Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Confess...

All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.
Romans 3:23
Lent is right around the corner; are you ready for confession? Since being baptized nine years ago, going to confession is still the hardest part about being Catholic for me. So I try to avoid it as often as possible, and usually only go once a year when I have to, during Lent. This year will be especially tough. In the past I have always remained hidden behind the screen during my confession, too embarrassed to reveal my sins face-to-face. But in the past year I have come to know all the priests in my parish well, and as an English woman living in America, I know my voice is recognizable.

It's like going to the dentist. I know it's good for me, but I want to avoid it anyway. Comparing confession to a dental checkup is not quite right though. After a dental checkup I feel relief; relief that I didn't get any new cavities, and relief that the whole thing is over for another six months. But that's not how I feel when I leave the confessional. Yes, there is definitely some relief that it is over. But there is so much more. If my teeth feel clean when I leave the dentist, then my whole body and soul feel clean when I leave confession. I feel renewed, uplifted, healed. I am emotional, but comforted. I really do feel like my sins have been washed away, and I wonder what I was so afraid of. Indeed, I am often told I'm actually being too hard on myself. I leave confession full of gratitude for all the blessings in my life, and absolutely sure of Jesus' love for me.

As we prepare for confession this year, let us remember that Jesus died for our sins, the sins that we are about to confess. Let that knowledge fill us with remorse and repentance. After you have poured out your heart to Jesus (for it is Jesus on the confessional, not a priest), believe that you are truly forgiven. Let His forgiveness flood over you, then let your love for Him shine.

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