I Need My Fix

I have a confession to make: I'm addicted to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. That's right -- Confession. I love it; or rather, I love the pure feeling of knowing my sins are truly and permanently forgiven. It's been about two weeks since I last entered the booth, and I can feel the difference.

There's nothing like the moments, hours and days immediately following a good confession. The actual confession is horrid -- like taking a shot of some particularly nasty elixir. My parish priest, bless his heart, tries to make the process as easy as possible, but frankly, listing your sins before God and your priest should make you feel uncomfortable. If you think the hot flush of embarrassment hitting your cheeks as you stutter through the whole sordid list and the gripping sense of shame in your heart is bad, imagine Jesus actually suffering on the cross for those same sins, then get down on your knees and thank Him for how easy you have it in comparison. Admitting what we did and saying we're sorry for it, no matter how humiliating, is a cakewalk compared to what happened at Calvary.

Anyway, confession itself is rightly awful. But something wonderful happens in the moments after the priest declares your absolution -- you actually feel absolved. It's like being presented with a new start in life. Father is fond of assigning Bible reading and prayer for penance, so I usually go straight from the Confessional to a pew, sit before the Blessed Sacrament, and do my penance there before I have a chance to forget. It is usually during this time that the clean feeling washes over me, and the really great thing is that it stays. How long? Well, it diminishes with each sin I commit. After a couple of weeks, I feel more or less like my old self again, which is NOT a good thing. But the amazing thing is that the graces poured out in the Confessional make me more aware of sin and temptation in the first place.

The first time I went to Confession, I was amazed by the feeling of grace and peace I had the next day, and how much easier it was to avoid sin and choose good. And then I got stuck in traffic.

Now, I am a traffic screamer, in the worst way. I holler and shout and drop the f-bomb and all manner of other obcenities that I'm sure will come back to haunt me in the form of a young boy who will probably call someone important a bleepity-bleep someday at exactly the wrong moment, like the Bishop at First Communion, or Grandma at Thanksgiving dinner. Anyway, this is my standard M.O., so I was surprised as I pulled onto the freeway at 1 in the afternoon only to find it a six-lane parking lot that all I said, over and over was "Noooooooo. Noooooo! This wasn't supposed to happen! I'm already running late!" That was so incredibly tame for me that I thought someone else was speaking for a minute. And then I remembered: Confession. Ten minutes later, when someone blocked me from my exit, I finally cursed under my breath. And literally as it was coming out of my mouth, I was trying desperately to suck it back in -- which means I NOTICED! I noticed my sin, instead of numbly, callously driving the nails further into Jesus's hands without even a second thought. My traffic-induced diarrhea of the mouth was not only under much better control than it had been the day before, but it HURT. And that's a good thing.

I share this story to show that Confession is about more than just forgiveness. There really is supernatural grace available in the sacraments that help us to live out the promises we make in the Act of Contrition -- specifically to "sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin." It doesn't elminate our ability to screw up -- after all, humankind has been perfecting the daily rejection of God's grace for thousands of years. But there is a marked difference in our ability to resist evil when we are fresh from the Confessional as opposed to two weeks, two months, or twenty years later.

So it's been two weeks, and I need to go back. I need God's grace; I want to feel clean. I shower my temporal body every day -- the least I can do is let God bathe my eternal soul a couple of times a month.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4/29/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger C.C. said...

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4/29/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is Miko from the Home for homeschoolers forum. My DH and I are praying and studying about which Ancient Church (Catholic or Orthodox) contains the fullness of truth. I have really appreciated reading about your journey to the Catholic Church, and am sorry that someone has allowed Satan to use them to "steal your joy" so to speak. Wherever we end up, the sacrement of Confession is something I am really looking forward to. Glad to hear about your experiences with it!
May God continue to bless you.

4/29/2006 04:00:00 PM  

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