Tuesday, August 1, 2017

7 Secrets of Confession - Book Review


This book is about “7 Secrets”.  I’ll start off my book review with a secret confession of my own.  On my Goodreads LS Wagen’s Author page, I marked this book off as to be read on January 29, 2017.  I noted that I would either have to special order it from a bookstore (religious or secular), or purchase it on www.amazon.com Also, my parish lending library didn’t carry it. Low and behold, my Catholic parish set up a book display in McKay Hall with the paperback book on it.  They had previously carried the EBook, but I didn’t want the EBook. For a $5.00 donation you could buy the book.  It was on the honor system, you put the money in the little hole.   This paperback version was offered for sale 2 months ago. I never got around to bringing the $5.00 with me.  I think I really was afraid to read the book as it might motivate this cradle Catholic into going to confession more than my twice a year duty during Advent, and Lent.   This reluctance to purchase the book despite my desire to read it continued, until I had a dream.  In the dream, this book was sitting on a shelf in my private library at home.  That’s it.  End of dream.  Short dream.  To the point.  Okay, God, I’ll read the book.

Two weeks ago, I bought the book, and this week I read it!   Yea!   I’m glad I did!

Oh, by the way, the book retails for more than $5.00; obviously our parish was subsidizing the books on the display.

So what were the secrets in the book, (that’s all of my personal secrets that you are getting out of me), Beyond the Grocery List, Secret 1 Sin Doesn’t Change God, Secret 2 It’s Not Just About Forgiveness, Secret 3 Your Sin is Different From My Sin, Secret 4 Confession is Never Really Private, Secret 5 You’ve Got Mail, Secret 6 New Wine Needs New Skin, Secret 7 You have to Let Go of Your Chains, and bonus secrets Change Your Oil!, and Don’t Forget the Hors D’ouvres.  

Obviously, chapter headings.

Beyond the Grocery List is about rediscovering confession beyond simply rattling off your sins, and the same sins from confession to confession. 

Sin Doesn’t Change God is about your personal relationship with God and how your personal sin effects it. 

It’s Not Just About Forgiveness is about how confession heals the soul, and sanctifies it, not just how God forgives sin in the confessional. 

Your Sin is Different From My Sin is about how God views all the circumstances of your sin, and about only how He can judge the serious of each sin. 

Confession is Never Really Private.  Yes, the author Vinny Flinn states that there is a “seal” of confession which forbids the priest to ever reveal or make use of the information he hears in the confessional, that’s not what the author means.  He means more than just a priest is there, God is there, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and all of Heaven.  As it says in Luke 15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."  So all of Heaven rejoices too in a truly penitent sinner. (Which means not just going through the motions, all you cradle Catholics out there.)  And of course, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as Confession, not only reconciles you to the Blessed Trinity it reconciles you to your brothers, and sisters in the Lord.

You Got Mail.   I’ll leave that one as a surprise.  Read the book.

New Wine Needs New Skin is about becoming a new creature in Christ.

You Have to Let Go of Your Chains is about not hanging onto your sins of unforgiveness.

Change Your Oil is about the graces received during confession, and the help God gives you in overcoming your besetting sins.  More frequent confession helps you do this, and by confessing your venial sins more frequently, this helps you not to fall into more serious (mortal) sin.

Don’t Forget the Hors D’ouvres is how to examine your conscience and prepare for confession. Strange place at the end of the book, but the author ties it in how preparation on your part, and the priest’s part can pay off at the end.  Yes, you can pray for the priest before he hears your confession.  
A prayer that you might be understood better, and that your anxiety won’t get in the way of your communication.

So my recommendation for people who need to read this book is that it’s a book for just about everybody - - -  Cradle Catholics, and Catholic converts, Protestants, atheists, agnostics, and people in general who want to know more about the Catholic Church and Her sacraments. 

So even after know a great deal about confession after growing up Catholic, I still got a lot out of this book, like realizing this is a “healing” sacrament, just as much as the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a healing sacrament.

But the reason God nudged me into reading this book wasn’t only for myself.  It was because He knew I would write a review to urge you to read 7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn and published by Catholic Press, Ignatius, for yourself!

PS. I’m still not convinced to go to confession more often, sorry Mr. Flynn.