Friday, December 9, 2011

Concluded with a Cross...

So, I confessed that I don't like confession...but what I didn't tell you was that I went back. About three week ago. It was after about 20 years. I never really felt the need; no I don't think I am sinless. I always thought that if I did a good examination of conscience and asked directly, I was good. Lately, however, I have been listening to Catholic radio in the car. Day after day, hour after hour, I was bombarded by messages telling me I was not getting the full grace of my faith by missing out on one of the few sacraments I am able to access at any time. Then at church, the priest would echo that. I didn't even have any relief at home...Shawn hounded me all the time to go. I was feeling some pressure. But two things happened to push me over the edge. 1. I told my son that I went in an effort to get him to go to mass. I didn't intend to lie, but when he misunderstood me and was so impressed that I had gone...well, what was I supposed to say. 2. When I was beginning to feel the conviction to attend, it became overwhelming. I was still under the impression that Catholics are required to confess once a year or they cannot receive. I became convinced that the priest could sense that I had not received reconciliation in 20 years and so he would deny me the Eucharist. In a panic, I fled, in drama here! In our very large parish of thousands of parishioners, we only have confession one night a week. It happened to be that day. I arranged to attend, with great difficulty---i have 11 children with active schedules; they didn't feel my sense of urgency. But Shawn did...he moved heaven and earth and children to free my schedule. My panic was immense. I couldn't even remember what I was supposed to say. I went in and sat down with a priest I have never seen before and told him it was 20 years and these were my sins...and nothing. I could not call to mind one single sin. He was silent and finally asked, "so what brought you here." "Mother Angelica was hounding me", was all I could come up with...All my sins forgiven, though I hadn't really confessed one. I fairly floated home...weight that I hadn't felt before was gone. We have an awesome God...

Oh, and I guess I lied...It was not 20 years since my last confession. I had a priest absolve my sins during that time. I was under the influence of some amazing drugs and having gallbladder surgery at the time so I suppose I can be forgiven for forgetting. I do remember the feeling of lightness from my sins (no, it wasn't just the amazing drugs!!). Even afterwards, I had thought about having a little alternative surgery done on a regular basis to have a priest give absolution without having to confess...but I forgot after even a short time. Does anyone else ever read the old testament and marvel at those silly Israelites? God would bring them out of slavery through miraculous means and they would turn around and forget. I guess we are all just as silly! The memory is so very short. But having your sins forgiven by God; hearing it from a Priest is an amazing thing. So for my Catholic sisters and brother, use Advent as a chance to go back to the sacrament and remember what you have been missing. If you regularly take advantage, good for you! And if you are a Christian brother or sister...this is just another amazing reason for Catholicism! Just one...

from google images
Now, in my effort to make a reconciliation a regular part of my life, i am trying to attend once a month. I am trying to do an examination of conscience on a regular basis. An examination of Conscience is usually based on the 10 commandments. There are other ways to do it, but we have such a thorough process by which to accomplish this in the ten commandments. Interestingly enough, there was support for this in the first reading at Mass today, so I didn't have to look far (reading is from Isaiah 48:17-19).
Thus says the LORD, your redeemer,

the Holy One of Israel:

I, the LORD, your God,

teach you what is for your good,

and lead you on the way you should go.

If you would hearken to my commandments,

your prosperity would be like a river,

and your vindication like the waves of the sea;

Your descendants would be like the sand,

and those born of your stock like its grains,

Their name never cut off

or blotted out from my presence

So, without further ado...the 10 Commandments:

1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
have I loved God more than anything else (sex, money, power, or ambition), engaged in superstitions (horoscope), or the occult (Ouija board, seances, worship of the devil), or let someone or something influence my decisions more than God?
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
have I spoken with disrespect about God or failed to keep vows or promises I made to God, belittled others with my speech, or spoken obscenely?
3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
have I remembered to set aside time each day for personal prayer, shopped, done labor, or business on Sunday without a good reason, missed or neglected to take a child under my care to Mass on Sunday or on a Holy Day of Obligation?
4. Honor your father and your mother.
have I obeyed what my parents have asked of me (if I am still under their care) or failed to take care of my parents in their old age, been to my children a good example of a catholic parent, lived in humble obedience to those who legitimately exercise authority over me, and not supported politicians whose positions are in opposition to the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church?
5. You shall not kill.
have I been involved directly or indirectly in an abortion, verbally or emotionally abused another, threatened another with physical harm, purposely provoked another by nagging, deliberately annoyed or teased another, joined a hate group or discriminated against someone, used tobacco immoderately, over-eaten, refused to forgive someone when asked, hated someone, indulged in serious anger, refused to control my temper, delighted to see someone else be hurt or suffer, engaged in animal cruelty?
6 & 9. You shall not commit adultery.
             You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
have I practiced chastity, given into lust, practiced artificial contraception, not been open to conception, without just cause, engaged in homosexuality, or dressed immodestly?
7 &10. You shall not steal.
               You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.
have I stolen, envied other for their possessions, freed myself from a consumer mentality, tried to live in a spirit of Gospel poverty and simplicity, given generously to others in need, or misused natural resources?
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
have I lied, gossiped, or ruined someones reputation and destroyed his credibility, been guilty of a rash judgement, failed to speak in defense of the Catholic faith, the Church, or another person, or betrayed anther's confidence through speech.

1 comment:

Kristy said...

Matthew 27:50-51 speaks of the moment when Jesus died on the cross. The Bible tells us that at that moment, the veil in the temple was rent in two, symbolizing that people can now go directly to God for confession and forgiveness of sin. You no longer have to wait for a certain time of confession or for a priest to be there to hear your sins. Jesus is there every moment ready to hear your confession and grant forgiveness. That feeling of lightness and forgiveness can be yours anytime you come in true repentance to the Lord.