Monday, April 11, 2011

Knock it Off!

When I checked the temperature gauge in my minivan this afternoon it read 78.  What a gorgeous day it was today in NH!  A perfect day for going to confession.

Yes, confession!  This is a sacrament that is maligned.  I think that sometimes it keeps some people from returning to the Church, when they learn that we haven't done away with this one.  And contrary to what some people may think, it is a beautiful sacrament.  Yes, that's right, beautiful.  Some of you may be thinking, "Confessing my sins, beautiful?"  Yes, the mercy of our God is beautiful.  Going to Him with a humble heart, admitting our faults is beautiful.

We all have our reasons for not going to confession; some people feel they can go directly to God, others aren't even ready to forgive themselves; still others feel they are confessing the same things every time.  I fall into the last category: there are things I struggle with time and time again, but at least, most of the time, I'm not adding new shortcomings.  The last time I went was just before the birth of my now seven month old daughter.  Which is FAR too long ago for me.  I'm not going to get into listing my sins here, that's between me, the priest, and God.  (This is actually a good place to point out that part of the reason for going to a priest is because we don't just hurt God when we sin, but we hurt the community, the Body of Christ, when we sin.) But I do write this blog trying to give witness to living out my Catholic faith.  I hope that my writing conveys how I am trying to live my life.  I am in no way trying to be showy or believe that I am better than anyone else who does not go to church, or to confession for that matter.  But I have to say that going to confession today has left me feeling free, unburdened.  His mercy can work wonders if we let it.

The problem is that sometimes we try to hide our true selves.  We say something that is only a partial truth to look good.  We don't tell it like it is.  Take Lent for example:  I could say that I've been doing everything I set out to do, but that wouldn't be the truth.  I took on a lot this season; I'm not sure why I didn't focus on just a few things.  But I have failed (should have confessed this tonight but I had other things on my mind - maybe I will have to go back again later this week). 
  • I intended to take my girls to mass one morning a week and one evening every week in addition to Sunday mass.  Hasn't happened. 
  • I intended to read through the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Creed.  I started to do this during the evenings, but find the material dry and difficult to read at night, so this is something I will have to find time for during the girls' naps as time allows.  Instead, I did start reading the Matthew Kelly book, "Rediscover Catholicism" which is a more light read and very interesting. 
  • Other things I took on: Writing Wednesdays (it doesn't always happen on Wednesday but I have been blogging once a week),
  • no TV Thursdays (when Alicia was sick I renegged on this one for her, but she's been doing it every Thursday since) and
  • no FaceBook Fridays (ok, so once I completely forgot I was logged in and one time I forgot it was Friday - it is such a habit!). 
The point I'm trying to make here is that trying to "look good" with God, doesn't work.  He knows it all.  The reading from the Gospel a few weeks ago was John 4: 5-42 the story of the Samaritan woman at the well.  As Jesus is conversing with her he says "Go call your husband and come back."  The woman answered and said to him, "I do not have a husband."  Jesus answered her, "You are right in saying, 'I do not have a husband.' For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband.  What you have said is true." (Jn 4:16-18)  Jesus doesn't mince words here.  He speaks the truth back to her plain as day.  He's basically saying, "I know you've had five husbands and the guy you're shacked up with isn't your husband.  Knock if off lady!"  God knows all, so there's no reason to be cute and play games with God.  He knows the truth.  Confession allows us to go own up to it.  "Knock it off!"  Jesus says.  Are we open enough to answer him with the truth he already knows?

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