From My Side of the Confessional: A Returning Catholic’s Perspective

This is the third in a series of testimonies about our Lenten confession campaign, The Light Is ON.

By: Daniel Feliciano, Guest Contributor

Here are the bottom lines:

  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation connects us to God and to each other.
  • It builds real men.

I was born and raised Catholic. But when college and the secular world hit, I was unprepared to defend my faith as St. Paul calls us to do. After graduation, I felt distant from the Church; I stayed away from confession for a decade.

BWAPconfessional

I began to realize that my actions were not answering a deep and ever-present desire in my heart. My definition of manhood in this world had to change.

What does real manhood look like? In search of an answer, I started devouring books by John Eldridge, Scott Hahn, Matthew Kelly and Father Larry Richards (who was at the Men’s Conference this past Saturday). Richards’ book Be a Man: Becoming the Man God Created You to Be was the kick-start to my long journey of coming back to the Church.  Be a Man broke down true manhood: It’s a journey, not a destination, and it starts with a decision. That decision is to do it God’s way, starting with some practical steps.

I distinctly remember several things he said to immediately start doing:

  • Read your Bible daily. “No Bible, no breakfast. No Bible, no bed.”
  • Go to Mass.
  • Go to confession.

The book goes into detail about additional, practical steps you can take to “become the man God created you to be,” but these three things stayed with me the most because they had been absent for so long.

My most profound experience when returning to the Church and when becoming a true man of God was found in confession.

It was a transformative experience to look at the priest, who stands in the Person of Christ, and to admit to my mistakes and sins; to forgive and be forgiven; to feel one’s wounded soul mending.

Now that I receive the sacrament often, it gives me the grace to walk God’s path to true manhood. My openness to God’s love and grace allows my path to continue to be illuminated, straightened and re-routed when I start to stray.

Real men (and women): Go to Mass; go to confession; read the Bible daily.

DanielFelicianoDaniel Feliciano is a parishioner of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Arlington, where he attends the young adult group and serves as a men’s Bible study leader. A cradle Catholic, Dan was passionate about the faith, but fell away for years before rediscovering the grace of confession and tools like The Light Is ON. Dan received a B.A. in Arts, Religious Studies and Criminal Justice from Elon University; and an M.S. in Information Assurance from University of Maryland University College. He is currently working at Deloitte and serving in the Air Force Reserve.

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