| | Comments (3)

I just had the most harrowing (and gratifying) encounter ever in the confessional. I had never had a priest accost me in quite the way this priest did. Apparently this man believes in the destructive power of sin. I felt like I was at the inquisition and it was wonderful. All too often, I go into the confessional and I get a priest who will tell me how what I think is a sin is not really all that sinful. This priest harangued me about the horrors of mortal sin and the path to which it led. It was frightening and exhilirating. I walked out of the confessional with a sense that I had actually participated in a Sacrament. More, the ordeal was such that any penance afterwards would be incredibly light.

But what was so nice is that Father made it very easy to step through all the various actions and thoughts and to really make a good confession. I can tell it must have been efficacious because afterwards at Mass I was seized with such an enormous anxiety attack I wanted to run out of the Church and scream. I restrained myself, nearly hyperventilating. As communion came and went the anxiety eased somewhat. I'm convinced this was simply an emotional attack to try to get me offtrack again.

Anyway, thank goodness for this priest who still believes in sin and its prevalence. He even gave a rather Savonarola-like fiery homily against sensuality and sin. This to a Mass of tourists. Very, very nice.

Bookmark and Share


Excellent post, Steven.

I am glad that you found such a priest, Steven, as well as being perhaps just a bit envious. The priests in this area, more often than not, seem to treat penitents mechanically: no matter what you confess, their response is to always say something bland like "thank God for the grace of a good confession", and follow it with some stock penance (e.g., three Hail Marys). I've also encountered priests who seem to think that it's really, really hard to commit mortal sin. And I've even found myself nonplussed at one point when I confessed a number of sins, only to have the priest tell me that he couldn't give absolution because I hadn't confessed anything he considered sinful.

I suppose all this is driven by a desire not to offend people or drive them away from the Church, but such toleration has the consequence that people will neither fear committing sin or falling back into sin after Confession. I much prefer the confessor who will not only take my sins seriously, but will additionally give me substantive penance -- not because I'm a glutton for punishment, but because I need something to help me remember when I'm being tempted again. By so treating me, he is also affirming my dignity as a human being, and reminding me that I am capable of good as well as evil. In contrast, to treat my sins as being of no great significance is tantamount to saying that I have no great significance.

I've had confessors like that and I agree - you do feel like you have actually received the sacrament!! I wonder what confession must have been like with the Cur'Dars, the Great Confessor. I imagine it might have been similar, and he had people line up for hours to go to him for confession.

I'm glad you had a good experience Steve!



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on June 26, 2005 7:50 PM.

Contemplation--Wordsworth Style was the previous entry in this blog.

Amos 8:11-12 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll