Pope on confession: Don't be ashamed; life's path is full of stones and banana peels
In their second meeting with Pope Francis, the Missionaries of Mercy heard a long papal reflection on forgiveness.
The pope told them the key to being great confessors is, first of all, to remember how merciful God has been with them.
That is why he told them that in confession one should not embarrass those who have already recognized their mistakes, but encourage them.
"The confessor is merciful even when he says, 'Go ahead, go, go.' He gives him hope. 'What if something happens?' – You can come back, there is no problem. The Lord is always waiting for you. Do not be ashamed to return, because the path is full of stones and banana peels for us to slip on."
The pope said that there is an element that confessors have to know how to handle: loneliness. The type that invades the sinner, but also the type of loneliness felt when God does not respond.
It was one of the most important points of the meeting because as Missionaries of Mercy they must help all sinners deal with and overcome it.
"Yet, there are moments when one really feels the silence and abandonment of God. Not only in the great dark hours of humanity in every age, which give rise to many questions about the abandonment of God. I am thinking now of Syria today. It happens that even in personal events, in those of the saints, one can experience abandonment."
The pope explained the key to overcoming loneliness is to accept it, because while it seems paradoxical, it is inserted within the experience of love. He said it is only God's mercy and love that can defeat every form of solitude and abandonment.