I mentioned a while back that I had a general confession looming before me.
Just in case you don’t know, a general confession is a time to go to confession and confess ALL YOUR SINS FROM YOUR WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE. All at once. Even the ones you’ve confessed before.
Sounds fun, right?
From the outside, I know it looks like we Catholics just like rolling around in our guilt. I could theologize about it all, but the point is this: you take the time to examine your life thus spent and come to grips with 1. I AM a sinner so 2. Christ died on the cross because of me and 3. I totally don’t deserve or understand that mercy and love BUT I am in need of it and accept it.
It’s pretty heavy stuff.
And it was with a pretty heavy heart that I contemplated having to do this. Again. I gave a general confession when I came into the church 11 years ago and I was so much more anxious this time. I KNEW better, for crying out loud.
I kept putting off this task until late one afternoon when I realized that my deadline was looming and, holy buckets!, I needed to make an appointment. To stall further, I emailed Fr. Jim in the middle of the day at Cathedral. I thought it was safe and I could at least claim to have tried. After all, Fr. Jim teaches at the school during the day.
His response was immediate.
On top of THAT, he was free that evening and able to come to the house if needed.
My mouth went dryer than the Sahara and I got a little nauseated. I hemmed and hawed for an hour before I made the plan to meet up with Fr. at the church.
And there, I met Jesus. It’s funny how many, many times I have told youth that the priest is there in the confessional in the person of Christ and you are telling Jesus what he already knows and YET . . . and yet I didn’t fully understand what I said until that night.
Everything came out. Big, small, important and petty. In the end, Fr. looked up and said, “Wow. . . Wow!” Then he smiled.
“God has worked so amazingly through your life! Can you see that? I mean, I just heard all of your sins. That’s some terrible, awful stuff and yet He has brought you here! It’s a Friday night – you could be in a lot worse place right now!”
Redeeming grace struck me full in the chest. The quiet cry I had going turned into sniffling.
“And you know what? Jesus says, ‘I love you! Oh how I love you! LOOK at how much I love you! You’ve tried to run away and you’ve tried to make me go away, but I won’t. I can’t! You’ve nailed me here and I LOVE you. I love YOU, Annie.”
The sniffling turned to sobbing and when I left the confessional after an hour the one tissue I had had all but dissolved.
I floated home, lighter, cleaner and feeling more loved than I have EVER felt before.
When I got tired of running from you
I stopped right there to catch my breath
There your words they caught my ears
You said, “I miss you son. Come home”
And my sins, they watched me leave
And in my heart I so believed
The love you felt for me was more than
The love I’d wished for all this time
And when the doors were closed
I heard no I told so’s
I said the words I knew you knew
Oh God, Oh God I needed you
God all this time I needed you,I needed you
Thank ya, Jesus. I mean it.
*Song lyrics from ‘I So Hate Consequences’ by Relient K.