I went to Confession yesterday. For the past two months I have stayed away from both Confession and the Eucharist, believing that the latter should follow closely the former. I stayed away knowing that I was not ready to turn away from certain sins, not ready to let go of certain illusions that I have been harboring. That afternoon, even, I looked for excuses not to visit the church, not to examine my conscience, not to get on my knees and recite my perverse litany of pathetic and paltry peccadilloes. I went to the local lake where I somewhat distractedly jotted down the sins that I could remember on a little sheet of paper as runners and power walkers passed by me. (I also was “eyed” by a man in the public restroom–ah, how grace and sin flow in and out of our most humble daily experiences.) Yet. Yet excuses and opportunities to delay just another week fell away and before I knew it, I found myself nervously sitting in my church’s Mary garden, waiting for my priest to unlock the doors to the church. I prayed that Mother Mary would assist me before her Son, and as I entered the church, I knew that Christ was truly present in His tabernacle waiting for me to return to Him. As I left the Confessional, I knew that He was there, welcoming me back to his Father’s house.
I stayed for the vigil Mass, and as I prepared to receive communion, I prayed the following from my treasured 1950s Catholic manual:
Let blind and infatuated worldlings intoxicate themselves with the false, transient, and fading happiness of this life; for my part, nothing besides Thyself can content me, either in heaven or on earth. Come then, O Thou Lamb of God, Who takest way the sins of the world! Come, Thou beloved of my heart: adorable Flesh, and precious Blood of my Savior! Come, to nourish, to comfort, and enliven my sickly soul. O God of my heart! let me neither love, seek, nor think on any other object but Thyself alone; for Thou alone art my consolation, my treasure, my joy, my life, my all!
After the reception, I once again returned to that manual and prayed:
Behold, O Lord! I posses Thee, Who possessest all things, and Who canst do all things. Thou art the heavenly physician of my soul, Who healest all my infirmities: and I am the sick man, who Thou camest down from heaven to heal. Oh! heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee.
I normally do not feel comfortable discussing these things, either in person or online. Thus, this will probably function as my last “Catholic” post for a while, but as Mary exclaimed: “My soul magnifies the Lord, / And my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”