Confession: I Still Don’t Get Sin

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

I don’t know how to prepare for a “first confession”. It’s a strange thing being a candidate for the Catholic church. In RCIA, we were basically told to do it, and I did. My only experience with Catholic confession is from Hollywood. Usually set in a small dark lonely box inside a small dark church. In TV and movies usually the camera is right in the priest or confessors face. The light is right above them casting unflattering shadows. I felt like when I went in to do confession that the light would be dark or dim, but it definitely wasn’t. It was in a college administrative office, bright florescent lights. I sat on a couch facing him in his office chair with a coffee table between us. I was talking to a priest, where the last interaction I had with him was five years before trying to get a job in Campus Ministry. He had no idea who I was.

Technically, Catholics are supposed to do confession like right before they go to communion. Or is it as long as they have no mortal sin on their shoulders? I don’t know. They got to be a clean vessel for Jesus to meld with… or something like that. Though, I’ve been told that Augustine thought/said that going to mass was a cleansing enough process for the average Catholic to partake. Not to undermine the significance of confession.

I was really nervous, and I thought a lot about my sin. I realized after that, really, the priest has more to be afraid of. I mean, who knows what kind of sinning I’ve been doing, right? And he has to hear it. I didn’t want it to be fast, but I also didn’t want it to take forever. From what I remember, he didn’t want it to take forever either. Not that I felt rushed, but after a certain point, and a certain feeling of remorse, what more is there to do or say? Pray, receive forgiveness, forgive yourself, and move on?

Weirdly, I cried. I did not expect to cry. I felt light afterwards. I’d done my new Catholic duty, though I’m still not sure what the etiquette is…

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I don’t get sin.

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

April 23

Ugh. Last night was “rehearsal night” for confirmation. It was alright. It’s exciting and scary and mundane. It’s like becoming what you become. Unfairly, as a candidate for confirmation you basically have to say that you believe everything that Catholic church claims about God. I don’t really know everything that the Catholic church claims about God, so that’s kind of tough to say. I suppose if I’m going with what I think I know the Catholic church claims about God, then I’m good. Anyway, it’s a weird feeling, and I understand why a witty teenager might back out.

But I don’t know. Whatever.

It’s so wrong, the way I’m going through this process. The more I think I know, the less I know. One of my friends was like, “This is where you are now, and that’s all you can be true to.” True. Very true. I can’t worry about the past, or anticipate the future, I just have to be where I am with God, and the Catholic church is it. Not perfect. Not “believing” everything. Just being true.

Then there is this confession thing. A good practice, but, again, whatever. First, I’m pretty sure I’ve committed no mortal sin. Because, well, it’s really difficult to do this. I have my issues, my day to day struggles, that have always been. Then I have these distinct moments of venial sin action—again, everyone does this. I do wrong, knowing it’s wrong (maybe a lie, not being generous, cheating, stealing, swearing, being mean, gossiping, anger). Then there are accidents of the same thing.

I’ve always strived to be good. Never actively choosing to step out of grace with God. And maybe that’s a sin too—perfection. Selfishness. Thinking I can do everything by myself, but I need reconciliation. I need to express my imperfection and my need for God.

That’s the short story. The strange thing is rehashing all of this in my mind. Because, I also honestly believe I am forgiven. I don’t need to go to a priest. I get it. Some do need this. And it’s a good practice. A super good practice. It’s better then the cry-fest every Sunday at Evangelical churches reminding us about how terrible we are.