Confession! Oh boy, the very mention of the Sacrament of Confession spurs heated debate among friends and family, Catholics, non-Catholics, whomever. Personally, I was never really a big fan. It definitely needed a new name. Torture chamber? Hot seat? The confessionals of my youth were of the dark wooden box variety and the Act of Contrition was definitely not taped to the wall inside. I used to write it on my hand for fear that Father Meenan would hear any paper crinkling. Looking back with my now 20/20 vision, Father Meenan hardly cared about that. He was most likely just happy I was there. I’ve heard more than a few of our good priests remark how Confession is their most favorite Sacrament to celebrate. Seems like loads of pressure to me, standing in the place of Christ, one on one, heart to heart. But, if you consider the task at hand at the moment of Confession, to hand out mercy and forgiveness to all who come and ask with a contrite heart…what an awesome job!
offers time and space for good shepherds to bring about peace of mind, offer
advice or perhaps some direction. I’m
sure they hear their fair share of tears being shed; maybe share a muffled
laugh through the screen, but most of all they impart His endless and all
consuming tender love and infinite mercy upon us. A lot happens in that little
box sometimes with lots of words, sometimes with the bare minimum. Either way,
we little sheep hurry back to the flock completely reconciled with our Lord.
Why would we ever hesitate to go and get that whenever possible?
Since Sr. MM began
her education at HGA, my own “adult” spiritual formation has been an awesome
and unexpected side effect, even if I feel like a little child in a classroom
most of the time. I didn’t have the benefit of a Catholic education and my CCD
classes left me woefully unprepared for a spiritually mature Catholic
adulthood, but I’m learning at a rapid pace now. I’m like one of those adult
college students, the annoying one who asks a question a minute before class is
over and $1 beer night is about to start.
I want to know
everything about the Church. I want to experience everything again, catch up on
what I missed out on and make up for time lost while I was a Christmas/Easter
Catholic. I’ve tossed out what used to be my list of items that I would pick
and chose from as far as what I believed or practiced as a Catholic. I’m all
been a highlight of my rejuvenated faith. I have found that fighting the
gentle, but persistent internal nudging to go to confession was futile.
Apparently it’s true - the heart wants what the heart wants. For a very long
time, my heart was full with love, marriage, children and seemingly everything
I needed, save one thing – the One who gave it all to me. I was frolicking
along in my own personal fairy tale and neglecting my role in this heavenly
deal. I had conditions to adhere to and promises to uphold to make my part in
it at least somewhat comparable with what I had so generously been blessed
with. I was going to Mass, but was avoiding confession. Why? It’s darn scary. It sounds easy enough, wait
in line (or make an appointment!) confess my sins in number and kind, receive
absolution and resolve to sin no more. How does that work when you get cut off
trying to leave the parking lot and, “@#$@#!”
Do I turn around and go right back in?
confession is a hot topic during Lent, but I find the upcoming Holiday season
(that seems to begin earlier and earlier every year) to be a little less
intimidating as far as mustering up the courage to actually go. We begin with
thanksgiving and then prepare for a joyous event and what better inspiration
than a new tiny baby to make you want to make the world a better place starting
with your own little soul.
So as the season
gets hastily underway and your to-do list is giving you hives, remember the one
thing that you could do to approach the season at peace…be not afraid and go to
confession! This is not the confession
of your childhood or of the stories you’ve heard with priests who scold and
nuns outside the door pointing you toward your penance seat. Our kids do it –
we can do it. Of course their sins (hopefully) are very tiny and we may feel
that ours are far too big or, worse, embarrassing. But, no matter how big or
small, or embarrassing – go. Get rid of it all. Make this the one present you
wrap up, however messy, and hand it over to your Lord and let him carry it away
from you. He’s happy to do so and is just so happy to see (or hear) you. I
promise you’ll feel fantastic when you are through… until you try to leave the