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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Amazing Confession

Something incredible happened last night, and in looking over my's something that had been building although I didn't recognize it until I experienced the fulfillment of what Our Lord wanted to offer me.

God's grace is powerful, people.

I was at an Advent penance service (all individual confessions, no readings, et. al.), and as I was working, I spent a lot of the day praying for the penitents, that everything go well, and admittedly, for myself. And of coruse, that also meant that I was spending a lot of time setting things up as I had to coordinate much of the event, which was taking place for the religious education students.

It's been a very "dark" Advent for me, as I've been really struggling with something in particular, to the point of it being an all-out battle. Yes, we all have our "favorite" sins, I've just decided it's time to eliminate (or at least control) one of them.

Well, as I went through my day, I was often in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and so there was an ongoing conversation with Jesus, especially with regard to Confession. I just went on Friday, and I didn't feel like I "needed" to go last night, but I WANTED to. As a rule, I don't go to Confession at work; I'm there for work and there should be a certain separation. As I have abundant access to the Sacraments, this really isn't a problem nor is it avoidance. It's just practical.

But last night, I had a sense that I was supposed to go to Confession, and that impression got stronger throughout the night. It would be face to face with a priest that I'd met through work, but whom I really didn't know. One of them, anyway. (There were several present tonight).

I've written of this before, but I very much prefer going to Confession anonymously, as it helps me to focus on what I need to say and who is REALLY hearing my sins, as opposed to the person standing in for Christ in that moment. So as you can imagine, I didn't relish the idea of going face to face, but I learned a long time ago that when I get that sense of needing to do something, and even a sense of peace about it, well, I have to obey.

As we neared the close of the evening, I looked around to see who was available of if any of the students seemed to be still waiting to join a line. All of the lines were coming to an end, but there was one priest in particular I was drawn towards. I didn't know him, knew nothing about him. Didn't even know his name. But I approached him tonight and instead of just saying, as I had for an earlier session,"We're done, Father, thank you for coming tonight", I sat down in the chair opposite him and said, "I need Confession, too."

As it turned out...he was EXACTLY the right priest, and as he responded to me, I was able to look him in the eye and know what humility was all about. One of my fears with going face to face is that I will sugar coat my sins, or maybe omit something out of embarassment, or shame, or what-have-you. Tonight I looked him in the eye, knowing that I was speaking to Christ through the person He sent me to, and knowing that right behind me was Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. And I could respond candidly, I could confess candidly...and it wasn't so bad.

What's so ironic is that this took place at my work...while I wore my nametag, where I might see this priest again, where he knows my boss, the pastor. All "conflicts" built up in my mind that I didn't want to deal with.

Here's the great thing; as it turned out, he knew the kind of struggle I was having from personal experience so made some recommendations based on that. We even spoke a little further after he had absolved me, as there was no one else in line. I can't even BEGIN to tell you what a great experience it was to swallow my pride in order to better confront some old rag of a sin.

And there's another cool thing; when he absolved me, he actually laid his hand on my head, and this time, when he said the words, it's as if that particular connection finally got through to me; I am forgiven!

It's OVER.

That sin...those sins....are GONE.


I know that it's in the rite for the priest to actually lay his hand on the penitent's head during absolution, but I've never experienced that before, even in previous face to face confessions.

And you know....I feel free tonight. Jesus heard my prayers and brought me in a very profound way to His mercy. And even though I wasn't kneeling, and even though I wasn't "prepared", it was as it was supposed to be. Jesus drew me to exactly the right priest for this particular confession of this particular sin in my life.


All day long, I'd been praying and what continued to come to me in prayer was "Trust Me". I have a very difficult time in trusting anyone...meaning REAL trust, and I think that's also why I prefer anonymous confessions. And all day long...I was in the presence of Christ. And all day, He was calling me to trust Him with my soul...where else could I go?

We can't always pick and choose the right "time" for something. I would have preferred to have had this happen at my own comfortable parish, either with a priest known or unknown to me, but at least "home". Yet I see God's wisdom at work and how He prepared me throughout the day to do what He was asking me to do. The Holy Spirit is a perfect gentleman; He does not force us to do anything, but asks us, gently, and if we are willing to cooperate, He guides us in the way we should go. He speaks through the people in our life, and profoundly through the Sacrament of Confession.

I know I've been saying this a lot, and I'm going to keep saying it; if you've been away from the Sacrament of Confession for a long time, please go. Spend time in Eucharistic Adoration and allow Christ Himself to prepare you, and no matter what your fears....TRUST HIM. God wills our good, He desires that we come to him, especially with those things that make us fearful.

Take that step. Trust Jesus with your soul, and trust that He loves you even more than His own life, which He laid down for you.


Lillian Marie said...

Praise God that you were ameniable to His gentle nudgings! How awesome!!

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

It always intrigues me how we end up being in the right situation at the right time. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, Wow! Crying here--I know, I know, that total trust--the total freedom--in exposing the sin, you don't sugar-coat anything--not to Jesus--he knows your heart! And He forgives you, and He gives you new grace to fight the ongoing sin--that's why I go to Confession so often--the grace, I need the grace.

God knew what He was doing when He gave us such a great Sacrament--when taken with love and complete trust--ahh, the Grace! It heals us--thanks adoro, for sharing your experience.

Paul said...

Wow. Just wow. I need to get to confession myself.