By: Jen Sears
The reason I chose to come to Marian University was based off of the opportunity to play softball and the business program. I always wanted to play softball in college and I knew that I wanted to major in accounting and one day become a CPA. So, at the beginning of my freshman year I arrived here not knowing anybody else on campus. At the time, this was kind of a scary thing for me because I am a pretty shy person when trying to get to know someone. Even so, I was able to meet some wonderful new friends. Many of them have influenced, encouraged, and challenged me to grow in ways that I never knew were possible. They have all helped me and I am super thankful for my friends. But there is one person in particular that I have gotten to know who has changed my life forever. That person is God.
When I said I came to Marian University not knowing anybody here, I did not know God either. I grew up as Catholic, went to a Catholic grade school, went to church every Sunday with my family, and yet I never really knew who God was. As I got older I went to a public high school, got into travel softball, and stopped going to church every Sunday. Then I arrived at Marian University. Some of the new friends I met started asking me to go to night prayer, to go to church on Sunday, and to pray with them randomly throughout the day. Before I knew it, God was at the center of my life and I was beginning to know Him. As I continued to grow in my faith, there was one road in particular that I knew I would have to cross eventually. That road is confession.
I had not been to confession in a very long time. And when I say long time, I mean that my last confession had been six years ago when I was in the eighth grade! I knew I had to go sooner or later if I wanted to continue to grow in my relationship with God. And of course I was nervous and kept putting it off for another time. I couldn’t find the strength to just get up and go. Then one day Campus Ministry decided to hold a Reconciliation service for anybody who was interested. I figured this was my calling to go to confession. I went and my boyfriend came with me. He is super supportive and encouraging! So I was nervously sitting there in the chapel, trying to decide when I should get in line. Some time went by, and I was the last person to go. As soon as I started my confession, I burst into tears. They were tears sadness, anxiety, and relief all at the same time. Confession is awesome!
Afterwards I felt so much relief and was super glad I finally found the courage to go. I left feeling free, happy, clean, healed, and truly loved by God. The sacrament of Reconciliation is such an amazing thing. We are able to experience God’s great mercy and forgiveness as He embraces us. I know many people say that they can confess their sins to God and ask for forgiveness without going to confession, but it is necessary that we also ask forgiveness of the Church in the person of a priest. The power of the sacrament makes Christ present as we are healed and forgiven. And as Pope Francis has said: “Forgiveness is not a result of our efforts, but is a gift. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit who showers us with mercy and grace that pours forth unceasingly from the open heart of Christ crucified and risen.”