Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I've always been a big fan of reconciliation. I'm the type who feels a physical change afterward; when I'm done, I have the feeling that a weight was literally lifted off of me. I never realized how grateful I should be for that feeling until recently. I could see how, if you only experience the dread or some other negative feeling, you might never push yourself through that to make an at least once per year confession. Now, even though I have that amazing feeling when I'm done, I still must admit that I wasn't good about getting the sacrament for quite a while.

Last Lent was around the time where I was increasing my faith and realizing that I didn't want to just be a Sunday Catholic anymore. I felt like God was asking me go to confession during the Lenten season and I fought Him tooth and nail. There were multiple penance services scheduled throughout the season that I was well aware of, and the bulletin was sure to remind me of that each week. Somehow, I came up with an excuse each day or simply put it out of my head. Well, you know how that goes. Putting it out of my head means that it came directly to the front of my head the next time I thought of it, and this time that voice wasn't leaving! This all ended with me in a really long line at the confessional on Good Friday. When I sat down and told Father it had been 7 years since my last confession, he looked at me with wide eyes and said "Why so long????" I'm sure he thought I was about 17 (people often tell me at work that I'm not old enough to work which is awesome for my credibility). Now, I might have been slightly put off if I didn't know him. Normally I avoid priests I know at all costs when it comes to confession. But God knew what he was doing because I actually got a good chuckle out of it since I know this priest's personality and knew he really didn't mean anything by it. And you know what? I walked out of the confessional with the weight of my sins lifted, thought again about his reaction and told myself that it will NEVER be that long again.

I decided to go once per year during the Lenten season, a perfect time for it. Then I didn't think about it again (after all, I had another year!). Except God had other plans. When we were at the engagement retreat, and the weight of our sins really hit us, we didn't feel like the changes we were going to make were complete without going to confession. Steven actually made his first reconciliation there, which I think is about as special as it gets. The priest was so amazing to talk to (the type that immediately puts you at ease), we were in this beauitful, simple, wooded setting, and we were both ready to change our lives and rid ourselves of past decisions that were hurting us. I will never forget how special it was. So after that I was thinking hmm... maybe I should do this more than once per year. I mean, why not? I should be going to confession to cleanse my soul at least as often as I go to the dentist to clean my teeth!

This weekend, the priest talked about the upcoming penance service for the Advent season. To be honest, I never looked at Advent as a season needing a penance service. We are joyfully awaiting the Lord, so can't we just be happy? But then I realized during the homily that the more holy my soul is, the better I can appreciate the coming of the Lord. So again, why not?! I don't know if I'll ever be a weekly, or maybe even monthly confessor. But I have to say that having (ok... taking!) 3 opportunities in one year to get the sacrament has been a whole new experience to me and one that I want to continue.

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