Thursday, December 17, 2009

That Dreaded Time of the Year

Yes its Christmas in a weeks time.
Which also means its the time when parishes are having the penitential services.
For some going for confession is like the dreaded exams that we have before we can enjoy the holidays.
Why do we have to go for confession twice a year before Christmas and Easter.

Fr Luke Fong started his blog two months ago, where he puts up his reflections once a week. And in his latest post he comments about the sacrament of reconciliation. He uses a story about "Sally and the Pearls" to explain the purpose and beauty behind the sacrament.

For myself, I too used to find it so difficult to go for confession. But after my wake-up call, I started to question all the rituals and practices I followed as a Catholic. And confessions was one of the hardest to come to terms with.

I remember there was the comparison of confession with taking a bath. Where we have to wash away our sins regularly. But somehow that analogy just did not cut it, or make me want to go for it any more than I had to.

It took me many years, but I finally realised how to make sense of confessions. And the answer did not lie in the confession itself, but in my understanding of our faith.

For most of my life, I have come to understand sin as bad actions, with bad consequences to the party that I've sinned against and also to myself because God does not like sin. But as I grew in my faith, I realised that its so easy to get caught up in the religious practices and the rules and regulations of the faith, that I was not aware that the most important element of being a Catholic is my relationships, with God and with those around me. That is why it is a faith more than a religion.

It is only when I started to look at Catholic faith from the relationship aspect, then I realised that sin wasn't so much a bad action, but anything that breaks my relationship with God, and others. And thus comes the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Too often we call it confession, which highlights just the act of confessing our sins, but we miss out the elements of repentence, and more often that it is a restoration of our broken relationship with God.

These days, I still have the uneasy feeling when I have to make my confession, because of the shame of sin and having to confront my own weakness. But what drives me to go for it regularly, is not about being washed clean from being dirty, but of how important do I see my relationship with God, and am I willing to confront the broken relationship and allow restoration and healing to take place.

I found this interesting cartoon on this guy's blog

I especially like this quote of his

I once heard somewhere that Confession is like the direct opposite of sinning. When you sin, you tend to want to do it, you feel good doing it, and you feel bad after. Confession, on the other hand, you don’t want to do it, you feel bad doing it, and you feel awesome after. I’d much rather go to Confession.

1 comment:

Janice said...

thanks terence! I completely understand the last quote. I too experienced confessions slightly differently the last penitential service. It was a desire to restore my relationship with God than to be get rid myself of sin and made me experience more of God's love :)