Monday, March 4, 2013

Lenten Tidbits: Confession

Does your stomach grind when you think about going to confession?  Do you duck your head in shame because you're confessing the same sins over and over? Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene has a suggestion for those of us who are out there rolling our eyes at ourselves and thinking, "Am I ever going to beat this?  How embarrassing to be stuck goofing up the same way every week." In meditation #104 of Divine Intimacy he gives us this advice:
...[I]t is much more profitable to fix the attention on deliberate faults [sins] first, then on those which are semi-deliberate - even if they are only simple imperfections - telling not only the faults themselves but also the motives behind them.

Although this method is not required for the validity of the confession, it is certain that the soul will draw much profit from it since the accusation will have exposed the root of the evil.  The soul will benefit too by its act of humility, which will be a stimulus to deeper repentance and will arouse in it a more ardent desire to amend its life, for this is the logical result of considering the motives - usually not noble ones! - from which our faults arise.

Furthermore, an accusation of this kind helps the confessor to have a better knowledge of the penitent's weak points, and to suggest the most suitable remedies, a matter of special importance when direction is given with confession.
I wish somebody had told me this fifty years ago. "Know thyself", an ancient Greek aphorism often ascribed to Socrates, is possible by admitting our motives honestly in all that we do. The better we know ourselves, the more we see how much we need God and the better able we are to humbly submit to His purification on the path to sainthood.

Happy Lent!

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Barb. It struck a note with me since I tend to sound like a broken record in the confessional.

    Happy Lent to you too!