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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In the Confessional

I try to go to Confession frequently. My husband Phillip and I take turns every other Saturday. One of us watches the kids while the other one drives to Confession. Going weekly would be better, but at least this way, whichever one of us is going to Confession has some quiet time to pray, contemplate, and do a proper examination of conscience.

One of the recurring things I have to confess is the way in which I lose my patience with my children. I immediately feel terrible when it happens, but there are times that it comes so quickly and the words shoot out of my mouth before I have even formed a thought. 2 seconds before it happens I have no idea it is about to happen. I cannot seem to control the reaction. This always coincides with lack of sleep. The less I sleep the more likely I am to snap. And I am always immediately regretful.

The problem, actually, is not just snapping at them or saying things that are less than loving and kind. Though its wrong to talk to them like that, what I think is worse is the anger in my heart. I just get so angry, and it flares up in a millisecond with a force that is so overwhelming that it bursts forth in words and tone.

I sort of think that if you have to confess the same thing regularly, then something is not right. How can I keep making the same mistakes over and over? I always resolve to never do it again. And then I do.

However, I console myself with the fact that each time it happens and I confess it, it takes longer and longer for me to fall into the same sin again. Maybe eventually with the help of the Lord I will master it completely. In the meantime, I am grateful for the Sacrament of Confession. Through it I am renewed, washed clean, and given bright hopes for the future.

As a side note, when I went through RCIA my sponsor and pretty much the entire class taught that we did not really need to go to Confession, or shall I say "Reconciliation". They showed us a video once of how to confess, and it was a face to face confession that took the form of a conversation. "Hey, Father, how are ya? Did you see the game yesterday?" None of this, "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned." In my opinion, this brings focus and attention to the priest as a person instead of In Persona Christi and creates a light hearted social interaction that should have no place in the confessional. The sinner comes with weight on his or her soul, to be absolved and to come closer to God - not to shoot the breeze with the priest. The interaction should reflect the seriousness of the situation. But that is just my opinion, and I know that I am not in the majority.

My RCIA sponsor never, ever would go to Confession. The last time he "confessed" was in a communal absolution of sins where you put your sins on a paper that went into a basket and they all got burned or something hippie like that. Then the priest gave communal absolution for those sins.

I think calling it Reconciliation diminishes the seriousness of the sins we commit. While I am at it, let me say I am also not a fan of the face to face Confessions. I am already nervous about it every time (yes, even though I go frequently!) so when I have to do it face to face I feel even more nervous. Give me a screened confessional booth any day.


  1. Loved this post! I wish I lived closer to you because I think we could be great friends. I was just having some of these same thoughts the other day. I too get down on myself for having to confess the same things over and over. I guess for now, we can just be Catholic blogging buddies! haha! Great great great thoughts on confession vs. reconciliation

  2. haha thanks! Glad you liked it. That is too awesome, I am glad to have found a Catholic blogging buddy! :) Where do you live?

  3. I went through RCIA in 1998. I changed through two different Catholic churches before I found an RCIA that actually taught the Catholic faith arrg!

  4. Coffee Catholic - isn't is SAD that so many RCIAs do not teach the full Truth? I tried to become a sponsor shortly after I was baptized in 2006, but they had too many volunteers and didn't need me. I think it may be time to try again. PS - Thanks for following!

  5. I live in Oklahoma City. Not a great diocese... apparently it was an "experimental" diocese in the 70s, meaning they used it to try a lot of weird new liturgical stuff. Still shows through around here. We do have a Latin Mass that is like 45 minutes from where we live though.

  6. Confession is communion with God through an intermediary (the priest). It is an intimate, soul searching time. You must confess your whole heart - something I myself find VERY hard to do, and I am a lifelong Catholic!

    You get angry at your children, not because you hate them, but quite the opposite - you LOVE them and you want to see them grow and succeed in life. In fact, you would be doing them harm by NOT getting mad at them, because they would never learn self-respect, respect for others, or proper behavior. It seems to me that God, being the ultimate parent of everything and everybody, ALLOWS you your human feelings, because He knows that by going through it, and also, going to Confession on a regular basis, you WILL improve on your anger - believe me, I know anger - I'm a Leo, see?

    Just think, you CAN tell that you are improving your behavior, because you are slowly becoming slower and slower to anger, like God - 'Slow to anger, rich in kindness'.

    I have heard that when the priest intones 'I confess, to Almighty God...' with the congregation, it is a group confession. That may be, but I still need (and actually enjoy, believe it or not) the intimacy of the Confessional. New Catholic or Old, single or married, we ALL need constant and mindful Confessions.

  7. Thanks Edgar for being so supportive! You are a very kind friend. PS- Is it slightly ironic that you are a faithful Catholic who proclaims his astrological sign? LOL just teasing. See you at Schola on Tuesday! And thanks for the thoughtful comment!


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