Saturday, January 21, 2012

I love the Catholic faith!

Wednesday night, as I was in church with all the high schoolers, I was thinking how much I love our faith.  How much I love our traditions and rituals.  I know that some folks, who don't understand our faith (and even some who are Catholic!) don't always agree or understand some of them, but I have to say I love them!

Once a year, the classes gather in church for reconciliation services.  It's a time reserved for the high schoolers to spend time with a priest and reconcile their actions.  For some, it's a nerve-wracking time.....having to face their inadequacies, and sometimes, some poor choices they've made.  To me, it's a time to start with a clean slate and start anew!  I try really hard during these services to help "loosen them up" before they go.  To help them feel more comfortable.  To smile.  Because, when it's all over -- they are going to feel much better!

At one point, I was standing towards the front of the church and glanced diagonally towards the baptistry, where one of the priests was sitting with one of the youth.  I was so struck by the conversation I saw happening.  This youth, sitting down, having a conversation with the priest.  And the priest absolving his sins.  It was such a beautiful sight!

I know that many people question this activity -- going in front of a priest and telling him our sins.  Why?  They ask.  Why can't you just pray about them -- or tell your sins directly to Jesus in prayer, they ask?

My first question back is always, "How honest would you be if you did that?  And how often would you do it?" 

I do pray about it when I have committed a sin.  I ask for God's guidance to help me not commit this same sin again.  I ask Him to steer me in the opposite direction of where I just went.

I love the fact that we have confession because it forces us to come face to face with our poor choices.  And verbalize them.  And discuss them with the priest.  Gone are the days when we would give a list to the priest, get our penance, receive absolution and walk out the door of the confessional.  We have conversations now -- and I love it so much more.  I feel connected. 

Thank you, God, for understanding that we make mistakes.  And giving us a chance to try all over again.  Time and time again.

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