Thursday, March 5, 2009
So many exciting things have been going on that I forgot to tell my new Confession story. Two days ago -- Tuesday, this was -- I went back to the booth! It is Lent! It is time.
That reminds me of something funny. Every once in a while as I may have confessed in the past I listen to Catholic Radio. (I know, NERD!!) I do not want prayers or sermons but I love their call-in shows, Calling All Catholics, shows like that. They have a great shrink on during the day, Dr. Ray I think his name is. Unfortunately I am usually working when he is on.
Anyway, I walked in in the middle of a call and this person was complaining about some health discomfort she had. And the priest said, "Well, this is a great time for any kind of discomfort. It's Lent!"
Back to my Confession. I did not have any discomfort this time around, that is for sure! I do not know whether that is good news or not.
I do know, I liked that drama of my first confession after a million years. OK, not liked it. Loved it. It put me into this mystical glow for weeks. I even told Leonard Pennario about it. That is something that makes me feel good to remember, that he and I discussed that and laughed about it. I mean, we laughed about it, but Pennario appreciated the power of the Catholic Church. He had an audience with the Pope once and never got over it.
Where am I going with this? I keep straying like a sheep. With which, my Confession. Do you capitalize Confession or don't you? Any priests out there to clarify this?
I went with my friend Lou from work. He is my Confession buddy. And let me tell you, Lou knows his way around every Catholic church in downtown Buffalo, including mine. I mean he knows every priest at every church and which priests are in which confessionals and when to the minute the Mass starts and which obscure hallway leads where and sneaky ways in and out of all the parking lots. Tuesday, as we headed toward St. Michael's, I worried that we would be late, that Mass would start before I was able to make my Confession which, you know me, was sure to be lengthy and onerous.
Lou said with confidence, "Don't worry, they continue hearing the confessions even after Mass starts."
And lo, it came to pass!
Lou went to Confession first because his Confession is short. He has no sins, does my friend Lou.
Then I went in and it was a different story! Above is a snapshot of me in the confessional. Lou took it while I was not looking!
This is funny: Because of an accident of lighting, I was able to see the priest through the screen. He was not the priest I keep running into at parties, the one I am pretty sure presided over my second "first" confession.
This priest Tuesday was very nice to me, I have to say that. Here is what he did. Every sin I confessed, he would stop me and give me a little humorous advice.
For instance, not to get into all my sins, but I confessed how when I am in the car by myself, I am prone to road rage and I get impatient in situations when I shouldn't.
And the priest stopped me. "I can help with this," he said. "Maybe when someone pulls in front of you, instead of swearing, you can think positive thoughts, like: 'Oh, I hope this nut makes it home safe tonight.'"
I have to say, his advice helped! That has kept me laughing in the car since then and other stuff he said, too, has helped me with more of my many spiritual stumbling blocks.
My only problem was, he was a little too nice! After Mass when Lou and I were leaving, I pointed out the confessional on the right side of the church, way in the back, where that priest almost a year ago had put me through the wringer.
"That's where it all happened," I said.
And as I said it, I got misty.
But whatever the priest's style, I have to say this: When you get out of that confessional, you feel darn good. You are shriven. That is a medieval word I love, shriven.
I am shriven!