Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Live Today Well, Chapter 13...
OK, but for now, we're set to talk about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, better known as Confession. We all dread this one just a wee bit, right? :-) At least you do if you're me! Let's dive in.
I know that I dread Confession because I feel so guilty about the things that I need to confess, and I feel like a perpetual failure since I seem to repeat things a lot. Does anybody else relate to this? Interestingly, St. Francis has this to say:
"confession and penance render a man infinitely more honorable than sin renders him blamable" and that "the greater our misery, the more is the mercy of God glorified." Our author notes: "With this attitude in mind, we might approach the sacrament more frequently and more profitably."
I like this positive spin. Instead of feeling guilt and despair, I should feel hope and gratitude. Since our approach to the sacrament actually highlights God's mercy, we should go MORE often, rather than our natural inclination towards less.
Our author also addresses preparing for Confession, reminding us of the daily practice of the Examen. As well, if we go to Confession for frequently, it will be MUCH easier to recall what we need to confess. If we wait too long, it gets impossible to recall everything that we should.
Crucially, in terms of what we should confess, St. Francis suggests:
"...that we not only confess what we have done (or failed to do), but, more importantly, that we acknowledge the reason for it and the motive behind it. These are what allow us to see ourselves as we really are and become the place where we focus renewed energy, with the help of divine grace, in becoming who we are called to be."
This selection really spoke to me. If there are things that I need to confess again and again, WHY am I continuing to do them? It's not simply a matter of resolving not to do it again, then eventually caving and doing it again, it's a matter of what is causing that temptation or weakness to be present. This was a very useful insight for me.
What were your thoughts on the Confession chapter? Next week is our final chapter, and it's about the Mass! I'm really looking forward to that one. I have very much enjoyed our endeavor together with this book, but now that we're at the end, I AM excited about moving on to something else. I can't wait to chat about it with you!
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I too was struck by the idea to confess the motive behind the things that I am confessing. For me it was more related to the idea of clarity that he discusses. Some of the examples he gives of general things that everyone could probably confess are things I have likely said during confession.ReplyDelete
I was also struck by this quote, "In Salesian spirituality, renewing our resolutions is not a sign of desperation but of persistence. Starting over despite never seaming to arrive at our goal comes not from being thickheaded but faithful and hopeful." There are things both that I know I should do and that I should not do but haven't been able to follow through 100% of the time. Reading that it is ok and good even to keep starting over if that is necessary is encouraging.
Melanie, I agree. I love these words: hope, gratitude, encouraging, persistence, faithful. These are positive words, rather than the negative association I would berate myself with in my head about confessing something repeatedly. Rather than "why can't I do any better?!" It should be "I'm trying, but it's good for me to strive to do even better, with God's help and mercy."Delete