Broken Instruments of God’s Mercy

Some time ago, I had a very beautiful experience of confession.  In a community of priests, we normally confess each other’s sins.  However, we may tend to favor one or two as our go to companions to go to confession.  They may be our normal confessors.  Well, this time I ventured to go to confession with a priest I had difficulties relating with.  This required a great deal of vulnerability on my part.  Here I was presenting myself with all my selfishness, brokenness and weakness before a priest that I felt at times a bit threatened by.  The reaction was stunning.  Instead of being criticized, this priest shone in his spirit of mercy and, to my surprise, he decided to do the same.  He became vulnerable and asked me to listen to his confession.

Here we have a reality that we live as priests.  In the name of Jesus, we have forgiven the sins of thousands of people and yet, we cannot grant ourselves that absolution.  Just like anybody else, we have to go to another priest to receive forgiveness for our own sins.  This beautiful sacrament not only restores the life of grace in our souls.  It is a magnificent exercise in humility and trust.

If we really want to profit from it, it is of utmost importance that we avoid the routine and just going through the motions.  It is important that we practice a constant conversion of heart and that we present ourselves with all of our weakness before the mercy of God in front of a minister of his.  It requires trust to present ourselves in front of another fellow broken human being and see in that person the mercy of God dispensed to us.

In a society where trust is eroding and people raise defenses to protect against each other, God gives us a forum where we can be restored and find his love and presence.

Questions for pondering:

1. How frequent are my confessions?  Do I try to go at least once per month?

2. How complete are my confessions?  Do I intentionally keep something unsaid?

3. How sorry am I when I go to confession?  Do I really intend to sin no more?

Fr Lino Otero, LC:  Originally from Nicaragua, my family moved to Miami, Florida when I was a teenager. Soon afterwards I experienced the call to serve God without reservations. Since then, I have had experience in hospital ministry, working as a middle school teacher, leading a parish school, organizing soccer tournaments for kids, starting a radio station, training priests in leadership formation, organizing a parish community from maintenance to mission, and much more. I love spiritual direction and preaching. Years of philosophy, psychology and theological training have enriched my personal life and have shaped my message of hope. For more go to

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