C is for Confession

C is for Confession #AtoZchallenge @fillpraycloset on TwitterIs it C already? Yesterday we knocked out B is for Bible. Did you share your favorite bible guy?

Today we will briefly discuss Confession. Oooooh. It’s not as sordid as you think. And those Hollywood images of dark rooms of shame with priests hidden behind screens? Get them outta your head. Doesn’t happen anymore.

Unless of course the church fails to pay it’s light bill?? I digress…

What is it?

Confession is also known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation or the Sacrament of Penance. We won’t get into what a Sacrament is, because then today would be letters C and S and it’s not that! We’re being brief, remember? But let’s just take a second to highlight just how interconnected the Catholic faith is. It’s hard to compartmentalize the Catholic faith, because one thing comes from another and is handed down from Jesus to the Apostles and so on. See? Easy to go off on a tangent.

Confession. As Catholics, we speak with priests privately during church scheduled times, and by appointment, to confess our sins. We confess because, in that way we prepare ourselves to receive the Eucharist (or Communion). There’s that interconnected thing again. A Catholic who has committed mortal sin  has to seek God’s forgiveness in this sacrament asap!  According to The Bishops of Pennsylvania in “A Guide to the Sacrament of Penance”

Confession is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ in his love and mercy. It is here that we meet the loving Jesus who offers sinners forgiveness for offenses committed against God and neighbor. At the same time, Confession permits sinners to reconcile with the Church which is also wounded by our sins.

Here’s a list of 10 Benefits of Confession, written by Sister Mary Ann Walsh. Her first reason knocks it out of the park for me:

1. Confidentiality guaranteed. There’s nothing like confessing your sins to someone guaranteed not to tell anyone else. Sometimes you need to talk in absolute confidence. Even under subpoena, a priest can’t tell anyone what’s said to him in confession. He can’t even hint at it. Now that’s confidentiality.

Why did I choose to share this particular “C” with you?

There was a time where I was feeling quite low. I didn’t know why, or where it came from. I sort of still don’t. I went to confession because my son was going, he’s 9. He wanted to confess something he felt badly about. I just went in there to talk. I just plopped in there, looked at the priest face to face, (in a well lit room) and said “You ready, Father?” After all was said and done, you know what he said? “Me too, Cristina. I feel the same way” Then he offered some suggestions and books to read and absolved me.

Here was this humble priest, acting in persona Christi, empathizing with me. He felt the same way I did and he shared that with me. It was a connection I wasn’t expecting, but shouldn’t I have? God in Persona Christi, at that moment, was with me and told me, “Yes, me too”. Why wouldn’t I go to confession?!? Here’s a very famous painting by Rembrandt for your take-home goodie bag.

Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1662–1669 (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1662–1669 (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pope Francis just gave a talk (we call this particular talk Catechesis, because it’s a Catholic teaching). This one in particular is in preparation for those making Sacrament of Baptism or Confirmation). If Pope Francis is talking about it, you know I have to.

Come back tomorrow for one of my favorite letters in the alphabet, D. I am blogging my way through the alphabet with others who are doing the same. 

Please support the bloggers of the #AtoZchallenge by visiting, sharing or commenting. We have all worked long and hard to prepare these posts, some prepping for a couple of months, as we posted our regular schedule, took care of our children, went to work, had the flu…well, you get the idea.

Advertisements

54 thoughts on “C is for Confession

  1. Well said. It lightens the burden and the feeling of being forgiven is amazing. That said, it shouldn’t be taken as a loophole where one can sin and confess every time. And love the Rembrant painting – muted earthy tones, yet harsh in places..

    Like

    1. Right! And that’s a great point! There are some sins I’ve committed that I need to confess more than once, but that’s just because I’m not perfect, not because I love the sin, you know? Thanks for you important insight!

      Like

  2. dun dun dunnnnnnnnnn…………….just kidding. The Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation is the 2nd thing that I’m most excited to receive upon coming into the Church (the first being Eucharist, of course!). If a person realizes that it’s one of the Healing Sacraments, it really sheds a whole new light on it. After all, if you’re feeling icky about something you did, who wouldn’t want to hear from Christ (persona Christi) that He has forgiven you! Doesn’t get much more healing than that – He knew that keeping those things tucked away in the dark corners would grow an ugly new monster in itself (kinda like that sandwich in the back of the fridge) and would wound us. Did you know that if a priest leaks anything about your confession he has to go to THE POPE and confess? Yikes! Good one, sistah! xoxo

    Like

  3. I completely changed my view about confession when I started studying Teresa of Avila in depth and found she went to her confessor in much the same way people go to life coaches. She went to her confessor to deal with living her life according to God’s will. She wanted to serve. What could she do to serve Him better? When I learned she followed the St. Ignatius Examen, I knew I needed to find out more. I did. It, and Teresa of Avila, changed my life! And no, I am not Catholic but I do have such a respect… and wow, when I visit St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco, I cry because of the beauty.

