I wonder how many of us have decided to go to confession as part of our preparation for Easter. It is a good thing that works wonders for many of us, maybe it can help everyone.
There is something very particular and deeply prayerful about making your confession to God with another person, in my case, a Priest.
It is radically different in intensity to the General confession made collectively at a service, such as at the Mass.
This type of confession is quite hard to do, and for me is very daunting each time I go along to do it, but, as I say, the deep prayerfulness, the intimacy of the experience can be breathtaking.
For those of you who have not done it, you are missing out on an opportunity to be with God in a particularly intimate and powerful way and I hope that you do manage to find a way to access this blessed opportunity.
Mind you, there are things to be mindful of. Go to someone who you know to be prayerful and in whom you recognise wisdom, and that may not be your local vicar! It does not have to be a priest but I know of few lay people who offer this service, and the traditional catholic view would be that the absolution cannot be pronounced by a lay person.
This last point is something I would agree with but it is not an essential feature of confession and would not want it to stop you making your confession. The absolution is secondary to the act of confession and good catholic traditionalists will remind us that the Holy Spirit is free to go wherever it wills.