Sunday, 25 September 2011


I suppose I am not the only Catholic who finds it hard to go to Confession; if the queues for Confession are anything to go by, it seems that very many of those whom I would recognise as parishioners, are absent at this weekly slot. Perhaps they too, experience that silkily persuasive inner voice which reminds them of the 101 things which need to be done, the fact that no major transgressions have taken place, or  a fulsome reminder of  virtuous accomplishments in hope of lulling the soul into a false sense of security and placing Confession somewhere low down on the priorities schedule.
If that doesn't work the next step often seems to be  throwing confusion on attempts to examine the conscience. Did I do/say/will that?
Did I really, or is it just the product of an over-scrupulous conscience?
Am I trying to get myself off the hook? So, if I witnessed someone else do/say those things, would I believe it was wrongdoing or not? Surely it should be the same for me?
Is it sin that is so complicated, or is it me?

The only way to find out is  to bring such issues to Confession; this is where a priest acting in the person of Christ, can bring light, forgiveness and healing.

I have recently been reading and re-reading ' The Warfare of the Soul' by Rev. Shirley Hughson, published I think, in 1909.So, this publication is over one hundred years old, yet as fresh as a daisy.
It feels a bit like holding up a mirror to the inner life, the spiritual life.

On Confession, and the temptation to almost despair of ever making progress in the spiritual life, Rev. Hughson has this to say:

"I do not know whether I have done this or not.I know not if my life is changed for the better,or if I am living more as Christ would have me live than I did a year ago.Moreover, I am not concerned to give you, God's enemy and mine, any answer to these questions. I have no account to render to you. But one thing I know; when I sin I can come back to Him. I kneel at His feet, I put my hands in His, I look up into those eyes brimming with love, and I say, 'Dear Lord, here is my poor heart all full of sin again; I lay it at Thy feet. Wash it in Thy Precious Blood, and make me strong to serve Thee better. I am sorry and I purpose to amend, but I am weak. Be Thou my strength; fight Thou against them that fight against me, and let me be the victor in the end.' 
I speak to Him thus, and leave it all with Him. I sin again, and again I come and kneel at His feet;and though I have come daily to Him with the same burden, His embrace is never less tender, His words not less sweet, His eyes are ever full of the same old love.
Am I amending my life? I know not-He knows. Is my soul a saintlier thing than it was a year ago? I know not-He knows. All I know is that I love Him, and I want to love Him more; and that when I think on Him my heart is at peace,"

1 comment:

  1. Kate, I think one of the things we forget about Confession (and the other sacraments, too!) is that they bring us grace. I don't know exactly what that is, but I do know that I need it, and I can FEEL it. Confession, even for minor things, "clears the air" between God and I, and my prayers/talks with Him become easier, more sincere, and I think it is easier for me to remain in His presence --- anytime.

    I'm reminded of the Gospel where healing went out from Jesus to the woman who touched His robe, and He knew it. Grace flows out from Him to me in the sacraments, and as I lead my life it flows out from me to others --- and if I don't "re-charge" that grace, I can feel somehow that it is missing, and in a way I'm failing those who come into my life. Confession is important from this point of view, not just for me, but for those I pass grace on to.