On Confession, Part II

Last month, I wrote on the sacrament of Confession and my experiences of it. Just thought I would add a little more to it, as this afternoon in confession, I made the priest laugh out loud (which is a lot better than making him cry), and because I got an email on the subject that gave me chills, and the writer has given me permission to reprint some of it.

How did I make the priest laugh? I went in, knelt down, did my little opening and then said, “Last Sunday, I had a flu and felt awful…I probably COULD have dragged myself into Mass, but – ”

“I’m glad you didn’t,” the priest said, “you might have picked up something worse in your weakened state, or gotten someone else sick!”

“Okay, very nice,” I said, “I understand what you’re saying, and I appreciate it, but you have to understand – I’m confessing it not because I’m fretting about the missing Mass part. I’m bringing it up because although a part of me regretted missing Mass, there was another part of me, waaaay down deep inside that said, “Yay! I don’t have go to Mass today!”

When he finished laughing, the good cleric (a youngish fellow) said, “okay…well…we call carry that little demon from our childhood…”

I liked that. It felt so true.

No, you can’t read about the rest of my confession. But you can read about the confession of one of my readers, name of “B”.

“My absence from regular church-going lasted [some]. Even after I started attending church regularly, it took me a few years to get up the courage to go back to confession. So I’m in line for confession, and I’m practically shaking. I have so much to say, and yet nothing at all. I have no idea what’s going to happen… I finally get into the confessional, and I can hardly speak. I manage to get started, and say that I’ve been away for a long time, and the young priest (what is it that makes young priests so good at this?) interrupts me and says “The healing of your soul begins today.” I will carry those words with me forever.

He then talked me through the commandments, and common and grave sins, essentially walking me through an examination of conscience in the confessional. Then he said the absolution, not quickly and mumbled, as prayers often are, but so that I could hear and understand every word. I will also never forget the special emphasis and deliberation with which he said the words “I absolve you.”

That was the confession I’d needed to make for years, and the Holy Spirit ensured that exactly the right priest was there to hear it from me and help me through it. Truly this sacrament is a treasure.”


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About Elizabeth Scalia