This weekend my second child is receiving his first reconciliation. Getting him ready for this sacrament has taken me back to my memories of confession. I never enjoyed it. I often feared it. I did not want to go tell a priest all the stuff I had done wrong. He was going to remember and tell my parents what I had done. Since I went to a Catholic school we went a bunch of times every year and we all HAD to go. We had to memorize the Act of Contrition which back then was not child friendly.
It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I went to confession because I wanted to, not because someone was telling me I had to go. The result was so different. I felt so free. Since then I often find myself being brought to tears. Tears of sadness because I have truly looked at myself and what I have done and I know I have disappointed God. However, once I have spoken with the priest and the priest absolves all my sins happy tears come out. Once again I have the opportunity for a new beginning and it is so freeing.
I have come to believe differently about confession through the years. When I was young I was told that if you did not go to confession you would not get into heaven because you had sinned. The only way to be absolved from the sins was by confession. Now I believe that an all-knowing God would not send someone he knows is sorry to hell just because they didn’t go to confession. I believe that if we tell God we are sorry then we are forgiven. However, I also believe that going to confession because you want to can be so liberating. As my son says we are reborn and can start all over.
I have asked my son how he feels about the thought of going to confession. He says that he is nervous and wonders what happens if he forgets something. I explain to him that the priests have heard it all and that once they hear our sins they forget all about it. I told him that it might make him feel good to say sorry out loud and hear from the priest (who is speaking on behalf of God) that he is forgiven. I also explain that we ask for forgiveness of all our sins so even the ones we forget to say get forgiven.
Today I actually found a conversation about confession in one of the groups I am a part of on Facebook and one of the comments really got to me. It said that we clean our houses when we are expecting someone important and we clean ourselves physically when we are going out to meet someone. We don’t want to be spiritually dirty when we receive the Eucharist so shouldn’t we do a spiritual cleaning?
I have also tried to get information on examination of conscience for kids to help make things more understandable for him. Here are a few sites;
I hope that my discussions with my son will help him to not be scared and to embrace the gift that has been given to us. Confession truly is a gift. We get to hear we are forgiven and get to start again. God is always there for us and wants us to be the best we can be. Next time you think about whether or not to go to confession I hope you remember this entry. It is not about you and the priest, it is about you and God. You can sit and talk to the priest one on one or you can still knell behind `the wall’. If you are open to the experience it can truly be freeing. You are forgiven!
May God watch over all of us and help us to embrace the gift we are given of confession.
Act of Contrition
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good. I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His Name. My God have mercy.
copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent