I have been thinking about Confession as I was reading Scott Hahn’s Lord, Have Mercy. Em told me I would love this book and you know what, she was right. Scott Hahn and I have had our battles because I felt in all the books I have read recently I am reading the same one over and over again. That is not a bad thing because sometimes it helps build up what you are saying, but when I am hoping to further my insight on the Catholic Faith and I find I should just re-read the last book again for I would get the same thing.
He wants us to confess not for His good, but for ours, because He knows that confession is a necessary step in our process of healing toward holiness.
Lord, Have Mercy is now going to be that resource I will be going back to often when I go to Confession. Not only does Scott Hahn explain the importance of the sacrament, but also gives helpful ways with examining your conscience in the end of the book. I might take up Em’s idea of writing down my sins and then ripping them up after I leave either the Confessional or the Church.
Out of the seven sacraments there are only two that we are able to receive if we wish daily; the sacrament of Holy Communion and Penance. Most Catholics including myself could attest that out of the two Penance, also known Confession is the most difficult.
Why is that?
In my own experience it has never been going, in fact thankfully I was “raised” at a parish that had confession daily (even on Sunday). There are few reasons for my difficulties: first, I have a time trying to speak my sins out in the confessional. I could be standing in line and have them down in my mind, ready to have them wiped away and then as soon as I kneel in the confessional my brain is blank or the words will not come out.
Now for some they would say that would be the power of the sacrament, which I could not fault you for that, but I highly doubt that. When I begin telling my sins I begin to ramble and feel I am wasting time when there is probably another sinner who has never been to confession years who needs their sins heard.
My second, I have the difficulty of examining my conscience to go to confession every month, let alone weekly. (Which I am hoping to do more, if I can.) I have always known when I needed to go, there is always that urge, which normally hits every few months (four to six months between Confessions). I should include another thing which makes me feel I must go to confession for; in all the times I could have gone weekly or even daily, I had no mortal sins to confess. And somehow just writing that makes me quote Mr. Hahn.
People often get frustrated because they seem to rehash the same sins every time they confess. Yes, that can be humiliating, but it could be much worst. It would be worst, for example for us to commit new sins!…Humility, then, takes out sin at its source, which is pride.
Even if they are venial sins that I confess week after week, I would be honing myself to reach the path that God intended for us all, which is holiness.
Finally, finding a confessor. Many Catholics I have met after I left my home parish do not go to Confession to bind themselves back into the loving arms of God, but to check off the obligation.
There are people who go from confessional to confessional until they find a priest who will tell them that their sins aren’t really sins. But, as a friend of mine put it, if we do this, we’re not really looking for a new confessor; we’re looking for a new god, one who will come around to our way of thinking about morality.
It is not just those confessing but the priest who are the confessor. Many confessor are always in a rush or because of their experience with those who confess to them they assume all they want is absolved. Confession is not drive-thru at the McDonald’s, it is your way of repairing the torn bond with God that you created.
A regular confessor can be like a family physician who comes to know us over time, to know our habits, know our living and working conditions, and know what really ails us.
Being a Navy wife has many obstacles, but being a Catholic Navy wife trying to find a confessor is almost a dread. I am praying that with this next PCS that I will find that confessor, and if I cannot find that “family physician” like confessor I hope I can find a spiritual director. (Which Scott Hahn does mention, but even states the book was central to the sacrament of Confession and not a debate about spiritual directors.)