Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Revolving-Door Confessional

My husband and I used to tag-team for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. One would watch the increasing number of little children while the other would enter the confessional. Then, after lucky number one's penance was done, he or she would watch the children so the spouse could be shriven. By the time said spouse was finished, number one's soul did not feel so bright and shiny any longer after dealing with the stresses little children inevitably bring and a return trip to the confessional was often joked about. This is when we began talking about the need for a confessional with a revolving door.

Concupiscence. Paul in Romans 8 describes it well, saying he does what he doesn't want to do, and doesn't do what he would like. We all know it well; but I am a worm and know it better than most.

I went to avail myself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation Saturday. Truly contrite and profoundly grateful for absolution, I said my penance next to my oldest daughter in the back row right which seems to be reserved for penitents in our church. Then, since we were staying for Mass, we moved forward in the church, where I sat contentedly contemplating Jesus on the Cross. Yes, God forgive me, I was looking at the crucifix in church, speaking with my Lord, and perfectly content. Complacent. Complacency does me in every time.

One of the entrances to our church needs repaired; the door slams shut rather than closing slowly and quietly. Most of the people know this, but don't think to catch the door and close it themselves. The third time the door's slam interrupted my reverie my first thought was "Damn it, can't you catch the door?!" My eyes travelled back to Jesus on the cross. I was no longer content, but convicted. My sins, including these just committed, had put Him there. Not only had I used foul language IN CHURCH, but I was being uncharitable to my fellow parishioners (I have a special problem with being charitable and never fail to mention it in the confessional). I felt I should make an about-face and march right back into the booth. Then I saw the Sacristan heading to the back with Father's chasuble. Too late.

Fortunately, these were venial sins and receiving Jesus' Precious Body wiped those sins away. My own contrite heart was fertile ground for His saving action. I thought I had a bright, shiny soul - for ten minutes! Turns out my attitude of heart and mind may have made the time less than that. Concupiscence. I still need a revolving-door confessional.