Today’s Saint

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June 4 | Confession (Pt. 2)

Saint Francis Caracciolo

A.D. 1563–1608



What first comes to mind when you think of confession?

For Saint Francis Caracciolo, it was joy.

Francis had experienced the joy of going to confession himself, when he was young and battled serious illness. He promised that if he survived, he would dedicate his life to God. After Francis was miraculously healed, he followed through on his promise. And as he entered the religious life, Francis found the joy of confession. So much so that he wished he could just hear confessions already, as he wrote to a friend: “I still cannot hear confessions, since one needs dispensation to do it before the six months after ordination." 

Perhaps this joy is why Francis joined the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, the patron saint of joy. Once Francis could finally hear confessions, it is said that he could read the hearts of those in his confessional, and already knew what they would confess. 

Saint Francis Caracciolo understood the joy of confession. Do you? How do you feel when you think about going to confession?

There are a few common feelings and misconceptions around confession. Let’s address them today so we can unlock the joy Saint Francis Caracciolo found in this incredible Sacrament. 

First, we’re afraid of going to a priest who knows us and will recognize our voice. We say, "If he knew my sins, he would never talk to me ever again." But let’s not kid ourselves. We’re not that original. We’re not going to tell him anything he hasn’t heard before.

Then, we've got a culture out there that says you don't need to go to confession. Our culture tells us you don't need to go to confession because sin and evil don't really exist. If you believe that sin and evil don't exist, watch your ten o'clock news tonight. Sin and evil are real and they affect us all.

Then we've got another group of people who say, "I confess to God, but I don't need to go to confession to a priest." This comes from both Catholics and non-Catholics. If you ask them why, they say, “Because me and Jesus, we're buddies. I just tell Jesus my stuff, and he forgives me.”

It's a nice idea, isn't it? The only problem with that one is, it doesn't work. As human beings, we have a phenomenal ability to deceive ourselves. We can convince ourselves of all sorts of crazy stuff. That's why this "me and Jesus" thing doesn't work. That's why Jesus didn't set it up that way to begin with.

All these misconceptions about confession lead us to miss out on the amazing joy of the Sacrament that Saint Francis Caracciolo—and just about every saint—experienced.

What’s your relationship with confession at this time in your life? Is it time you discovered, or rediscovered, the joy of this great gift?

WHAT ARE MY FEELINGS AROUND CONFESSION AT THIS TIME IN MY LIFE? WHAT’S PREVENTING ME FROM EXPERIENCING THE FULL JOY OF THIS SACRAMENT?

I joyfully look forward to my next confession.


This reflection is brought to you from book title.


Also Known As: Saint Francis Caracciolo, Confessor

Patron Saint of: Naples Italy and Italian Cooks

Canonized: May 24, 1807

Canonized By: Pope Pius VII

Feast Day: June 4

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