Last week a new app was released that is intended to guide Catholics to Confession. I'm actually upset that along with the checklist and guidence it doesn't include foursquare directions to the nearest Church with a MassTimes link to Confession times. Priest hotline or text numbers may have been nice too. Text "Priest" HELP! Because the liberal papers would have us all believe priests don't do anything but molest our kids and eat so they've got plenty of time to drop everything and come running and save us all from final damnation. Amen.
The other day I posted in rage. I was really angry about a local paper making insinuations about a priest I know, like and admire greatly. This particular priest has always been very kind and gracious to me and I know many in the Archdiocese share my high opinion of him.
Speaking of priests I like and admire, I want to give a public shout-out to Fr. Andrew
. I've never actually met Father in person but I've friended him online and he is one of the greatest spiritual directors I know. Why? Because without droning on and on or quoting reams of Aquinas or Augustine he only ever has to say a few words and I correct myself. He's great at reminding me to pray in times of upset. He's a terrific advocate of the DMC-Divine Mercy Chaplet. Hey, Cathy, pray that DM! Father reminded me to pray for the soul of a young man who committed suicide. In my rage, I forgot about the second victim and was ashamed.
Thru the tools of our modern era we can all become better Catholics and better people. To be a true Catholic IS to be a better person. Via online media I've "met" many strong Catholic priests and lay people. These friendships have definitely helped me.
Speaking of Confession. I'm a strong advocate and user of the Sacrament. I go at least once/month as part of my First Friday Devotion. The longest I can go is one month but typically I may also go several times/week or every other week. My schedule of Confession is based upon my Examination of Conscience-the new app appears it can help guide a Catholic who may not have done an Examination of their Conscience for a while thru the effort.
I don't want anyone to think I'm a Saint because I go to Confession-or that I any bigger of a sinner than anyone else because I go to Confession. I go because I accept and believe in the Sacrament. I accept and believe that I need to be properly disposed before receiving the Lord in the Eucharist. I go to Confession because I accept and believe that the consecrated Bread and Wine become the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Because I accept and believe that Mass is mandatory and an important part of my life, I don't want to risk damnation by receiving the Lord in an unworthy manner. Do you follow any of what I just said? As night follows day, once you accept the Mass is important and the consecrated elements ARE Jesus, why would you put Jesus in a garbage dump of a soul trashed and stinking with sin?
People frequently ask me: Cathy, what is your reversion story? There are many signposts in the long journey but I will tell you with certainty that once I finally learned and accepted that during the consecration of the Mass the Bread and Wine actually BECOME Jesus, everything else fell into place for me. I'm not kidding. It wasn't easy but I'm not kidding. The Real Presence. Period.
For over 3 decades of my life, I went to Confession exactly twice-my First Confession and a second time because my Mom made me go. I was taught, and I believed it, that the Second Vatican Council "did away" with the need to go to Confession. Apparently, Vatican II removed all sin from the world in a way that not even the Son of God could manage-gee!
Going to Confession is nothing to be scared of. Facing your sins can be scary but actually stepping into the box should be the easiest thing to do. Honestly, it never has bothered me that someone else, a stranger, listens to my sins recited. It bothers me and scares me more to have to admit them to myself. God already knows. Jesus already knows. He knows before you even show up at the Church.
To do an Examination of Conscience in the appropriate way also means, if you have a problem with authority, accepting that a list of sins that "someone else" put together may be a reflection of disapproval against something you've done. I think in this day and age of relativism and morality being defined by a majority vote it's harder for many to read the Ten Commandments and accept they truly violated one of them then it is to go to Confession.
Stepping into the Confession is like entering another dimension-you are stepping outside of yourself. You are getting past yourself. Even opening the door and parting the curtain is radical and countercultural. It's a statement that says you are subverting the dominant paradigm.
There have been times I thought the priest was phoning it in from the Twilight Zone which is why I'm selective about the priests I will see for Confession. I recite my sins and I think "Hello, is there anybody in there?" as the priest comes back with something that seems to indicate he was not listening or he's bored by it all or just plain not engaged.
The age of the priest and the amount of years he's been in service don't matter. Is he only there to prove to the Archbishop he's scheduled some times like he should? I've found, in this Archdiocese, that priests that were trained, educated or influenced by a solid priest (who may or may not still be around) are the best Confessors.
But, my editorial comments about my favorite priests aside, whatever and whoever the faults of the man on the other side of the curtain may be, when you hear the words of Absolution, that's it. You are whole again.
Why delay? Look for Confession today!