Why Confession wasn’t what I Expected

I took many positive things from my Emmaus retreat experience, which I share about in my post My Emmaus Retreat Experience and interestingly enough, although the retreat was in December, the experience continues to add value to my life.

One of the reasons I went on the retreat was because I knew that for many years I felt a bit of a disconnect from God. After the retreat I have been working on finding my way back and I do feel I have made some progress. Part of this led me to take this Lenten season a little more seriously than I have, probably since I was a child in Catholic School and being reminded practically daily what the Lenten season is about.

I’ll be honest- confession is one of those things I always had a mixed opinion on. I think I always felt it was just an uncomfortable situation and although it was explained in Catholic school, I had a hard time understanding why we needed to tell someone our deepest and darkest secrets in order to be forgiven by God. Shouldn’t this be between God and I and if I am sorry and I have talked to God about that, why involve this third party?

We had the opportunity to go to confession on the retreat and I think it was the first time I went since I’d been in Catholic school. Despite being an adult, I still could not bring myself to say what was REALLY weighing me down. I think the priest could even tell and I felt like there was a white elephant in the room. Finally, through my reflecting these past months, and the work I have put in during lent, I decided it was time to go to confession and to really say out loud what was on my mind.

My friends, it was NOT what I expected. It’s funny because when I told Peter about the experience his comment was along the lines of- ‘Wow! I thought confession was going, admitting your sins, the priest says you’re forgiven, tells you to pray 10 Hail Marys and you’re done.’ This is exactly what I thought confession was too. I guess as children we were innocent and never really had anything of substance to discuss so this is how confession went and when I confessed on my retreat, I just wasn’t true to myself.

Once I opened myself up and had an honest conversation, the only way I can describe it is that it was therapeutic. It was honestly, free therapy. I am not knocking therapy, in fact, I’ll admit that I have gone myself a few times and I wish we would normalize it more,however, many spend so much money on it while not taking advantage of this sacrament that our church offers.

I’m not here to share my deepest, darkest secrets but I will say that I felt I had to overcome my sin and beat the demon down to a certain extent before going to confession because I had to prove that I was truly sorry before coming in. Father actually explained that I should have come as soon as I realized I needed help, even if I knew I may slip up again. Reconciliation is there so we can ask God to help us with our troubles and to be with us when we are down. He knows we are naturally broken and sinful.

The conversation somehow eventually moved away from what I went in to talk about and moved towards something that I have had on my mind for years and something I have been questioning for some time now. Interestingly though, without me getting much into it since it was not what I intended to talk about and really doesn’t have anything to do with any wrongdoing, he said some things that answered part of what I have been asking God. I still don’t have all the answers but I do feel God is listening to my prayers and I need to keep at it.

This may not be the most fun post BUT I did feel it was important to share, especially during this Lenten season. It’s a good time to go to confession and if you are true to yourself I promise contrary to what you likely believe, you won’t come out feeling guilty but rather you will feel as if you had an opportunity to get things off your chest and to talk to God about your worries.

If you are like me and have not gone to confession practically since your first one, this fellow skeptic recommends you give it a try! You may be surprised with the outcome. As for me, I’ll likely be visiting my priest a little more often with my worries!

Thanks for visiting!


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