I went to confession earlier this week as part of Christ Renews His Parish formation. Although the details of my confession are confidential, I have to tell you I’ve never felt freer in my life. My understanding of what confession is about and why it’s such an important sacrament took a quantum leap forward that evening. I know I’ll never have the full picture of this amazing sacrament but I pray my understanding deepens as time goes on. I also pray for shorter and shorter confessions, brought about by fewer sins. ; – )
A Burden Lifted
Since I’ve really started to focus on my personal spiritual growth, I’ve discovered things improve almost immediately after talking about my mistakes and failures. My wife and my friend and mentor Seth have been my closest confidants over the past few years. Since CRHP, I’ve discovered the sacrament of reconciliation offers the most meaningful opportunity to “come clean” and talk about how I’ve fallen down.
Our group was told, during a priest’s witness, that the expressions on the faces of children who have just walked away from a confession are priceless. There’s relief, joy and renewal all present and working together to send young people back out into the world to learn, grow and contribute. I felt every bit of that relief, joy and renewal after I walked from the priest’s location back to my pew to do my penance.
It’s the act of lifting a burden off me and placing it on someone else who is ready, able and willing to bear it that’s so powerful. The saying, “Let go and let God,” is especially poignant here. Letting go and letting God accept my problems and shortcomings enables me to rise and receive His grace in its full measure.
Starting Over With a Clean Slate
The next morning, I got in a full workout for the first time in a couple weeks. I showed up 5 minutes early for work instead of just squeezing through the door on time, or a couple minutes late. I even stayed in control of my impulses and succeeded in losing 2 ½ pounds to meet my weight goal for the week. I bet the question hanging on the tip of your tongue (as well as mine) is “How long will it last?”
That I don’t know but I do know it’s entirely up to me. Things will happen and mistakes will be made – I know this and accept it. Highs and lows are a part of my life. My goal is to make the highs keep getting higher while lifting up the lows so my fall is softer. This requires the continuing development of self-discipline and the ability to limit the influence of others who don’t support me.
The dividends are obvious – a more Christ-like life and the fulfillment of God’s plan for me. I dare say my confessions will come at shorter intervals going forward. It’s just too good an experience to relegate to only a couple times a year.
Question: How have you benefitted from sharing your failures and shortcomings with people you love and can trust to give you good counsel and lift you up when you need it most?