Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Catholic Blog Day- Penance

As soon as I heard about Catholic Blog Day, I knew I wanted to participate. When I saw the theme was penance, I found myself twiddling my thumbs for motivation. Then I had a lightbulb moment.... a guest post! And not just any guest post. Maybe the most special guest post my blog will ever have... my very own, almost-baby-Catholic fiance! He has been to confession three times so far, and I thought might be able to offer a unique perspective on penance. He was up for it so without further ado, here is Steven's post on penance!

Catholic Blog Day

When Stacy first asked me to write a blog post on penance, I was very unsure as to why she chose me to write about penance.  I am still technically not Catholic for about two more months, and have had very little experience with the subject.  I was born and raised as a southern baptist, going to church regularly until I was in college.  At that time, I knew very little about the Catholic church and faith, in fact the only tidbit that I knew was that during the Bubonic Plague, the Church opposed autopsies, and I used that trivia to tease my one Catholic friend.  While in college at NCSU, I stopped attending church at all, and mostly ignored religion altogether.  It wasn't until I met Stacy that I even attended church again.  She invited me to go to Sacred Heart one day, and I went with her.  I was horribly confused the entire time.  After some question and answer and research time, I finally began to come to understand what was going on.  After several months, I made the decision to join the RCIA process, and it has been a very enriching and educational process.

Penance was a topic that confused me for quite a while.  Before I experienced the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time, I was very confused.   On the outside, it seemed as if it was a process where you could do anything you wanted, then go say a couple of Hail Mary's and everything was erased.  After learning more about the process, I began to understand that there was more of a intellectual and spiritual process going on, but true understanding came from actually experiencing Reconciliation for the first time. 

My first penance was a very special experience.  My first Reconciliation took place at the Weekend for Engaged Couples for the Diocese of Raleigh.  I was lucky enough to get to experience this with Father Tim, who was a wonderful, caring priest who made me feel very relaxed and confident my first time.  After experiencing this, I was excited to do my first penance.  I was instructed to write a letter to Stacy thanking her for the positive influence she had had on my life by inviting me into the Catholic church.  I know this was a little out of the box, but it was also very memorable and enjoyable.  Even in the two times I've been to Reconciliation since, I've found that performing the prayers assigned by the priest to be a very uplifting and freeing sensation, nothing that I ever expected to feel when first learning about Reconciliation. 

So, that's my story.  Thanks for reading!

Steven is the best fiance ever and blogs at (no, don't try it. Who knows what will come up). In his spare time, he buys Stacy flowers, feeds the cat, makes a mean burger, and cleans the bathroom with delight. He probably did not write this "about me".


  1. Great post, Steven. I went to Catholic Church when I was young and my dad would always help out with "security" at the school carnival. He would always chat with the other Catholic dads during that week and was appalled that they used confession just like you thought it might be - as a "get out of hell free" card for any sin. They would cheat on their wives Friday night, go to confession Saturday and then feel like they were sin-free and able to take the Eucharist on Sunday. My dad's not Catholic, and needless to say this left a very bad taste in his mouth about confession. And honestly, I think these guys felt like they were doing everything "right" - they had no idea that they had to be "truly sorry" for confession to "work". Of course, this is the fault of poor catechisis - you'll be so much better versed in the Church as a convert than 95% of cradle Catholics!

  2. That sounds like an awesome First Confession. The confessions I remember are always ones where they had me do something unusual. Like one priest would ALWAYS tell everyone to "do something nice for your mom" another priest didn't give me a confession at all!! I was really thrown off guard and thought maybe he forgot b/c I was the first one to go but then I was talking to someone else a few weeks later about the reconciliation service and I was like my priest didn't give me a confession and this other guy was all neither did mine! I told my mom and she said some priests don't believe in it which is kinda cool :)

    So glad you have had good experiences with Reconciliation. So many catholics and non-catholics "don't believe it/understand it" and never try and understand it.

    P.S.: autodirects to

    1. Beth, do you mean they didn't give you a penance? The last 2 out of 3 times I went, I wasn't given one either (and I had a different priest each time). But they both gave Steven a penance, so I must have a way of shocking them with my sins so much that they forget lol. When that has happened, I just come out and make a penance of my own.

    2. oh yeah sorry they didn't give me a pennance. I thought maybe b/c I was the first person to go (no one was going so I was like I might as well get it over with before a line forms). So I thought maybe he wasn't ready/got thrown off. But someone else said they didn't. But who knows.

      Yeah I did say some prayers and stuff after. I can remember he said something I'll NEVER forget. I told him sometimes I don't get to mass basically out of laziness (I was in college) and he told me we have to go to mass for people in other countries who are basically in warzones and can't freely practice religion. It really made me think and how I take going to mass for granted and since then I try to do better :)