I went to confession again last week. It was the second time I’d been since going just before I joined the church at Easter. All of us in RCIA lined up outside the confessional, waiting for our time with the priest. The running joke in the lineup was that we intended this to be our first and last confession. None of us wanted to go through that ordeal again.
At the same time, I was looking forward to confession. Oh, not to having to tell the priest everything I’d done wrong, but to hearing that I was forgiven for those wrongs. There is something very concrete about speaking words and hearing a response, something very definite about having to say, “This is what I’ve done wrong and I’m sorry,” and about hearing the priest say, “You are forgiven.”
I walked out of the confessional before Easter feeling like I wanted to do cartwheels or a happy dance. I was forgiven! It was a wonderful feeling. I tried to restrain my smile, so that the others still waiting and dreading their turn wouldn’t wonder at me. Yet at that moment I felt so free and happy, because I knew that I was right with God. I’d come to Him with everything that I’d done wrong or failed to do right, and He had forgiven me. Wow!
So last week I braved the pouring rain to walk down to the church and see the priest again. I stood in the lineup, waiting and praying. Then I stepped into the tiny room and poured out my failings to Jesus through the priest. And I knew that in having to admit what I had done wrong, I will try harder next time to do right. Afterwards, I stopped to pray, the words of forgiveness still ringing in my ears. I looked up at the stained glass windows, overwhelmed at what Jesus had done for me. I’m forgiven!