Tag Archives: first confession

Another Old Something

21 Mar

[This is part of a post from my old blog. I wrote this years ago, and came across it last night. They’re interesting thoughts…especially after having made my first confession last week.]

I have trouble accepting forgiveness. I like to work things out on my own. I like to pretend that I can work out my salvation without the Holy Spirit. When I fall short, I plummet into a state of guilt that I won’t let myself out of. My life has been a constant cycle of failed attempts at flawlessness. I’ve spent years trying to convince GOD that I’m good enough to deserve Him. And yet, no matter how many lists I make, or how many books about GOD I read, or how hard I try to convince others of my spirituality, or how many Christian t-shirts, c.d.’s and knick-knacks I own, I’ve never been able to do anything more than build up my pride.

In The Gift of Forgiveness, Charles Stanley says, “GOD’s forgiveness does not depend on our confession, nor does His fellowship…Our fellowship with GOD is not restored by confession (because it was never broken); rather, our sense of fellowship with GOD is restored. When we sin, we withdraw our fellowship from GOD; He does not withdraw His fellowship from us. Forgiveness is ours as believers. The moment we received Him as Savior, He became our life. But our capacity to enjoy forgiveness – our capacity to enjoy a clean conscience – is based on our willingness to acknowledge and confess that sin”.

My First Confession

14 Mar

Well…I’ve made my first confession.

I hadn’t been nervous about it until it was time for me to drive to the church. I got in my car and I was shaking so badly I could barely drive. I rarely drive with the radio off, but today it was grating on my nerves. I snapped it off impatiently.

When I walked into the church, the secretary said hi to me, but I couldn’t force a response out of my mouth. Father saw me and knew immediately that I was more than a little unnerved. So rather than go to the confessional he suggested we sit in his office and talk.

I pulled out my two page list of sins and glanced down at it. “There’s no way this can cover the nine years worth of sins I’ve amassed since my baptism,” I thought.

I looked at Father.

Then back at my list.

Then back at Father.

He folded his hands in front of him and said, “I don’t have anything else scheduled for this afternoon. We will take as long as you need. Even if all you need is to collect your thoughts.”

I sat for a second and took a deep breath.

“I…I…I have taken…” and that’s when the tears started. And they didn’t stop until I was two sins away from the bottom of my list.

It had been so long since I’d sat down and actually examined my conscience. I had forgotten what it feels like to ponder my own frail human nature. I had forgotten the feelings that accompany guilt – the terror of Hell, the desolation that comes from knowing you’ve hurt the One who loves you the most, the feeling of being despicable and unworthy of forgiveness – things I hadn’t felt since I gave up Protestantism.

This past week exhausted me for that reason. Ever since I had scheduled my confession with Father, I had been reflecting on the things I ought to share. And I began to feel much like I did prior to leaving the Protestant Church. I cried a lot this week, because I was afraid that I was entering into the same thing I am running away from.

Each time I remembered a sin, it felt like I was picking up an item from my room and putting it in a box. The box grew heavier and heavier as the week went on, and I carried it with me everywhere. Sometimes I would see someone or walk by a place and it would spark my memory – and then more things would go into my box. I felt myself beginning to despair because there was so much weighing me down.

“This isn’t what I want,” I thought. “I am entering the Catholic Church to get away from this. Yet here it is, following me everywhere I go.”

And then I went to Confession.

When I looked down at my list, each line seemed to taunt with evil glee, “You’ll never be able to say me,” one would say. “I’m too embarrassing to confess, you’d better hold back on me,” another would suggest.

So I started at the top, with the hardest things first. And I overcame that list, line by line. And at the end I tried to look Father in the eye, but the guilt was still there. It was almost tangible, I thought.

But then something happened that I had forgotten was going to happen.

Father absolved me.

And through Father, Jesus reminded me that He didn’t condemn. He forgave. And He will continue to forgive and to ease my guilt.

Ceding Control

11 Mar

[I’m really sorry if this post makes you uncomfortable. I tried to be as tactful as possible.]

This Thursday I will make my first confession. Ever.

I’m not struggling with being nervous – I’m a very frank person, and while I certainly have committed some very embarrassing sins, I’m not worried about sharing them with my Priest. I know that he will not judge me for the things I’ve done and that he is there to help me deal with my past.

I’m dealing with a different type of feeling.

There are certain areas of my life (and here comes some frankness), like my bedroom, that I am struggling with giving up. It’s been very easy for me to think “I’m not a virgin anymore anyways, so why bother with chastity? I already messed up, so what have I got to lose?”. No one tells you that once you sin sexually, it will be that much more difficult not to do it again.

I don’t want to give this area of my life to the Church. When I was growing up, the churches I attended said “Don’t do it.” But there was no confession. No one ever really asked if I struggled with impure thoughts or actions. So I felt free to think and do as I pleased, because nobody knew.

It’s not that I’m ashamed of the things I’ve thought and done. I mean, I am ashamed, but not to the point where I feel too embarrassed to talk about it with my Priest. I just am territorial about this area of my life. It’s mine and I’ve always been in control of it. It’s my body. Why should the church care what I do with it?

So for the past few days I’ve been arguing with myself about how to handle these feelings.

Today as I was driving to work, I was praying about how to handle the situation, and Jesus pointed something out to me, “You may think this is an area of your life that you control, but admit it sweetheart, your sexuality has been out of control for years now. You have plenty of areas in your life that you are ‘willing to give to the Church’ because you have always been willing to let Me have those areas. This is an area that you haven’t let Me be involved in, and that’s why you don’t want to let the Church be a part of it.”