That doesn’t make it easy or comfortable, of course. Which is probably why – along with residual obdurate Protestant independence – I haven’t been to Confession in months. (how many? none o’ your biznez!)
But I did go today. I’m engaging in an online book study of St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life with a group of women I’ve met via a couple of Catholic web sites. We spent two weeks discussing issues surrounding Spiritual Direction, and this past Wednesday we were on Ch. 5 – detaching from our sins.
It’s the very act of confession that I find awkward. I can think and pray on my way to the church, in line waiting my turn to confess, using a superb examination of conscience, and have my list of sins settled in my mind (and occasionally on paper) – but as soon as I get into the Confessional my mind goes into a disorderly blur.
Still, as Msgr I counselled me this evening, in order to do battle against my sins, I’ve got to use the arms available to me – and Sacramental Confession is the ultimate weapon known to mankind.
This is part of that spiritual warfare I’ve been writing about in recent months. We begin with ourselves, because if we don’t we’re just blowing smoke. We work on ourselves, we reach toward perfection, in order to become more fit and better trained for the battles beyond our own minds and souls.
I said, in a discussion of the promotion of contraception in Third World countries, recently, that we can’t export a commodity we don’t possess. In that case, I was referring to a national sense of reverence for life; in this case, I am thinking of radical, countercultural holiness. Sanctity.
If we want to make a difference in the world, we have to strive for a difference in ourselves. The work begins with Confession.