Forgiveness: Courage Required.

In my many conversations with atheists, agnostics, secularists and the rest, I find there are very few things that actually interest them about the Catholic faith: very few things besides the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The question I am most asked about my faith is “can a non-Catholic go to Confession?” We are a guilty nation; we have therapy to talk about our sins, psychoanalysis to blame our sins on our parents, postsecret to confess our sins, moral relativism to deny our sins, liberalism to promote and dignify our sins, Jersey Shore to make our sins look trivial, communication technology to apologize for our sins, rehab to get rid of our sins, and on and on and on ad infinitum, doing everything we can possibly do with our sin EXCEPT being free of it all. Except being forgiven. Here’s an idea:

Man up.

Hopefully you watched the Saving Private Ryan clip. There’s a scene where a Nazi is at the top of a tower, slowly stabbing an American solider to death. The man with the power to stop him, the man with enough weaponry to blow the brains out of the entire SS; that man is cowering on the stairs, moaning and crying. He’s pathetic. And that’s me a lot of the times. I have the equivalent of sawn-off shotgun in the mouth of sin – the Sacrament of Reconciliation – and yet I whine, I cower before sin. That sin I talked about in the other post, yeah, I felt miserable about it. But it didn’t take long to realize that honest sorrow for my sin had turned into self-pity and a lukewarm sort of despair. An example of this lameness? Alright but don’t tell anyone. I’m a guitar player, so I started to write an “I’m Sorry” sort of song.

If you’re anything like me you get pissed off at the guy on the stairs. Get up! Stop being a pansy! Grow a pair! Pick…up…the…gun…and…kill…some…freaking…Nazis! Or;


We have to crush our sins, else the guilt will destroy us, in this world and the next. We have to smash the head of the serpent. We have to man up, admit that we were wrong to another human being, and be absolutely forgiven by a supernatural one. This takes strength, courage, and humility, and so every act of confession is an act of badassery. Therefore, of course the world hates it. They’ll say it’s morbid, it dwells on guilt, it revolves around fear, anything they can to keep you on the stairs. But it sets you free.

I’ve been having a hard time praying lately. Rather, I’ve lost the desire to pray lately. It’s become somewhat of a chore. I’ve been reluctant to hang out with my friends, and have been snapping at my family. Why? Because I committed a mortal sin, which “destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him” (Catechism of the Catholic Church). Sin is not some abstract mark against you in the afterlife. It is an evil, here and now, that stabs us slowly, making our lives miserable. The Christian singer Danny Guglielmucci’s addiction to pornography hurt him so much that his hair began to fall out, and his body would fail him. Sin is literally stabbing us while whispering gently. Reconciliation takes that weight off us, not merely so we can go to heaven, but so we can be happy here on earth!

So get to confession and pray for me, because I’ll be going too.

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