Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"We will be waiting for them in the Confessionals"

Confessions available, SAA Church:
1) Tonight, 7-8:30 pm (Mass at 6:30 pm). “The Light is On For You”
2) Saturdays, 4-5 pm
3) 24/7 – Fr Greg
Thanks to a parishioner who sent me this insightful and intriguing story about Confession which comes from a Catholic speaker and apologist:

“Some years ago I was invited to dinner at the rectory of the most populous parish in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. When I knocked on the door, the housekeeper admitted me. It was evident at once that no one else was there. Had I shown up on the wrong night? Oh, no, said the housekeeper. All four priests werestill in the church, hearing confessions. On a Thursday night? When the priests finally returned to the rectory, the pastor apologized for keeping me waiting. They had had fifty more penitents than usual for a Thursday. I remarked that Thursday evening seemed an odd time to have confessions.

'Oh, we have confessions every evening,' said the pastor—hundreds and hundreds of confessions each week. I wondered how that could be possible. The pastor chuckled. He said that neighboring pastors asked the same thing--and they proffered answers. Many of them say, 'Well, you're just getting our penitents because you have such convenient times for reconciliation,' but that's not so, you know. We can tell that these are our own people.'

But why, I asked, were the four priests in this parish kept busy with confessions each evening, not to mention on Saturday afternoons, when in neighboring parishes only a handful of people showed up at the once-a-week slot for confessions?

'Easy,' said the pastor. 'It's so easy that other priests don't believe how we do it.'

Okay, I said. What's the secret?

'From the pulpit we tell our people that they are sinners, that they know they are sinners, and that they need to go to confession. We tell them that God loves them and wants to forgive them. We tell them that we will be waiting for them in the confessionals each night and on Saturday afternoon. We tell them this often and always gently, and so they come to confession. Lots of them.'

That's it? I asked. No fire and brimstone? No bribes, spiritual or otherwise? No threats?

'Not necessary,' said the pastor. 'If you tell people the truth that they already know in their hearts--that they are sinners and need forgiveness--they will respond to that.'

And so they did. No matter what changes have occurred since Vatican II, no matter how ill-instructed today's Catholics may be, no matter how put off they may be by scandals or flat homilies, one thing has remained constant: human nature. People today commit the same sorts of sins that people committed fifty or a hundred or a thousand years ago, and those sins affect them as sins always have affected people. At least in this regard, there is nothing new under the sun..."


At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

There ya go FG, you can offer confession every evening. . . LOL

At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to confession this morning (big line, but there always is) and left the confessional feeling a bit unsatisfied with the experience. This particular priest is very nice and sincere, but he always feel a bit "light" to me, and I never really feel much after his absolutions. I think his penances are a bit soft as well. The priest who used to be at this parish was a great confessor; he was very kind but would always prod me to probe a bit deeper, and his penances were very just and appropriate. I would always leave the confessional feeling wonderful and truly absolved; any ideas on how to get closer to those feelings with the lightweight priest? I always confess to the best of my memory and try and examine my conscience pretty deeply, but reconcilliation has been rather blah since the older priest left.

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi anon,

Perhaps YOU have changed and the Lord has helped you grow in holiness! My sins from years past are different than now. Perhaps Christ is asking you to be more open to his infinite mercy (through this new priest). If you feel "not punished," enough perhaps God is calling you to greater acceptance of His love and mercy(which is beyond our comprehension).

Last thought - sometimes I add to my own penance (I don't know if this is right or not). Perhaps I will humble myself and ask someone for forgivenss. Or I might increase my service or reach out to someone who is hard to love/like. Awareness of my own self centertedness (through confession) always spurs me on to sacrifice for the Lord.

Just some comments on my personal experience.


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