Monday, March 27, 2006

40 Days of Lent - Day Twenty-Seven

Good for the Soul

I haven't been to confession in years decades. As a child, the logic of the ritual escaped me. You could do the most heinous things but as long as you were sorry, confessed and did penance, the sin was forgiven by God. It seemed a little too easy. Although I couldn't figure out why, something didn't feel right. I didn't like the idea that people could get away with the bad things they did, especially mean older kids in the neighborhood. I wanted them held accountable.

I can remember waiting in line outside the confessional for what seemed like hours. Appearantly those ahead of me in line had a lot to confess - was that the norm? I didn't have so much to say and felt bad. Some cursing, some disobeying my parents: I would be in and out of the confessional in no time flat. It was embarassing. So, in order to spend more time in the confessional, I would make up sins to confess. Nothing outlandish: I never copped to a murder. But I would admit sins I figured other kids my age would have: stealing, skipping church on a Sunday, etc. Then the final sin I would confess would be lying, figuring that would include the lying I had done in the confessional.

I stopped going to confession not because of any conflict I had with the church, but because of my faulty memory. My last time in confession, I began the creed the ends the ritual...and realized I couldn't remember the words. The priest feed me a couple of lines which I repeated but then I would fall silent. Unlike my sins, I knew I couldn't make up the closing prayer. So my penance was: learn the creed before I go to confession. I haven't learned the prayer and I've never been back to confession.

Just one more reason I'll see you all in Hell!


Stella said...

I got the weirdest penance for confession once: Write an essay on lying and hand it in to the parish office by Monday. Talk about a killer! For high school girl, that was the LAST thing on earth you wanted to include on your weekend. I did it. (believe me?) And I always went to someone else's line for confession after that! And hope to God I'll not see you in hell!

Mom said...

Memory refresher:
Oh, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to ammend my life. Amen. your last excuse is gone!

I thought that "Stella" might be your sister Ann, but I guess not.
Love you,

Mom said...

PS...don't mean to be a nit picker, but did you know you have two day 26's?

the hanged man said...

Stella - it could have been worse. Our parish priest, Father Lewis, once yelled at someone in confession. "Why did you do that?" his voice echoed through the church and yes, mass was going on at the time. I've never heard of having to write an essay for penance.

Mom - thanks for the nit picking. Problem has been rectified.
I will be working on a new excuse as to why I don't go to confession.