I’ve shared already my experience at First Reconciliation as I was going through the RCIA process earlier this year. But I wanted to hone in a little further on confession/reconciliation as a Catholic newbie, because it has quickly become one of my favorite things about Catholicism.
I have only gone three times, but wow how powerful those three times have been. Here’s what I was expecting from confession: relief and joy at being forgiven for my sins. Here is NOT was I was expecting: help at overcoming those sinful tendencies.
Much to my surprise, I have found reconciliation to be an amazing tool for self-improvement in addition to forgiveness. During my second reconciliation, my priest asked me which of the sins I was confessing did I need to work on the most. It was a no brainer, as there was one I desperately wanted to improve, but felt it beyond my power. It just kept happening, popping in my mind, even though I didn’t want it to. Well, lo and behold within the next two weeks my tendencies toward that sin literally DISAPPEARED. This was one I’ve been struggling with a long while and poof, gone. With God’s help, anything is possible.
My son needed to go to reconciliation again after his First Communion and it had been about a month since my last confession, so we both went for my third time. First of all, I met a lovely family waiting outside the confessional who hadn’t been in seven years. It was great talking with them and helped calm the fears of my 9-year-old who was so nervous about going that he had cried the first time I suggested it. He got to talk with several preteens and teens who were nervous, too. Thanks be to God!
This time, I focused on a different sin/tendency that I wanted to work on. The priest chose a passage related to that sin for me to meditate upon — and it was perfect. Though that sin has not totally died away, my tendencies toward it improved substantially.
It has now been more than a month since I’ve gone and I feel myself sliding. I desperately need to go again and gain some graces and help from our Lord. I have a new sin I want to hand over to the Lord for help with this go-around and it’s one that I’m suddenly really struggling with. I have let too many things get in the way of going to reconciliation and I need to take a moment, do my examination of conscience and get in there and do it. (Side note: The Laudate app has a great Examination of Conscience that lets you check off anything you need to work on — and you could literally review it off of your phone during reconciliation, just remember to silence your phone!).
Has anyone else found this amazing benefit of confession? Do you feel you need to go regularly not just to follow church guidance but to further your path to sainthood? Please share your experiences!