When I came out of Mass this morning, this is what I heard on the radio:
So appropriate, since I took advantage of the opportunity before Mass to go to confession. I don't know how much "business" our pastor gets sitting back there in his little box in the early hours of the morning, but I am glad that he is there. I never thought I would have enough working brain cells at 6:15 a.m. to make a decent confession, but I've discovered that it's a blessing to start your day that way (and sometimes easier to make than the standard Saturday afternoon from 3:00-3:30 hours). It takes a little bit of modification of my morning schedule, and I prefer to go on days when I don't have school, but I've done school days, too! I have also discovered that if I go every month or so, my list is not too long, and I have enough brain cells awake to remember it.
Let me just go on record saying that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is AWESOME! I went this morning with a couple of different things "on my plate". I have realized over time, that if I stop and consider where the stress is coming from, where the uneasiness is in my life, I will usually find sin there, too. I bet you can guess where I found the stress - in God's alleged silence in my life and in the situation at work. Who knew? I realized this weekend at Mass, that I've been so busy looking for what I'm expecting God to do, that I've missed the things that He is really doing. Oops!
I use different things to prepare ahead of time. Sometimes I reread my journal, sometimes I use a list of questions, sometimes just being open to answers that I might get in prayer. This time I used some worksheets that you can find on www.confession101.com . They are found on the left side in the sidebar with names like "My Life With God" and "Difficult People", and those were helpful this time. What works one time may not work the next time for me.
So, I said what I had to say, but I also had questions. For one, "Where does venting end and detraction and gossip begin?" He said that was a good question, and quoted St. Paul saying something about "Say only the good that needs to be said." And to ask myself if what I was saying was going to help anything (besides just making myself feel better). "Father, I have 22 days of school left. Help me make it to the end with some sense of dignity intact." He said that in terms of eternity, God ultimately wills peace for us - His Peace. He suggested venting to God (in His Presence, if possible) - letting it all go. And then, one might find peace.
He never uses a lot of words, but he manages to say a lot. When we got to the penance part, the first thing he said was to thank God for the blessings in my life and the ways that He speaks to me. "And there's no two ways about it, God does speak to you, and you do listen." And I thought that was pretty ironic considering that I've been sitting here all this time complaining about how quiet God is in my life. Not a doubt in my mind that God was speaking through him right then....