– Large Catechism, Brief Exhortation, 32
I’ve offered private confession and absolution for over 11 years now, and only performed the blessed rite once (the dear soul wasn’t even looking for forgiveness – just the chance to confess, but I forgave them anyway!) For 11 years I’ve heard from people that the forgiveness they receive in the Divine Service is more than enough.
Maybe it is because everyone thinks it will be awkward (it really isn’t). Maybe its because no one thinks they really need any more forgiveness. (I sure hope this isn’t the reason!) Maybe it is because lots of people think that there can simply be too much of a good thing. (Being forgiven too many times, or for the same thing more than once, might make it less special?)
Not too long ago I remember saying something to the effect that you can’t have too much of a good thing. (Rejoicing in the Routine) Well it seems like I’m not alone in that sentiment. Consider the following from today’s daily reading in the good Dr. Luther’s works.
Another Form of Confession
I confess before God and you that I am a miserable sinner, guilty of every sin, of unbelief and blasphemy. I also feel that God’s Word is not bringing forth fruit in me. I hear it, but I do not receive it earnestly. I d not show works of love toward my neighbour. I am full of anger, hate, and every envy toward him. I am impatient , greedy, and bent on every evil. Therefore, my heart and conscience are heavy, and I would gladly be freed of my sins. I ask you to strengthen my little faith and comfort my weak conscience by the divine word and promise.
Why dost thou desire to receive the sacrament?
Answer: Because I desire to strengthen my soul with God’s Word and sign and to obtain grace.
But hast thou not found forgiveness of sins by absolution?
Answer: So what! I want to add the sign of God to His Word. To receive God’s Word in many ways is so much better.
Not only did this reading hit me square between the eyes, saying so much better than I could just how I’ve been feeling lately (yes this is a confession), but it also filled my heart and made me laugh out loud. You tell it brother Martin! Forget what anyone else may think, I need to hear it again and again! So what, I gladly say. So What! To recieve God’s Word in many ways … in all His ways … is so much better!