Friday, October 19, 2007

Confession of a parent

1) Eucharistic Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All who wish to adore Jesus in the Eucharist are invited!!

2) DC ‘Hood vs. St. Jerome’s / Sacred Heart (Bowie), tonight, 7 pm, St Jerome’s gym, 5205 43rd Ave., Hyattsville, MD 20781. Go ‘Hood!!
Recently, an anonymous blogger asked whether or not she should require her daughter to go to Confession after she caught her lying. The following are excerpts from the insightful, creative, and inspiring responses which “Joan” wrote:

…You must also realize that your lie offended God. He loves you more than I ever could. You can tell him you are sorry, but unlike me sitting here next to you, we can only hear His forgiveness in confession. I know it’s hard to tell someone else what you did wrong, believe me I know, but it’s so great to hear God forgive you, and He so wants to tell you. Confession isn’t punishment – that’s the loss of the cell phone. Confession is apologizing to God, like you did to me, and receiving His forgiveness. I can take you with me when I go on Saturday. I won’t make you go to confession, but I do ask that you at least go in there and talk with Father about what happened. If you don’t want to go with me on Saturday, I can call Father and set up a time for you to meet with him; unless you would like to call him yourself.

It seems if we speak of Reconciliation in a positive manner and receive regularly, our children will become more accepting of it as a regular (and wonderful) part of our life.

…I have allowed them a distinction between 'going to confession' and 'talking to Father'. Sometimes, the only wrong they see is that they were caught; they aren't at all sorry for what they did (and it doesn't matter how old they are). So, I give them the option of going to confession or going to talk, a kind of 'see what Father thinks'. If they prefer the anonymity of going to the Shrine, then that's what we do.

When they have elected the 'talk' as opposed to confession, they have come to see what they did and the gift of the Sacrament. Then they are the one asking for it, instead of me making them do it.

…Speaking only for myself, there have been times I have had to go talk to a spiritual Father to figure out whether I was right or wrong. It was the only way I could lay out all of the details and get an objective answer. I had no doubt he would either tell me directly whether I was right or wrong, or he would help me figure it out. Sometimes, I realized anger and/or pride had affected how I handled a situation with the kids, and so asked for confession and then apologized to the kids for losing my temper. What they had done was wrong (and they still had consequences), but that didn’t give me the right to behave badly. This was/is particularly true if what they did embarrassed me in some way.

Other times, I realized it was parental guilt - guilt that I hadn’t taught the children properly; guilt that I had to deprive them of something or make them do something they didn’t want to do; guilt that my actions would drive them from the Faith; guilt that I was a bad parent.....

I think the hardest parts for me, whether I was wrong or right in my response to their actions, are to (1) “go talk to Father” and (2) let it go and quit beating myself up about it. But, it’s getting better.

If this situation is bothering you, you may want to call Father and talk about it in person.


At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard that there is an office at the Shrine where a priest is available every day for spiritual direction to anyone, including laypeople and even people who are not fully practicing Catholics -- like people on the fringe. Does anyone know about this or how one might contact this person?

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous mindy said...

Soon, our 2nd graders will be making their First Reconciliation. There was a mtg for the parents the other night, and my daughter told me I didn't need to go, b/c she wasn't going to go to confession. She was actually nervous to tell me this (tears welling up in her eyes and so forth).

I've been guilty of feeling nervous and anxious about confession, and I thought maybe she picked up on this from me. I thought that she was nervous about telling the priest the "bad" things she'd done, and reminded her that she knows both of our priests pretty well (and likes them), and that neiter of them would be angry or disappointed with her. That wasn't her concern, and her concern taught me something important about myself.

I asked her what she thought happened during confession. She told me, "Jesus comes down from Heaven and goes in that room (that's when the light goes on) and listens to you talk." She wasn't worried about what the priest would think, she was worried about what God would think.

My trepidation about confession has always come from pride- speaking about my things to another human being- I was okay with telling God.

I told her we were going to learn more about the sacrament, go visit the confessional and she could just think about for now. Our conversation was a good (and humbling) reminder to me about where/what I can be focused on.

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Marion (Mael Muire) said...

Anon 11:03 AM asked about a priest available every day to anyone.

From the website of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, DC):

"The National Shrine has a full time spiritual director to assist visitors with their questions about the faith and other spiritual or personal needs. Walk-in visits are welcome, but appointments are advisable (202-526-8300 ext. 125) if visitors are coming from a distance or have limited schedules."

Hope this helps! God bless you.

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

One more thing-
I lit a candle for him last night, but please pray for my friend, Scott. He's only 37 and, while he was driving his 3 young children, had a stroke on Wednesday. Fortunately the children were unharmed, but Scott's road to recovery will be a long one.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger fran said...

A while ago, I asked my younger daughter, what she thought it was that caused children to not want to go to confession. She said, and I quote, "because you never really know who is going to be in there."(!)

I laughed to myself at first, then realized she had her own child's viewpoint. We are so careful with our children and even though they know the priests, and see them day in and day out, when it comes right down to it we are asking them to go, unaccompanied, into a dimly lit (or at some churches a dark) "room" and talk to a person that they do not see, if they choose the non-face-to-face option, as my daughter does.

So for younger children, maybe it is a matter of getting them comfortable with the physical space of the confessional, as well as comfortable with the Sacrament itself.

For the anon who asked for info on the Shrine: phone number 202-526-8300; e-mail adress: info@national

At 6:55 AM, Anonymous mindy said...

Earlier in the month FG posted something about possessing no one or nothing. He talked about giving away his furniture and walking into an empty house to a sense of freedom. I thought- I wouldn’t feel like that. Recently, I’ve realized how ridiculous my attachments to things can be. This is sort of silly, but demonstrative-

Many years ago, I purchased 5 hand-blown glass oil lamps that I’d use on my table for holidays. They were really pretty, and seeing them on the table, to me, signified a special occasion. The kids were always drawn to them b/c when they were lit, they glowed to show all their neat colors. I kept them in this jelly cupboard. When Rachel was a toddler, she got into the cupboard and broke one- I then had four, which still looked pretty on my table. When Jonathan was younger, he, too, got into the cupboard and I was down to three. My table didn’t look as pretty, but during the holidays, I still wanted them on my table. I lost two more in the next few years, and I was now down to one for this year’s holidays. I have searched online to find more, but can’t find them anywhere. It’s so stupid, but I have been thinking about this b/c Thanksgiving is coming up and I’m hosting this year, which meant one single oil lamp was going to be on my table. Yesterday my 2 yr old explored the jelly cupboard and- crash! Surprise- I was actually relieved. When I think about how attached I was to those silly things, I can’t even begin to think how attached I am to many bigger things. I could tell you, in my head, that it matters WHO is at my table not WHAT is on my table, and yet, something as insignificant as a little accessory actually distracted me from that. I can tell you, if my daughter hadn’t broken it, I would’ve spent time focusing on making that stupid think work on my table, and if I didn’t’ like how it looked, I would have focused on that. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but it’s likely that it would have taken away from my focusing on my family and friends.

Some may think I need to get a life, but I challenge you to think about the “silly” little things to which you are attached. How many times, as a parent, have you yelled (I mean really yelled) at your child b/c he or she broke or touched something that was, in the big picture, truly much less valuable to you than your child’s spirit? I know I have.


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