We've now spent 31 (and 1/2) days in the Lenten spirit. We've reflected on sacrifice and love. And we've reflected on our sins and how we are enslaved by sin.
But while that might be the point of Lent, it is not the point of Easter. The reason for Easter is the end to sin and the end to slavery. So while it is important to know our own sins in order to free ourselves from them, we don't have to wallow in them. In fact, wallowing in our sin would be turning our back on the greatest gift Jesus has ever given us and denying his unending love for us.
G.K. Chesterton once wrote:
"When a Catholic comes from confession, he does truly, by definition, step out into that dawn of his own beginning... in that brief ritual God has really remade him in His own image. He may be grey and gouty, but he is only five minutes old."
Through Confession, we are remade. It is not just that our souls are wiped clean, but in the wiping we are recreated as the spirit-filled and blameless disciples that we were made to be. We once again resemble God. That's more than a second chance. That's recreation. And we can do it every day. So why don't we?
Confession is scary. Are you terrified of Confession? Does your heart quicken when you get in line to the Confessional? A lot of people are afraid. Admitting your sin to a priest you don't know, or to a priest you do know, is terrifying. We keep secrets secret so we don't have to share them and so no one finds out what we've done. Admitting them in Confession is not a fun experience. And you know that priest is going to be judging you. And you can't for the life of you ever remember the Act of Contrition.
It's okay to be afraid to confess. It's human. Just don't let that keep you from Confession. Don't worry about the priest judging you for your sins. They've heard worse, that's a guarantee. And there are at least three different versions of the Act of Contrition. Keeping one of them straight is not a requirement. In fact, it may be better for you to read the Act of Contrition off of a card and really think about the Contrition that you admit through that prayer, rather than spew it off from your 5th grade memory without thinking about it all.
But what if you haven't been to Confession in a while? How long has it been? Maybe 6 months. A year. 5 years. Ten years. Twenty years?
The beauty of His Grace is that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how much shame or sin or blame or sickness you bring to the Cross, the Cross rids you of it. Jesus' Sacrifice unburdens you from every part of all your sins and in that unburdening you get to be a brand new person; holy and perfect and blameless in God's eyes.
We don't get too many chances to be that in his presence. Why not take advantage of the opportunity you have during Lent?
Have a confessing day
(...by coming to the Reconciliation Service and receiving the Sacrament of Confession at 7 pm tonight at Sacred Heart!)