Just had my first Confession in probably a year, after Stations of the Cross.
Usually, my Dad and I go together. It’s something that’s bonded us.
But this year we had different schedules. I went to our local cathedral instead.
I had hoped to get my parish priest, but I saw him leave just before Stations of the Cross began. Though a little bummed, I figured there was someone else meant to hear me today.
I reflected prior, but not a lot.
This year, it was different. I wasn’t berating myself with a list of things I’ve done wrong. I had no list, period. I didn’t feel ashamed or desperate or angry at myself.
My confession was brief. I listed a few things, but mostly I just talked about those I love, and how I want to do right by them. Where I am in my spiritual life. What I’m seeking. And what I need/want from God.
I talked about wanting to be a better daughter.
About struggling to find a balance in my life with my choir/parish and other events that pop up spontaneously on those allotted times for choir and Mass. Feeling afraid that my parish will close, but continuing to belong/participate because that’s where my heart lies.
About how daunting it feels to be so focused on waiting for a relationship with another Catholic, but that this is something I feel that I both need and *deserve* in my life. I’ve sacrificed to adhere to that. It’s so important to me that if someone is another denomination, that’s a deal-breaker. I’ve endured a lot of criticism for that over the years, but most times I shrug it off. Pretty much everyone on either side of my family is who is married is married to another Catholic–happily. I know it’s possible!
But something I’ve realized is that I can’t stop being myself to accelerate finding a compatible relationship. I don’t smoke anything or drink, I don’t do drugs, I’m a Democrat, I’m Catholic. Those are core tenets of my identity. I’ve ended relationships to preserve those aspects in myself, because it’s essential for my own happiness and mental health.
And to my surprise, Father wasn’t punitive. He was patient. His voice was soft.
There was no recipe for salvation by reciting a certain number of prayers
Instead, we was affirmative. He basically told me to just keep doing what I’m doing– examining myself, pursuing my spiritual life, being aware and sensitive to what’s appropriate in my relationships.
I was given instant absolution. I wasn’t made to feel that my confession hadn’t been sufficient, even though I had completely blanked out on my Act of Contrition.
“I absolve you of your sins,”he said.
I didn’t have as dramatic as a reaction as I had in some other years– I didn’t cry.
I didn’t need to cry.
Confession was just an expression of my faith, a part of my spiritual routine.
And I smiled.
I felt like God was telling me, “You’re doing okay, kiddo.”