I’m no expert on Confession. Quite frankly, I don’t think I’m very good at it. I struggle to prepare what to say and how to say it. I probably don’t go as often as I should, but I do try to make it once in Advent, once in Lent, and a few other times throughout the year.
A few weeks ago was one of those times. The stress of the move had made me cranky and I wasn’t being as kind as I should have been to the people around me. Little things that shouldn’t have mattered were starting to irritate me, and when I recognized this, I found I couldn’t shake my newfound propensity toward shortness or passive aggressiveness. My attitude wasn’t one of charity. I could see the people around me enjoying themselves and each other more than I was, and I wanted that back. Something had to give.
Enter the sacrament of Confession. In my experience, Confession is not just about saying your sins out loud. It’s about the humility it takes to admit you were wrong. It’s about being open to advice on how to make things better. It’s a wiping of the slate so that you can start over.
Though I’d been thinking about what I’d confess in the days and hours before I received the sacrament, it wasn’t until I said those things out loud, in a certain way, in a certain space, that I could let go of them.
That’s the real beauty of Confession, I think. That you can let go of something you found yourself trapped in. That you can move a little more freely, that you can love more purely, because you’re not stuck in anxiety, fear, or doubt. Confession, I’m learning, might not be as much about the past as it is about the future. It’s permission to start over, to try again. It’s mercy, it’s love, it’s compassion.
“If today you hear my voice, harden not your heart.” Psalm 95:7-8
The Year of Faith is almost over. Now is as good a time as any.