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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Confession and Contrition

I almost always pray for more contrition when I'm going to confession - I just don't feel bad enough sometimes.  Maybe because I didn't grow up Catholic I'm missing a guilt gene or something.  I've definitely assimilated - ask my students, I work to instill a healthy guilt in them - but maybe it's still not deep enough.

On Saturday, I knew I only had a small window of time before judgment began at 6 to go to Confession and be ready to meet my Creator (just kidding - but I did think it was funny I was going to Confession right before the world was about to end!).  So I drove down to the next parish and waited my turn.

As I was waiting in line for Confession, I felt so lukewarm.  It was like I was in line at the grocery store or something.  I realized how I felt and I was disappointed in myself for being so casual about approaching the sacrament but somehow I still couldn't muster up much feeling for it.  So I just said to God, I know you want me here... I want to be here if not in my heart definitely in my will, so You need to bring whatever else I'm lacking.

Once I got into the confessional I waited a long time.  Father was taking his time with the penitent on the other side so it was me, the plastic-y kneeler, and the crucifix.  I felt a stillness inside, still no desire or feeling, but a prayerful stillness.

When I began confessing my sins I was amazed at how much feeling came into the words as I spoke them and how my heart opened up to share the deepest desires, fears, values and thoughts that motivate my actions.  It all came with more sincerity and honesty rather than as a laundry list of problems.  When Father began speaking I felt like I was talking to Christ.  I could see Father's face through the screen and I really saw Jesus speaking with me very gently while still full of wisdom and insights calling me to be better.  

It was such a blessed confession.  I always hold on to my crucifix as I pray my act of contrition and kiss it at the end of confession as I do each day when I put it on in the morning and take it off at night.  I felt very close to Christ in those moments.  I'm still pondering everything now because I don't think I have reached the depths yet of the experience.  I'm certainly grateful to God, and to Father, for the gift of the sacrament.


  1. Wow! You make confession sound so wonderful. I go a few times a year, and know I should go more. It is still so uncomfortable to go. Does it ever get easier?

  2. It isn't usually as wonderful for me as it was this past time. I think God knows what we need when we need it.

    I know it was God in the priest - but I am so grateful to Father for his kindness, wisdom, gentleness, and challenge. He left me feeling both forgiven and covered in mercy while still feeling empowered and renewed in the "fight" against sin.

    I think the best way to make it less uncomfortable is to go more often. Ideally I would go every other week but I don't live in an area where that is possible so once every other month is usually the best I can do.

    Pray for more peace - not that it will be easier. God will answer! God bless you for caring so much to ask!

  3. Thanks for this beautiful sharing, Sister Marie! I remembered it today as I prepared for and then went to confession, and when Father was talking to me, I was very much aware that it was Jesus Himself speaking to me. I'm so blessed because most of my life I've been able to go to confession every week. I'm going on 63 years of age, and it's gotten somewhat easier over time, but I do think it's sometimes hard to own up to our sinfulness, to simply and honestly tell it like it is without making any excuses. But the graces, oh the many and wonderful graces of this sacrament -- that makes it all so totally worthwhile!

    I do enjoys your posts, Sister Marie, especially since they are so refreshingly honest. God bless you and keep you happy in His wondrous love!

    Alice Claire Mansfield
    Consecrated Virgin
    Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston