For all of you Catholics out there, this may be of no real surprise, but for me, I have recently re-discovered a passion for the Sacrament of Reconciliation with our Lord through the act of confession to a priest and penance.
For the last couple of years, it has been my goal to receive this sacrament on a monthly basis, with a young son, who is relatively new to this sacrament, coming along with me to participate in it himself. While from time to time, we have achieved this goal of visiting a priest monthly to do this, often we have failed to come back after 2 months. All in all, a “good” attempt between the two of us.
BUT, as I have recently found, this is not good enough for me. When going this frequently (or infrequently) it has allowed me to consider within myself the major over-riding sins that I have committed, and often repeatedly committed since the last time I went to confession. Sometimes these sins have been weighing on my shoulders (and my soul) since near to the last time I received the sacrament. This has been causing what I have recently been terming as a deep layer of “scum” across the top of the “water” that is my soul. Now while the act of Confession and Reconciliation is meant to clear that scum off the water that is the soul, when it builds up over time to be so deep, it begins to dis-allow me to look further and deeper into my sinfulness as the large amount of scum on top is blocking my sight and thoughts.
Last month I had the opportunity to go to confession 3 times within the same month, perpetuated by attending a couple of retreats on consecutive weekends. I went at the beginning of the month to confession with my son at our local Catholic parish, as we are attempting to do every month. Two weeks later, I was on a Men’s Fellowship retreat at which we were all had the opportunity to go to confession, and I took advantage of. The following week, I was on another retreat. This one was the Family Camp retreat that has become an annual tradition for our family to go on each summer. This is where I had this personal revelation as to the importance of such frequent reception of the sacrament.
As I sat reflecting before meeting with the priest for our conversation, and eventual reception of the sacrament, I realized with having been “wiped clean” and getting a lot out of the way the previous weeks, I was much more easily able to delve further into the root causes of my sin, and begin to understand within myself better what was really causing some of these things that were offensive to God and my own soul. It also provided me more strength through the Grace that comes through the sacrament to better remain away from sin in between the reception of this sacrament.
With this better understanding of these “roots” from which my sin come from I am able during the conversation of confession, both with the priest, and within myself and God, to better understand these roots, and learn how to avoid and even “attack” them. I have found that in my life Pride, or the lack of recognition of the primacy of God in my life and in my abilities, is the biggest root of my sin. This became so much clearer during these weeks of realization for me. I was able to better reflect upon by my self and in discussions with Father, how to work on bringing God more into my life, and allowing him to truly dwell within me, and for me to understand what he was doing!
Sin, even the “little” stuff, builds over time, and really mucks up the waters of our soul. By not going to confession to clear the soul and our relationship with God of these things, the scum becomes thicker, and not only builds up, but builds upon itself, making the relationship that we have with God very difficult from both sides. The scum becomes the wall, or rejection of God in our lives, so we MUST do what we can to bring down these barriers, and fully embrace the love that is God, for He will always be standing on the other side, with open arms, welcoming us back into Him.
As I continue to grow in my personal faith, I continue to understand better that God has put these things in our path to better help us achieve Him in the end. The sacraments are all things that a fill us with His Grace, and we are lucky that he has placed them in our lives to that we can better be reminded of Him, and experience HIM. May He be a constant part of all of our lives, so that we may all continue to experience his love in the next life!