Get Off the Broken Road
Our spiritual walk is a marathon, not a sprint. That means that there are going to be a lot of times when you’re doing things right, and a lot of times when you’re not quite on point.
I’ve had an evolving relationship with the Sacrament of Confession over the past decade. There have been a few years where it wasn’t a priority for me. There were a few months where I was going weekly. These days I’m averaging about once per month. As I’ve frequented the Sacrament more regularly, I’ve noticed real changes in my life.
Let’s face it, going to Confession is pretty inconvenient. Either the Parish offers it once per week for about 32.5 seconds, or it’s offered almost every day and the lines are impossible. Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, here are some things to think about when it comes to Confession.
- Confession is a reminder of the vastness of God’s love. Have you ever had a friend or family member screw up and you gave them a second chance, only to see them blow it again? Imagine if they were on their 1,000th chance, and they still blew it. That’s us. We sin, we go to Confession, we resolve to do better. Repeat. The sins really don’t change that much. Despite our best resolution, we sin again. Yet, each time, God forgives. He accepts our insufficient apology. He knows we’re going to hurt Him again, but He’s so invested in this relationship, He’s so confident that we’ll make it in the end, that He hits that reset button one more time.
- Every sin has a cause.I like to think of sin as a chain. You start with a very innocent act. Then, that weakness contributes to the next sin, another link. If you play the game long enough, you have a really long chain and end up in the realm of mortal sin. At any point, you can break the chain. Depending on how far along the chain you are, the bigger the bolt cutters you’ll need. As you get deeper into sin, you start to despair and think that nothing can stop you from going further. That’s the lie of sin. When you pray, expect something to happen.
- Every sin has an effect.We think of sin as being a very personal thing. We don’t often share our failures with people in our lives. Yet, it effects those around us. Sin robs us of charity, which is our ability to love. For example, when I commit sins of pride, I feel myself being less patient with Alison and Benedict. There are very real consequences to sin not just in the next life, but in this one, here, today.
- Confession takes away the power of sin. Sin is very much like mold, it thrives in the dark. When you expose mold to sunlight, it dies. When you carry around the burden of your sins, they grow like the proverbial monster in the closet. It almost takes on a new life. Then it starts running your life and keeping you in fear. There’s only one way to defeat sin: name it. When you go to the Sacrament and tell Christ, out loud, the names of your sins and the number of times you committed them, you have a real, “My name is Legion” moment. You realize how real sin is and how devastating its effects are. Confession gives you the ability to undercut sin and steal it’s power.
Above all, the point of the Sacrament is to give us the graces and opportunity to reform our lives. If we don’t make concrete changes in our lives to do better with our new chance, then we’ve made a huge mistake. We’re given this incredible opportunity to start over each time we receive the Sacrament, we really ought to make the tough changes so we don’t end up suffering from Confession Repeat Syndrome.
You know what leads you to sin, you know what the links in your chain are. Break them.