    I got to you before I even went to sleep, dear Cristina! How do you like that?! 🙂

    Julie Jordan Scott
    A to Z Challenge Participant/2011,12,13,14…..
    The Bold Writer from A to Z

    Like

    1. Teresa of Avila is amazing! What did you read? I need to know!!! The Interior Castle? One of my favorite quotes (aside from her more well known ones):

      “May today there be peace within.
      May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
      May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
      May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
      May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
      Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
      It is there for each and every one of us.”

      HOLY WOW!

      Like

  4. What???? No dark closet? No screen?? That’s it. I’m out. Jus’ kiddin’. But, really? You have to go face to face? That would be hard. Especially if it is something embarrassing. (like something your husband said to you that was a bit crass xoxo)

    Number 1 on Sister Mary Ann Walsh’s list was very surprising to me. As a legal assistant, I would have thought that a subpoena would cover every one. Mind you, I did civil litigation, so it wasn’t the same as criminal law (which I dabbled in too).

    Confession must be a very comforting sacrament (I hope I used the right term there).

    Like

    1. You did! Look at you! And no, now always face to face. But when Alex told me he did it that way, I thought, if he can do it, so can I. Kids, they inspire ya!

      Xo

      Like

    1. Yes Seethalususan! Light! We feel light when there is light and the Sacrament of Reconciliation does just that. Thank you for your insight on this one!!!

      Like

    1. Because scary sells! It’s very, very powerful Truth be told, I couldn’t wait to make my first confession 4 years ago. I got tired of carrying all the “junk” with me. I felt like I lost 20 pounds. Now, that’s a diet I like!

      Like

  5. I enjoyed your in depth explanation about confession. As a Protestant, I’ve always been curious about Catholics confession. Must be very cathartic.

    Cat

    Like

    1. Yes! Movies over-hype a lot of stuff – it’s entertaining. But just like books turned into movies, the source is always the best place to put it all into context!

      Like

  6. My church is old–built in the 1850s–so we do have the screens, and I like the screens, but we also have lights. 🙂 So no dark closet here!

    Like

    1. I actually like the screens too! That old school feel. We have a relatively modern looking parish, so I just sit right in front of the priest and get it out!

      Like

  7. I love this post! While I’m not Catholic, I did figure out years ago being honest and clearing the air is important, even if it’s just clearing the air with yourself! Life is much better when you’re not worrying about something big or small, and sometimes that worry can be resolved with something as simple as a conversation.

    Like

    1. I am SO glad you loved the post! Honest moment: I was nervous sharing this one. I know the Sacrament of Confession can be a controversial topic for some and I didn’t want it to get misunderstood. I am so glad it’s going over well! (Now I can sleep well tonight!!!)

      Like

  8. Back in the old days – it was so scary, Cristina. I remember this particular priest who would go loudly “You did what?” 😉 I’m now open to confession and I’ve learned not do do a list – but focus on one area that needs healing.

    Like

    1. I could just scream! I just learned this. This not listing thing. I was going to write about that in place of what I wrote. I have this confession app. Basically it lists the Commandments and asks questions – that you wouldn’t normally associate with the Commandment. For example: thou shall not kill. Simple. I stabbed no one. I’m good. Nope. Did you kill anyone with your words! Man!! It got me. In any case, it was good for me to see that there is more to the word Kill in the conventional sense. However, I was so consumed by the list that I wasn’t speaking from the heart – the place that needed to be healed. Now, I do! I still refer to the app because it’s great to have a reference for the ways in which sins occur, but I don’t fret like I used to! I love lists, but not the sin list! 🙂

      Like

    1. And believe it or not, the more you do it, the more you realize that the phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner” rings true. Especially if you add “because I am one!” We’re not perfect, but we can try, and that’s all that matters.

      Like

  9. Confession is good for the soul they say… And there’s this amazing sense of healing that comes in when we actually do confess especially to our loved ones…Great post!

    Like

  10. As I said before on my blog, I miss having someone I could confide in like that. It’s been a long time since I’ve been comfortable with a pastor/priest. Being away from military life, and the small community that it is (it really is when you live in it, not outside of it), it was much easier to connect to the military chaplain. 🙂

    But you’re right, sharing your feelings, your guilt, your sins, is wonderful relief…especially when you find someone who empathizes, not criticizes. And to know you are not alone, to know you are only human, and that God loves you regardless…that is wonderful!

