It had been three months. Every week there are two chances, Thursday and Saturday. All I have to do is wait on line for a while, then when it’s my turn to go in and sit down. Or kneel at the Vatican II mandated partition. And on 12 December, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I didn’t put it off any longer.
I sit, facing Father. I told him if he is acting in persona Christi, that he is acting for Jesus. And if I had something to tell Jesus, I would not kneel behind a partition, but look right at Jesus as I shared the things I wanted no one to know.
So I confess. What I confess is less important than that I do. “You’re as sick as your secrets.” , is the 12 Step Recovery aphorism. What keeps me away is my commitment to looking good, no matter how uneasy with myself I can be. That’s called Pride, worse than Lust or Avarice or Acedia (that is the particular type of sloth called spiritual laziness).
I open my heart. Tell Father (Father, young enough to be my son). My sins are a reprise of that last confession’s sins. He gives me as a penance to ask the Blessed Mother to be my spiritual mother when I pray the last Glorious Mystery, Mary’s Coronation. And I do.
Sceptics will scratch their heads in wonderment. Cynics will be relentless in their scorn for my naïveté. But I don’t care.
I’m there in that room, with that priest, with Jesus, metaphysically present, because my experience with evil on this side of eternity compels me to trust God in all His Triune Majesty. And Love.
People talk about Cafeteria Catholics, those who pick and choose rites, doctrines, dogmas that make them comfortable; Christmas Midnight Mass, Ashes on Ash Wednesday, (If you are a celebrity or a politician, get your picture taken with that black smudge on your forehead.) Palms on Palm Sunday, and Easter, when happy Church returns.
But there are what I call Cookbook Catholics, who follow a recipe for Salvation, that they trust will keep them from damnation, formulaic believers, whom I cannot fault. Then there are those who have peered into the abyss where Evil awaits at the bottom. I have seen the addicts, the tortured, the brutalized, the raped. I ask God to fill my heart with His redeeming Love, so I can spread that Love in my little way.