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Do you avoid confession?!

Mar 2, 2017

Did you know that I suffered from confession-phobia for many years? Like 25 of them. In my childhood, I attended Baptist services and VBS where both the Divine
Vengeance and Divine Mercy aspects of God were vividly preached. I was taught to tell God I was sorry for those naughty things I did and that God would forgive me right then and there. So each night I told God “Sorry. Sorry! Sorry!!”… then woke up the next morning and did the same naughty things! And I didn’t really feel all that forgiven.

My family converted to Catholicism as I was entering high school. I spent a year studying the faith with Sr. Paulette, who no doubt was amazed at my ability to enlighten her with a memorized Bible verse (naughty again). She was as patient with me as she was kind. But I resisted this tell-the-priest-your-sins thing that Catholics had going on. I’d been telling my sins to God and being forgiven every night! Why did I need to go into that little wooden box in the back of church and turn my dark-side over for another person to hear? Isn’t it enough for God to hear my “Sorry. Sorry! Sorry!!”?
Nope. It’s not. And let me tell you why. I was missing the most important part: GRACE! A sacrament is “an outward sign instituted by Christ to give GRACE” and I was missing the GRACE to ‘go and sin no more.’

When Fr. Cory put on his white alb and green stole and prays before entering the confessional, he is putting on Christ and losing himself. He remembers nothing but gives everything.

And Nope. I was also missing the fact that I am a human being and in my humanity, I use my senses for perception. To truly “feel” forgiven, I need to physically hear Jesus tell me my sins are forgiven. When Fr. Cory says the words of forgiveness, I am a free and joy-filled woman to go and love and serve Our Lord without burden!
And Nope. Nope. My sin isn’t just between God and I. Most times I’ve hurt someone else. In my human nature, I want to just move on and not look back. But in the
sacrament of confession, I get Christ telling me how to make amends with those I hurt.

My prayer for our parish this week is that we all have the COURAGE to give over our weakest moments to the Lord and receive His GRACE in return. That is an uneven exchange, I know, but it’s why He died for you.

Laura Stierman, Director of Formation