For a couple of weeks I have tried to come up with a list of things to confess. I felt stymied by it. Ok. First the 10 commandments. A few measly sins rose to the surface. How about the 7 deadly sins? A couple of more things, but boy it felt like I was really stretching to come up with something. Am I really that pious, or have I just gone into denial overload?
And then, sitting in the dark church on Good Friday, the floodgates opened. I read the confession in the prayerbook. We are sorry for what we have done and for what we have left undone....
Suddenly it all came pouring out. I grabbed a pen and my little notebook and started writing furiously. I felt such despair staring at it in black and white. All this since my last confession, which was only a few months ago. All this. All this.
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.
Confessing to Fr. Rich was a very different experience in some ways. The room, of course. The ringing telephone and occasional near interruption when someone accidentally tried to come in. At one point we agreed that Grace needs a confessional.
But even with the distractions and interruptions and vulnerability of feeling exposed, it was still a grace-filled experience. For a few moments, I felt myself sink into the despair of it... but then, began to feel pulled back up to the surface. It was similar, in a way, to baptism. After absolution (in Latin!) he asked if I wanted to sit on the little sofa for a few minutes to meditate. No, I said, I am going into the pews to offer a prayer of thanksgiving.
The morning's psalm was, remarkably, the same one I read after my first confession. In the darkened church, at 3:45 in the afternoon, I read it out loud.
Last night I felt so alive I couldn't sleep.
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.