Monday, June 29, 2009

When Was the Last Time You Had a Long Line for Confession?

And missed being able to receive the Eucharist as a result?

That's what happened to me yesterday. I knew on Saturday that I needed to go to Confession but missed a nearby parish opportunity at 4:00 PM. As I drove to church yesterday morning, I thought I would be arriving early enough to go to Confession before Mass. Confession starts at 8:30 AM and continues until 8:55 AM.

When I walked in at 8:40 AM, I saw ten people standing in line for one priest. Egads. I realized I probably wouldn't make it. I spent the rest of the time in prayer and repentance. However, on the other hand, I thought, "What a fantastic 'problem' to have at a parish! Too many people in a confession line!"

I think the Sacrament of Reconciliation is going to experience an increase of participation. I believe the Holy Spirit is going to pour onto us conviction in great measure, so much that we will truly feel sorrow in our hearts for our sins. Repentance is such a gift. Only those with hardened hearts fail to recognize sin in their own lives. Only by the grace of God are we given eyes to see how far we have fallen from God's desires for our lives. Without this grace, we continue along our merry way, thinking our sin is "no big deal."

What will we, as a church, look like when we start taking this Sacrament seriously? I think of how going to confession transforms us, absolves us, and how we agree to keep from sinning again. As we are transformed, so then we transform those around us. Jesus Christ affected everyone around Him. Whether they fell at His feet in adoration or hurled insults and crucified Him - people were affected. When we pursue God more deeply, we become increasingly aware of our sin and how this affects our relationship with Him. And so, going to confession on a regular basis is not only desirable but absolutely necessary in order to retain a healthy, maturing spiritual life with our Heavenly Father.

Saying, "I'm sorry, I messed up." is never easy for any of us. I can speak for myself by saying I can turn and twist anything into justifying my sinful actions. This is why I need confession. It keeps me honest and on the right path.

Pope Benedict XVI opened the "Year for Priests" in this way:

In opening the Year for Priests that he personally conceived and orchestrated, Benedict XVI has said that his aim is that of demonstrating "how important the holiness of priests is for the life and mission of the Church." And as a model of this sanctity, he offered the Curé of Ars and Padre Pio.

...Prayer, the Eucharist, the sacrament of penance: these were the three shining lights of their sanctity. The third of these is especially striking, in an age like the present when the sacrament of penance is hardly received at all, having fallen into neglect partly through the carelessness of many priests.Benedict XVI has particularly insisted on the necessity of revitalizing this sacrament, in opening the Year for Priests.

Reviving Confession: Curé of Ars and Padre Pio

It's a good article and I hope you read it. Where are those priests who challenge us to lead a holier life? And where are the people who will respond? Let us together answer that call.


Shirley said...

Have you read St. Alphonsus Ligouri "Preparation For Death"? It is a very inspiring book on the subject of sin and repantance.

Unknown said...

I remember during Lent, I was the first one to arrive for confession. When I stepped out, there was a nice little group that had gathered for their turn. Now, I didn't miss mass or the Eucharist since I made it to the 4pm Saturday scheduled confession. Thanks for this post, it has reminded me that I need to make a point to go this Saturday. I'm overdue.

Cammie Diane said...

How wonderful that so many people go to confession at your parish! The only time I really see anyone else is right before Easter during Lent!

X said...

It's my understanding that you could have received but would have had to go to Confession as soon as possible after Mass.