Tuesday, July 15, 2008
When I came back to the Catholic Faith six years ago I knew how important it was to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. During the time I was not going to Church or receiving the Sacraments. I had always told myself I could confess my sins to God on my own and everything would be fine. That is what I would do.
I knew if I wanted to become whole in the Catholic Faith I would have to go to Confession. I had no idea how long it had been since my last Confession; lets just say it was a good many years. I examined my conscience and came to the conclusion that I was going to be spending quite a bit of time in that confessional.
I was carrying around sins that were a tremendous burden on me, even though I spent many a night begging God for his forgiveness, the sin was still on my heart because I would ask for forgiveness of these sins over and over again.
The day came for me to make a proper confession. I had everything I was going to confess in my mind. To be honest I was afraid the Priest was going to tell me to get lost or chastise me for the things I had done.
When I was about to confess something came over me, I started to weep uncontrollably. It was as though all the shame and sorrow was pouring out and there was no way for me to stop it. I felt a little embarrassed, but the Priest was patient and waited for me to compose myself. This type of reaction never happened when I confessed my sins to God on my own, these emotions came out of nowhere.
When I was done and I had my emotions somewhat under control, the Priest gave me absolution. I had to ask again, “Am I forgiven?” The Priest told me of course I was, he said coming to Confession, asking and receiving God’s forgiveness was the easy part. The hard part is forgiving yourself.
This was something I had trouble with. Forgiving myself would require me to put my trust in God and his gift of the Sacraments. If the Lord has given us Reconciliation as a way to forgive our sins, then I would have to trust and believe in this. Trusting and believing in this in turn would allow me to forgive myself. I would have to learn to let go, that God’s promises are true and to constantly feel ashamed, or withdrawn would not be giving much respect to God’s promise of forgiveness through Reconciliation.
As I said my penance, I had never felt so light. I asked God to help me trust him so forgiving myself could begin. It was not instant, but everyday I was stronger in my trust, I was slowly becoming free of the guilt and shame I had put on myself. Being free of this helped me to declutter my soul, heart, and mind and make a space for God to enter.
The Lord calls us to ask for forgiveness in his Sacrament of Reconciliation, I will put my trust in the Lord and his Sacraments. I will not be afraid to forgive myself.