September 03, 2010

Endless Wait and Panic

Have you ever had one of those occasions when you are in serious sin,perhaps even mortal sin, and you are panic stricken at the thought of not being able to find an open Confessional? What if you don't even know where a priest is? What if Father is late for his regularly scheduled Confession times and there you sit in utter despair and panic. The wait seems endless. What if he doesn't show up? What is your backup plan? Where else can I go? What should I do?

Yes, you brought this state upon yourself, but it is at a time like this, when you really need the Sacrament of Confession, that you appreciate Christ's servant, the priest, the most. One of my worst nightmares is to die unshriven. Talk about a time when you really need a priest.

It wasn't always like this for me. There was a time I never went to Confession; much less waited for it. There were many decades when I thought Confession was ridiculous; a relic of a bygone era-something that Vatican II did away with.

Today, I experience panic if I need it and it's denied me for whatever reason. I don't know about you but I'm scared to travel any great distance without knowing my soul is as clean as it can be. I have a lot of nearby parishes Confession schedules memorized. I'm fortunate that there are enough options nearby that I've never had to call and schedule a special appointment.

I don't want anyone to think that I've reached this point in my life due to any great holiness and wisdom I possess. I've reached this point in my life because, thanks be to God, I realize how pathetic and sinful I really am. I fall into the same traps over and over. It's a sign of God's great mercy that He does not just pull up the ladder and forget about me.

If you've no idea what I'm talking about when I express my concern about being "right with God" ask yourself 'why'? Do you think there is nothing wrong with you? Do you think you are perfect or even ok just as you are and dang it people like you? Gosh, Cathy, I've never killed anyone so everyone I do must be fine relative to that?

Note the emphases on "you" in the excuses and justifications you make. When is the last time you did an "examination of conscience" based upon the 10 Commandments? or the Catechism? or a pocket guide to Confession? Never? Rarely? Not enough?

Why not?

Analyzing sin is terrifying so I can understand why some are afraid to do it. However, think about this, if you don't analyze your sins someone else will and then it will be too late to be sorry.


Blogger Fr. John Mary, ISJ said...

Confession is such a great gift...absolution makes everything "okay".
Just a thought: if you cannot get to confession or some obstacle prevents you, know that a perfect Act of Contrition and the desire to confess is the way to return to grace.
Not that you should go to Communion until you've made your confession (in the case of mortal sin)...but you can rest assured that in the event of death, you can be ready to meet God; that's a great consolation of our Faith.

September 04, 2010 1:21 PM  
Blogger Adoro said...

Cathy: I just tagged you. you're IT!

September 05, 2010 12:22 AM  
Blogger Mary Rose said...

Excellent post! I know I've also re-examined my views on the confessional. Thank God for this blessed Sacrament!

I also tagged you in my latest post! :-)

September 05, 2010 6:25 AM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

"I'm scared to travel any great distance without knowing my soul is as clean as it can be."

Oh yes.

Confession is the most underappreciated Sacrament, and the most humbling...must be some connection there...can't figure it out, though.

September 05, 2010 12:07 PM  
Blogger Just another mad Catholic said...

what about those of us who can be really scruprulous?

September 08, 2010 12:39 PM  
Blogger Tancred said...

You could just do what Graham Green's Whiskey Priest did and say your act of contrition over and over again till you get to a Confessional. Although, I don't think Whiskey Priest ever got to a confessional, he got to the firing squad first and got to die a Martyr's death, in spite of himself, without malice or hatred for his enemies.

Of course, Graham Green liked to play Russian Roulette too.

September 12, 2010 1:31 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Nazareth Priest, the problem is that we can't know for certain that we *have* made a perfect act of contrition. So after committing mortal sin we can't rest assured that we've returned to a state of grace and are ready to meet God until we get to Confession (where imperfect contrition suffices) and receive the objective, certain absolution at the hands of a priest.

It's true we might have made a perfect act of contrition and been forgiven already, but God doesn't send down a receipt from Heaven saying: "Dear Penitent, your sorrow was due to pure love of Me and not to any fear of Hell; therefore you were perfectly contrite and your sins have been forgiven in advance of Confession."

So we have no assurance until Confession-- a fact which isn't emphasized nearly enough, I think.

September 15, 2010 11:56 AM  

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