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

    Like

  11. I know about confession, but truthfully, In movies and books and all, it seemed an excuse to say you feel bad but not really do anything about it, you know?

    Like

  12. Though I’m a non-denominational Christian, I think confession is extremely healthy. (I will admit I did fall into the darkened box group, but that’s because the Catholic church I went to when I was a young child fit that description.) Good word choice.

    Like

  13. There’s nothing better than connecting with a preacher/pastor/etc. on a deeper level. Sometimes it’s like we look at them and think, “You’re not really a person. You’re like a doorway to God.” I think that it can be easy to forget that they, too, are human. They have struggles. They sin. They fall short. All of us are just doing the best we can, amd we could all certainly use some forgiveness. Great post!

    Now, I’m all misty-eyed. Blah.

    xoxo

    Like

  14. My favorite sacrament after the Eucharist. We have the screen or the front row chair! I choose chair cause if I am sharing I like to be comfortable! Great post Christina

    Like

  15. I do remember confession from my childhood. Although I’m now far from the Catholic church, I still respect the religion and its sacraments.

    Like

  16. You do know that God wants you to confess your sins to him, and not to a priest. He (God) is there to listen to you all the time, no matter what day or time you speak to Him. He will always listen to your problems, your confessions, your praises, your worries – He is pretty awesome like that. So you don’t have to save your sins up to confess to anyone other than God.

    Ezra 10:11 – Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers, and do his pleasure.

    Psalm 32:5 – I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah..

    Daniel 9:4 – And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments.

    Remember, God wants a relationship with you. He loves you. He died for you. By not confessing to Him, you aren’t sharing yourself completely with Him. Let Jesus into your heart and love Him above anything else. Once you have done that, you will realise that He is the only one you need to confess your sins to. And as soon as you have confessed and apologised, you are forgiven. God forgives. He doesn’t punish you or expect you to do anything to ‘make up for it’. He forgives. How great is that?

    So rather than strengthening your relationship with the church, look first and foremost to God who wants you to trust and confide in Him.

    Like

    1. Dearest Rebeccah,

      Thank you so much for visiting, and further, your concern that I could be seeking the church and priests first before God. Rest assured, that is not the case.

      God bless you,
      Cristina

      Like

  17. 1. I have always been intrigued by the concept of confession, and honestly have always wanted to try it out. Is confession reserved only for Catholics? Or at least, only for believers? Or can anyone in need utilize confession?

    2. I found in discussions with my therapist that some {but not all, by far} of what we talked about revolved around me admitting to certain feelings or actions. And in talking it out with a sympathetic listener, I was often able to attain a certain level of relief and self-forgiveness. Does this at all come close to what confession feels like? I’m so curious.

    3. No screens now — huh! Didn’t know that, either. Not sure if that would make it easier or harder to get to the nitty-gritty.

    4. Did someone really just try to school you? You handled it well, but I gotta say, I’m offended on your behalf. blah!

    Like

    1. 1. According to Canon Law (Catholic Church law) §1. A person who has not received baptism cannot be admitted validly to the other sacraments. (842)

      2. Sort of. Once we confess our sins truly and repentently (for lack of a better term), we are forgiven. There are some who fail to forgive themselves (like me sometimes) and this is wrong, only because this thinking innately says that you know better than God does. He forgave me, but I don’t forgive myself. I know that I should feel badly about XYZ even if I’ve been absolved. See the egotism there?

      3. My 9 year old (then 8) made his first confession in front of the whole church. He wasn’t mic’ed or anything. It was done this way because there are a lot of children and we all wanted to get home at some point that month. He sat in a corner of the church and hushed his confession to the priest face to face. When I asked him if he was ok, he said “Why wouldn’t I be? It’s safe, Mom”. From then on, I had super courage to sit face to face when confessing.

      4. Yes, people show their concern in a myriad of ways. Instead of getting upset about it, I just see it for what it is and return the favor with grace 🙂 Have to otherwise I would just be angry all the time (I have enough grey hair, ya dig?)

      Like

  18. I know my parish is extremely conservative but I love it that way! The only time I went to confession face to face was my first time. Then we went to the parish we are now with the old fashioned dark room with the screen. Now they have lights in with helpful directions on how to make a good confession. I love tradition and am much more comfortable confessing this way than face to face. Especailly since the priests have known me the majority of my life, i’ld rather be anonymous.

    Like

    1. I can certainly understand that. I think the screen is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But I like face to face to really – feel – the wrongness of the sins committed. Sounds weird. Hard to explain.

      Like

Thoughts? Comments? Tell me all the things...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s