Monday, September 25, 2006


"Don't wallow in guilt. Wallow in the mercy of God."
~Catherine Doherty
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is all about wallowing in mercy. When I found myself in much need of it yesterday, I asked to see the priest. Confession is good for my soul. It takes so much energy to carry around secrets. I know, I can take them to God at any moment. There is a relief though, in speaking them aloud to a human being, someone who represents Jesus with skin on to me. It helps keep the "if people really knew me" lie from paralyzing me. In a way, it helps keep me honest not only with myself, but in community as well.

And I believe in the church's teaching which Catherine Doherty explains this way: "When you say to a man, "I have sinned," you have to believe that this chap called a "priest," whatever he might be, is Christ, and it is Christ who says, "I forgive you. I absolve you." Get that straight. This must always be there before you in the infinite totality of faith. It is isn't the priest who is absolving in confession, it's Christ."

She goes on to speak of examining one's conscience as a means to recollect oneself - to collect all the fragments. And so with several fragments weighing on my mind yesterday I negated their power to fill me with shame by speaking them aloud and admitting I was in need of grace. Father Charlie was able to see the domino effect of one of my sins that lead me to commiting another. In doing so, a pattern I have been repeating for years was uncovered and held to the Light. The revelation spurs me on to begin another step 4 with an honesty I was incapable of a year ago.

Today has fragments of its own that need collecting. Rather than wallowing in shame because of that reality I will let those fragments lead me to wallow in Christ's mercy all over again.

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