Wednesday, March 4, 2009


So, one of the things we accomplished on the retreat on Saturday was our First Holy Confession.

I was, sadly, disapointed with the whole thing. The priest, Fr. A, is very nice, and I did what I was instructed to do. I went in, and talked about 'what was bothering me, what weighed on my mind'. I recited the Act of Contrition, I was given absolution, and Penance, and that was that.

People came out of the room crying, clearly deeply moved by whatever happened in there. All leading up to it, the people already in the Church would talk about how a weight is lifted. Eh. Perfectly honest? I don't feel it. I don't feel any different, I didn't then, I don't now. Perhaps it's because it wasn't the confession I was expecting? I wanted to go in there, and confess to the priest, acting as Christ, all the wrongs that I could remember. To list them, to acknowledge that I did wrong, I know I did wrong, and I am asking for forgiveness for those wrongs.

Like so many other things, this, I feel, is really something done for our benefit. God knows what you've done, better even than you. It's the process of reflection, of acknowledgement and repentance that is important for us. But the way we were told to do confession? I didn't need to tell the priest that I lied, or stole, that I've blasphemed, or that I worshiped other gods. Nothing. Just...what's bothering you. And none of those things are bothering me. I've done them, I know they're wrong, God knows, I've acknowledged them privately, and I pray for guidance away from repeating those mistakes.

I think confession can be great, as evidenced by all those people who clearly got something hugely meaningful out of it. I wish it had meant more to me. I *wanted* it to mean more. But it didn't. It was like having a conversation with someone I like, who is then sworn to secrecy. I didn't...I didn't get that feeling of *sacredness* that I was expecting. That *lift* when it was over, and I was told that my sins were forgiven.

As I jokingly told someone else, "Given all the other reactions, I'm afraid I may just be spiritually deficient."


  1. Tears of happiness as God lights your way Amber *

    In time Amber you will definitely look back more fondly on this important day at the retreat. You'll reflect, maybe even cry.

    What this post told me is that in many ways you are coming into Catholicism whole. You have dealt with your past, any underlying inner demons, and your ready to move forward. Perhaps more so than the fellow converted.

    If anything Amber, you should be very proud of yourself for doing this because you love God and want to serve Him, and not because of some sort of atonement your trying to do like the others.

    May God continue to make your paths straight and easy. I love you Amber, and I'm so incredibly happy for you. God bless you dear.

    P.S. The name of this blog fits so perfectly! Only thing is "big leaps" is even more fitting, you are so inspiring!

  2. Amber, I so appreciate your honesty. I think God does too. Sometimes we look for things and don't find them; other times we stumble upon things we weren't looking for. God knows exactly what you need and when and how you need it. He is with you on your faith journey, and I do hope you won't spend too much time comparing your experiences to others. What God has for you is unique and wonderful. It's unfolding all the time.

    God's rich grace to you, Amber.


  3. Lisa,

    I enjoyed the retreat, and am happy that I went. It's on a little island, and it's just lovely. Lots of native plants and animals. Of course, that was the highlight of the trip for me. Gators. :)

    I try to keep in mind that this is my path, and it won't be like anyone elses. Sometimes it's hard though, when I don't react the same way that others do, and I start to wonder if there's something wrong with me.

    Thanks for the encouragement sweetie.

    And forget me being an inspiration, have you ever looked back at your own blog? You're amazing.

  4. Muhala,

    Thank you. I am trying to keep in mind that my life is unique, and laid out by God, and I shouldn't compare it to what others have. But sometimes it's hard. I feel like I'm missing out on something that others are getting.

    Perhaps my moment will come in another way.

  5. Congratulations on your First Confession.
    As a convert myself, approaching the confessional for the first time was a fearsome thing. A hlaf-century later, it still is.
    We must remember that God's forgiving is not an emotional thing, but a spiritual thing. None of us has ever seen a soul.
    Sometimes upon leaving the confessional one is elated, almost walking on air. Other times, there remains a "down" feeling of sadness, unworthyness. Nothing.
    We must remember that the priest, acting as intermediary, not on his own, has absolved you of all sins.
    We must, in the words of Jesus Christ himself, "Go and sin no more."

  6. Sweetie: you are how old? The slippers I am wearing are older! Wait until you are a battle weary old sinner like me for the tears! I remember my first,first confession. Thought I'd die of apaplexy! then nothing! I was 7. Then when I returned home after being gone for 30 years and really had something to say... but same thing. God had already seen God had already heard my tears and cries for mercy so the confession was anti-climactic as you say it was for me. But this weekend---now that was different.I was able to put down a burden I didn't even know I was carrying.Priests are very sneaky, they have secret abilities to get down to the bottom of things that sometimes we cannot even see.
    Welcome home dear girl keep up the good work and keep looking at Jesus the author(one who created the faith in you in the first place) and finisher(the sustainer and driving force) of your faith. And rest securely on the Virgin Mother(who is virgin so as to be Mother of all) she will never fail you!

  7. A Sinner Too,

    Thank you. :)

    On reflection, I really think that part of the problem was that I'd built myself up to *expect* an emotional response. And then seeing the people before me coming out in tears?

    I expected there to be a reflection of the spiritual change in my emotions. And when there wasn't, I was sort of disappointed.

    Not in the confession itself, but in my reaction to it, if that makes any sense.

    The problem, really, lay in my expectation, not in the confession.

    It was a good confession, and I do believe that Christ, through the priest, has forgiven me my sins. And I look forward, if that phrase can be used, to being able to go to confession again, because I most certainly will.

  8. Mary,

    Then you have some very well cared for slippers. ;)

    I know I'm still young at 26, and honestly I sometimes feel like I'm still twelve. :)

    I feel blessed to be where I am, right now, and I know that, spiritually, as well as in other ways, I'm a babe in the woods. I'm glad to have access to Confession, and I'm going to be realistic about my reactions to things. I'm not an emotional person anyway, so I don't know why I had built myself up for this to be a huge emotional thing.

    Unrealistic expectations for a wonderful experience, and they soured it a little for me. But I've realized that that was what the 'problem' was. :)

    And thank you.

  9. Amber, I went thru the same thing my first time. I get the spritual uplifting I was expecting. Maybe had I done something that was really bothering me and I confessed it, maybe I'd be releaved. Anywho, I've been to confession a handful of times. The last was when I had to take my son for his first holy confession, he followed my lead as it was a "communal" confession. The priest had to keep lifting his face up to look at him as my son was infatuated with the tile in on the alter.

    On the ride home he claimed he felt better, but had to confess again before his Holy Communion. I asked why and he said he lied about what he'd told Father. He made up something so he'd have something to be sorry for.

    13 years of Catholic education has been imbeded in his brain. Last year he told my husband and I that he hasn't been to confession since his senior year in HS. He said God knows what I do and knows whether I'm sorry or if it was done with malice. He still goes to mass and loves his church.

    I see things the same way.

    Good luck with your walk.


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