So thankful for confession!
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|Tue, 07-24-2012 - 3:17pm|
But I haven't always felt that way...
I had the best experience this week! Can I share? Can I do a PSA for confession?
Many years ago, I thought you could go to confession and just confess the things you were willing to confess, and keep doing the things you weren't going to stop. Well, of course it doesn't work that way - but I didn't know any better. And those things I wanted to keep doing...well, they were pretty big things.
Then I went for many years without going at all. 9/11 was a huge wake-up call in that regard, and after months of soul-searching, I found a priest who I was pretty sure wouldn't throw me out of the church. The wonderful man never even batted an eye, as I laid it all there. Big stuff. That was life-changing...so many graces.
And then I continued on with my once-a-year or every-other-year confession schedule. You know, because I don't rob banks or anything. One evening, after our yearly Advent trip to confession, my then-11 year old asked me why we only went once a year. I had no answer. So we started to go every 3 months. I described my relationship with confession as "love/hate" Hated to go - loved the feeling after. Gradually I started to look for opportunities in the middle of the 3 month cycle...every 6 weeks. And now I've settled into a monthly or so routine. (Unfortunately, my teenagers are about twice a year...)
I had just started to establish a more frequent confession routine about 5 years ago, and my priest was transferred. I was so sad, but I decided to give the "new guy" a try. The first time was OK. So I went back a second. And then a third. And gradually he started to know me. I always go face-to-face because I don't like talking through walls, but whatever. Sometimes I get great advice, and sometimes just penance and absolution. Always, though, there is grace. Sometimes his penance just really hits the nail on the head. Sometimes we are done in 2 minutes; sometimes it takes 7 or 8. He answers my questions if I have some, gives me his perspective.
I have realized that you don't need to just confess robbing banks, sex outside of marriage, skipping Sunday Mass, and contraception, but impatience, treating others with contempt, wishing ill on others (you know that boss you wish would retire or the idiot that cut you off in traffic), not trusting God, missing chances to do good, failing to be grateful, not wanting to forgive, not setting a good example for the kids, procrastinating, forgetting to pray, putting just about everything else ahead of God, being distracted in Mass and prayer (not talking about dealing with your own small children, but what the lady in the front is wearing, and what the couple on the side is doing, and what you are going to cook for dinner)....and oh-so-much more.
This sacrament has become such a wonderful part of my life, I'm not sure where I would be without it. I wish others could experience the good effects! I have a friend who I work with who had not been to confession in more than 35 years. She went last Advent, and it has been amazing to see the things in her life just fall into place since then. She says she feels so much "lighter".
I wrote about my experience last week here. I wish that I could bottle the encouragement and the hope that this sacrament provides. Truly Jesus reaching out (through His priest) and touching us in the craziness of this world.
Anyway, I could go on and on ;-) But I'll spare you. Just wanted to share what has been a wonderful (but often misunderstood) bit of the faith we share!