Last Saturday I went to confession. This is something I almost never do, and when I say almost never, I mean I haven’t gone in several years. For the longest time I shared the belief with many that one could confess their sins directly to God. I’m starting to feel a little differently about that. In part, however, I just needed to talk to someone, so I figured I would go to my priest.
I can write about it here now because what I discussed with him isn’t exactly a big secret. In fact I’ve talked–or whined about it here before, but in a slightly different way.
I confessed to my priest that I worry about the world. That there are things in the world that scare me; that I want to change, but I don’t do anything about them because I don’t know how or don’t have the resources or ability to. What was bothering me–what has been bothering me off and on for a long time–is that I don’t try and figure out new ways in which I can help. I just give up before I even try.
My priest seemed to think this was a strange thing to be confessing at first, but then he started asking me questions:
do you feel like you have a strong relationship with God?
I think so…
Can you pray?
Do you pray about the stuff that scares you and that you want to change?
Well prayer is super powerful. Really amazing things happen because people pray. Don’t underestimate it.
But what else are you doing now? How’s school going?
I just graduated.
Oh, congrats! What’s your next step?
I’m writing a novel.
Great! What’s your novel about?
It’s science fiction… but I plan to use some of the proceeds to donate to charity and stuff.
Well, great. God has given you a gift. You can write and you’re committed to it. Can you use that gift in other ways?
I have a blog…
You can kind of figure out where the conversation went from there. I was hoping to be told what to do differently. I was hoping he would give me some brilliant insight or tell me about a new charity that needed a social media manager. Instead he told me that I should basically be doing more of what I have been doing: pray more and write more; be more intentional about it; Plan blog posts; read scripture; do the rosary or at least make an effort to pray every day. It was actually the most encouraging thing he could have told me.
There were other things I confessed to, but they were more concrete, and not things I want to talk about here. I’m working on those things. I think overall, going to confession was very good for me. Ironically, it’s comforting to know that someone else knows my dirty little secrets, and I can trust him to keep them. I also feel like since he knows them I’m more accountable and I have more responsibility to work on them. In my mind it doesn’t make sense. It feels like these things should only be between me and God. I honestly don’t know much about penance from a spiritual standpoint. Once again I have to do some research.
Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!