Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Adventure in the confessional
The good news is, I have earned my Plenary Indulgence! Judging from my mother it is worth it. It negates all the time I would have spent in Purgatory for all my sins. Well, something like that.
More importantly it brought me back to Confession.
I am ashamed to admit this but I had not been to Confession in a very long time. This after going back after all those years and then carrying on so many times about how much my faith means to me. Blah, blah, blah. That was me! Because all this time, I was not going to Confession. That is what working on a book about Leonard Pennario will do to you. It takes up your whole life.
So today there I am, back at St. Michael's. I kneel there for a while, trying to get my thoughts together. Finally I get up and wait for a confessional to open up. Eventually one does. It took a while.
Right away I got off on the wrong foot!
I pushed aside the blue curtain, stepped inside, and the priest is already talking. "How long has it been since your last Confession?" he was asking.
Was he talking to me? I hesitated there in the dark.
"Are you there?" he asks.
I knelt down hastily. "Yes," I said.
"How long since your last Confession?"
Why did he have to ask that question?
"Well, it's been a year, I think," I said. "I may have--"
"You don't have to talk so loud," the priest goes. "I can hear perfectly well. There is nothing wrong with my hearing."
"I didn't think I was talking loud," I argued.
"I'm saying this for your sake, not mine," he says.
"If you just whisper I can hear you."
I swear, this kind of thing happens only to me. Everyone else, they go to Confession without incident. I am the lucky one.
Eventually this priest and I, we make our peace with each other, and we talk. The gist of it is this. I am supposed to see him again in a month. Well, not necessarily him. But I am supposed to go back to Confession in a month, is what he told me.
Confession for me is kind of like the chiropractor. Sometimes they even use that word "alignment." The deal is, I have to go back every month for a while until I get myself back in alignment with God. After that, the priest told me today, I can think about tapering it off to once every three months. But for now, they want to see me once a month. And I have to work on this, this and this, and especially, uh, this.
But all that really mattered was, my sins were forgiven. It is great to hear that! Confession, I am telling you, it is the greatest sacrament. You never know exactly what will happen once you get in there.One thing you can count on, though: You will leave feeling good.
So I went and posted on Facebook: "Back from Confession. All is forgiven." And I get this comment from my friend Airborne Eddy:
"Wow, I was wondering where you've been for the last few weeks. Where did you find a Priest with that much time on his hands???"
Lucky for me, the Jesuits are patient.