I had my first confession today! And that means I could receive the Eucharist again after three weeks of unresolved penance!
But this morning it was a close call.
I only learned last week where and when confession is at my church — “Oh, just approach Father before the Mass.” Well, that sounds easy.
But then this morning, my Mass buddy, Chandler didn’t wake up until almost 10:40. By the time he got up and met me at the usual rendezvous, it was almost 11 AM. I was irritated, but far more crushed. I was so sad at the thought of missing confession for another week that I didn’t even have the psychic energy to work myself into a good forth of indignation.
At the church after 11 AM, I was desperate. Ignoring how I would delay the start of Mass, I grabbed Father John by the shoulder and asked him, “Can I make confession this morning, please?”
“Oh sure, go upstairs.”
For me, just for me? Joy of joys!
I knelt at in the confessional for a few moments before Father arrived. He entered, donned his vestments (red for the fire of the Holy Spirit on this, Pentecost Sunday), and then sat in front of me with his face averted down and away. He started the liturgy of confession and then I explained, in as much detail as I felt necessary or intelligible, my sins. Then he counseled me. It was, I tell you, as the voice of God. I think, at some point I missed, Father John left and Jesus took his place in that chair. Then, a few moments later, Father and Jesus were sitting in the same chair, saying the say things. He, they, assigned me some penance, which — having just completed it — was *exactly* what I needed.
I stood and left the room literally a lighter, freer, happier man. I was so full of thanks. Cleansed of my sins before Mass and filled with God’s own life during Mass! To meet Jesus first as my merciful judge and then to meet Him as my broken but glorified bread of life! Today was one of the dearest Masses, and one of the greatest Churhc services in general, that I’ve experienced. The Holy Spirit fell in a torrent of burning love and my sins fell away like charred vermin.
I mentioned my penance. I did my share tonight; you, for your part, have a look at Matthew 2 sometime. To follow the star of the Christ child out of our homeland, old Adam’s ghetto of Eden, means returning home, to our new home, the palace of new Adam, by a different path. Leaving the kingdom of darkness for the bright morning star Himself means returning to life — now, new life, in Him — by a different path, the path of repentance, holiness and love. Purity is not an ideal; it is not even a merely attainable reality; it is human destiny. Sin is a rejection not only of God but of our own true selves. After all, God is the very being and light by which and in which we become our true selves.
This morning, I must confess, I became a bit more myself.