When we celebrate a birthday, it is customary to present a gift or gifts. During the holidays families exchange gifts. Has someone been forgotten? Christmas is the birthday of Our Lord. Did we remember to honour Jesus with a present for His birthday?
Even though Christmas has passed, it is not too late. What would please Jesus the most, and is the best gift to offer Him, is to go to Confession to obtain His forgiveness for your sins. In this way, He will reign in each person's heart and we will be united to Him. The sacrament of Confession, followed by the reception of the Holy Eucharist (once our mortal sins have been confessed and forgiven), is the path that leads to eternal life. It also happens to be the best gift to bestow on oneself.
The sacrament of Confession (also called Penance or Reconciliation) is neglected, and yet it is a great gift that God gives freely to whomever wants it. Jesus entrusted Saint Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, with profound wisdom about His Mercy, which she wrote down in what is known as her "Diary". For example in paragraph 1448:
"Write, speak of My mercy. Tell souls where they are to look for solace; that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy [the Sacrament of Reconciliation]. There the greatest miracles take place [and] are incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage or to carry out some external ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to reveal to him one's misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God's mercy! You will call out in vain, but it will be too late."
The key is to remember that the confessor is only the instrument of God. Faustina explained that once she asked a Seraph (a Seraph belongs to the highest choir of angels) who appeared to her during Holy Communion: "Could you perhaps hear my confession?" He answered: "No spirit in Heaven has that power." (Diary, n. 1677) Only a priest can be God's instrument.
In other words, to confess to a priest is to confess to Jesus: "When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul." (Diary n. 1602) v