Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Confession - A Healthy Dose of Reality

Yesterday as I was out for a walk and praying the rosary, I thought about how much I treasure being so utterly candid with God in my prayer intentions. It's satisfying to be so honest with myself, too.

In several ways, Confession is my favorite Sacrament. It is so liberating. Just as a joke, I thought of my own "Demotivational" poster . . .

Because if you suck, you should at least know why.

Hehehe. Totally kidding.

Have you ever gone through a time haunted by a vague sense of shame? Perhaps in talking with a friend you eventually find yourself confessing some sin or hidden motive or desire or hurt or anger that you didn't realize was deep inside of you. Ahhhh. Then you feel so much better, and even if it is a painful realization, you can face reality and deal with it in a mature and thoughtful manner. Doesn't that feel so good? It feels good to grow in virtue.

That's what Confession is like. Jesus said that the truth will set us free, and He was not kidding.

If something is hurting me, I like to know that my hurt is based in reality and not simply my imagination running wild with scenarios completely out of touch with what is really going on.

Proverbs 24:26 reads, "An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips." Have you ever had someone be painfully honest with you? Even when it stings, isn't it liberating? And have you ever had someone express feelings towards you that were insincere (i.e. lying to you, leading you on)? Ouch. That can be more painful than an honest, "Sorry, but I'm just not interested."

It's all about living in reality. That's where true happiness and freedom lies. How can we better live in reality, to see things as they truly are? Go to Confession. Do an examination of conscience. Confession is the perfect way to examine how you may be lying to yourself about your own actions and desires. It's a great way to examine if you've been living as if something is true that is not true. It's perfect for coming clean if you are using another person in some way. It feels good to "face the music."

I enjoy the lyrics to most every Relient K song, but I especially find comfort in the words of "Forward Motion": "It's good to experience the bittersweet, to taste defeat then brush my teath. Because I struggle with forward motion. We all struggle with forward motion. Forward motion is harder than it sounds. Every time I gain some ground, I've got to turn myself around again." So true.

After Confession, then you receive Christ's own absolution and grace from your priest. Hopefully the priest is also wise to give you counsel about how to face reality better and to make amends as you journey towards deeper freedom in Christ and therefore in life.

John 8:31-36 "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' They answered Him, 'We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, "You will be made free"?' Jesus answered them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.'" (NKJV)

Get real. Get clean. Confess, and be free to live in reality!


*The still above is from Alfred Hitchcock's film I Confess. I've not yet seen it, but my priest highly recommends it as an exemplary depiction of the "seal of the confessional". All Catholic priests are utterly forbidden to disclose anything revealed in the Confessional . . . ANYTHING. They cannot even bring it up outside of the Confessional with the person who confessed it (unless that person brings the matter up to the priest again outside of Confession). If a priest reveals anything from a Confession to anyone, then I believe he can be excommunicated. (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1467.)

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