Monday, December 22, 2014

8 Reasons Not to Go To Confession Before Christmas

This afternoon, I took my seat among two dozen or so other penitents who, in preparation for Christmas, were waiting to go to confession.  The penitents who waited--mostly patiently--were of varied ages and ethnicities.  There was, at least, one priest sitting among them waiting for his turn in the box.  Nothing says Christmas like a long confession line.

It would be awesome if you can get to confession before Christmas, but time is running out.  Try your best to get there tomorrow (December 23rd).  If not, I'm sure you can find some parishes that are offering confessions on the morning of the 24th.  If none of this works out, don't let the week after Christmas pass by without going to confession.  But, if you can, go now!  

Let me offer some reasons why somebody might not go to confession before Christmas:

1.  I haven't been in a long time.
Reply: That's why you should go now.

2. I'm embarrassed.
Reply: Human beings say and do embarrassing things.  All of the time.  Don't let embarrassment keep you from receiving God's grace.  

3. The priest might yell at me.
Reply: I hope that doesn't happen.  The priest is a sinner too.  And, I'm guessing that 98% of the time, priests are just really happy to be able to be hearing confessions.  It's when we feel most like a priest!  So, I think our inclination--especially before Christmas--is to be happy that we are being used in the way that God intended.  If you do get one of us during that 2% cranky period, chalk it up to us being tired and that we are sinners too!

4. I'm afraid the priest will think less of me.
Reply: When I hear confessions, I am grateful for the privilege to be welcomed into the messiness of someone's life.  I'm thinking how great it is that this person is confessing his or her sins.  I'm not thinking any less of the person.  Quite the opposite.  Oh yeah, and the priest is a sinner too.

5. It's been so long, I forgot exactly what I'm supposed to say.
Reply: Say, "Father, it's been so long I forget exactly what I'm supposed to say."  The priest is going to be delighted that you are there.  He's not worried that you don't remember the Act of Contrition.  (And by the way, if you're really stuck on the Act of Contrition, here is a good one: "Lord Jesus Christ, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.  Amen."

6.  I'd like to go, but there are certain things I really don't want to say.
Reply: "Abortion, gossip, envy, masturbation, pornography, fornication, homosexual acts, adultery, lying, being cheap, refusing to forgive, not praying, not going to Mass, deceiving, looking lustfully at others, using the Lord's Name carelessly or inappropriately, receiving the Eucharist unworthily, sullying the good reputation of another, being hateful, being filled with pride, cheating, stealing, not contributing faithfully and generously to the works of the Church, and at times despairing of God's mercy and at other times presuming too much on God's mercy." If I heard any of that or ALL of that in a single confession, I would think, "Praise God!!  What a beautiful and great confession."  The more honest a confession, the better.  When we open our wounds to the Lord, His grace floods those wounds and heals them.

7. I'd like to go, but I'm really busy.
Reply: Blah, blah, blah.  If you wanted to go, you'd go.  So, go.

8. I really haven't done anything wrong.
Reply: You REALLY need to go!

Friends, Jesus is coming.  Give Him the best Christmas gift;  not gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but your sins.  This is why He came to us.  He loves you and He wants your sins.  He loves you.  Let Him love you through His Mercy.  

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