NOTE: Commentary is made as a private citizen and not as Regional Coordinator for Silent No More or Leader of Rachel's Hope, unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Confession

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a time of penance, reconciliation, reflection, and fasting. To start the Lenten season, I decided to share a modified version of an article I wrote that was subsequently published on the Catholic 365 website.

I was told when an adult enters the water of baptism, past sins are washed away ... A time of renewal and celebration.  On Easter Vigil, 2006, I stood at the baptismal font in a brown gown and instead of joyful anticipation, I was scared to death. Being fifty-three years old with a colorful past, I envisioned the water boiling due to the amount of sin I carried.  Of course, the water remained cool.  

After the baptism, I went to the ladies' room to remove the soggy brown gown (I had been fully immersed) and don a white one before reentering the church to receive confirmation.  I was uncomfortable wearing white ... I didn’t feel cleansed.  Days later, I shared those feelings with my sponsor and she suggested I make an appointment with our priest to make a general confession.  Well, that was scarier yet! Once I was “found out”, I would surely be the quickest ex-communicant in Catholic history. 

I tried to delay the inevitable by telling myself, “God knows what I did wrong, I already apologized to Him and He knows I’m sorry.”  Then a little voice in my head would say, “Patti, if that were the case, why do you still feel unclean?”  It had taken several arguments with that little voice before I made the appointment.

Walking into Father’s office, I shook nervously and even before I sat down, the tears flew.  He handed me a box of tissues and smiled kindly.  I was sure that kind look would disappear once I started talking.  It didn’t.  He listened, patted my hand, and even smiled from time to time. After a while, something miraculous happened. The shame slowly dissipated and I stopped avoiding the “really bad stuff”.  I closed my eyes as I continued and sensed it wasn’t the priest holding my hand anymore, it was Jesus.

By the time my confession was over, I was emotionally drained and exhausted, but felt energized within.  The weight of shame and remorse was lifted, and for the first time in decades, I was at peace and knew I was finally worthy of receiving the Eucharist.  Until I actually verbalized my transgressions and asked for forgiveness, they darkened my soul.  They were a detour on a beautiful faith journey that distanced me from God and experiencing His love and mercy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are always appreciated!