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Saturday, March 08, 2008

You are a new creation...

Last night I went to Adoration in order to prepare myself for Confession, and I did what I haven't done in a long time; I brought the examination of conscience in with me. Had I not done so, I would have forgotten some of the things I needed to discuss. And still, there were some things I forgot.

And always...always...the priest, in his advice to me, never discusses the most serious sins. Rather, he focuses on maybe the one I hadn't brought up in awhile, or ever. Yet every time, I stand outside in line, waiting to go, worried about my worst sins. And maybe he never discusses them because Jesus aready knows I know how serious they are and I beat myself up over it terribly. In fact, although last night in making my confession I just went through the list, Father actually SAID to me, "Don't beat yourself up so much...."


That really just proves it. How did he KNOW I was beating myself up so much? It wasn't apparent in my confession. The Holy Spirit, again. And that kind of thing ALWAYS happens with this priest. He's an awesome confessor, always has just the right thing to say.

It's as though God has me on my own special "Confession Series". The last time I went to this priest, he told me to focus on some of the "smaller" sins. Because it is the little things that lead to to bigger ones. We don't commit more serious sins all of a sudden; rather, we committ them through a series of other bad choices, or, to describe it more properly, by rejecting God's love in small ways first. And those small ways build up and drop us into a pit of our own making. (Those are my words, not his.) I have thought about this often in the last several weeks, so it seems like his advice to me last night was just the next step, this time focusing on conversion. He even pointed out that if Lent is just awful for us, if we suddenly convert on the very last day we can still have an incredible Easter. And of course, our conversion should be ongoing.

The one disturbing thing about my confession....Father was speaking of my conversion as though it is something in the future. As if he knows I'll be back in the box at least one more time before Holy Week. And you know, I probably will, even if it is a confession of devotion as opposed to HAVING to go. And he's right: conversion is ongoing, through Lent, through the Easter season, on through the entire year.

But my evening wasn't done. On Fridays in lent, our parish has Stations of the Cross followed by the evening Mass, which has really been meaningful.

The first time I went to Stations, I didn't mean to do so. It was a few years ago and I thought I was going to Mass, only to learn that I had walked into Stations and didn't even hav a book to follow along. So I just listened, and I was bored, and completely not engaged.

Last year and this year, though, I've made it a point to go every week. They rotate the different versions so that it doesn't become rote. And last night's version was just INCREDIBLE because it was as though I was making my confession all over again. All the agony I've gone through in the last couple weeks was there, including some of the agony I caused myself and others through my sins. In some ways, I wished I could just take that book and go back to confession. But instead, I used it to convict myself further, to strengthen my purpose of amendment. (I have GOT to find that booklet and buy it!)

Mass was, as always, beautiful, and because of all the wonderful graces of the evening, I was really able to bring myself to Him in a special way. And through little things that happened, even down to the words for the music that was chosen, I sensed that He was speaking "just to me".

It's always amazing that we can go to Mass, worship God together as a community...and still know that we are beloved, individually. Each one of us can have God's undivided attention, no matter how many others are present and receiving that undivided attention at the same time. It's just one of the most profound mysteries of God, completely unexplainable, completely necessary, completely...God.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

"He even pointed out that if Lent is just awful for us, if we suddenly convert on the very last day we can still have an incredible Easter. And of course, our conversion should be ongoing."
Isn't Lent always "awful"? I'm amazed every year with the creative ways Our Lord uses to get my attention. I am praying for that ongoing conversion!