another in. Each time I sin, I hurt Him; and every time I do something good, I comfort Him.

This is why the best way to prepare for confession is to stir up “tears of repentance” by meditating on the Passion of Christ.

6. New Wine Needs New Wine Skins

The goal of confession is new life, rebirth, transformation, restoration of friendship, and communion with God, so that you can begin living in a whole new way, the way Christ Himself lives.

  • Christ is pouring His own life into us, His own holiness. He is the “new wine” and we must receive Him in “new skins.” We are called to a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart.

7. You have to let go of your chains!

Although God’s love is unconditional, receiving this love depends upon our ability to let go of our chains, the idols that enslave us, the disordered cravings and grasping for gratification apart from God. We have to get rid of these chains that weigh us down and hand them to Christ on the cross.

  • “I am making Myself dependent upon your trust: if your trust is great, then My generosity will be without limit.” (Jesus to St. Faustina).

7-Step Examen

  1. What things keep showing up on my “list” in the confessional?
  2. What are the root problems that are making it hard for me to make progress in these areas?
  3. What areas of my life have I not yet submitted to the Lordship of Christ? Where am I not at peace?
  4. What wounds do I have that need healing? Where am I hurting?
  5. What person, situation, or event am I still resentful, bitter, or angry about? Who do I need to forgive?
  6. Confession calls for a radical reorientation of my entire life. In what ways am I most unlike Jesus? What do I need to change?
  7. What one thing can I resolve to change right now, trusting in God’s grace?

Conclusion

Don’t just go to confession; go a lot! Pope St. John Paul II went to confession once a week. We are in a process of healing and education that helps us grow. Go for more than forgiveness. Go and confess the root cause of your sins. Go for the grace that will help you avoid sin!

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