For many of us, going to confession can be a fearful and anxiety-filled act. We are afraid of making a mistake, afraid of admitting our shame, our failings, and afraid of what the priest will think of us after he hears our struggles and our secrets. We might even be afraid we will offend or shock him. But thoughts like this come from focusing on the wrong thing: yourself. What would happen if we focused on the priest instead? What does the priest receive from us during the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
Open my heart to this sacrament of grace and mercy and love.
Let my confession be bread for your servant and all priests.
Through humility, honesty, and vulnerability,
let me be an example for this particular priest [mention your parish priest here],
and let the grace of this sacrament renew both of us in your love.
Make time today to do an examination of conscience, and as you prepare yourself for confession, imagine that your words to the priest will be a kind of homily—from you, from the pews—to the priest, and to the Church itself. Through your honesty and your vulnerability, you will bring to the foot of the cross the one gift we all have to give, the gift of your true self.