I can tell when it’s time to avail myself of Confession when I can’t stand myself anymore. I become grumpy and discontented and short-tempered – a real treat for all around me. For one reason or another, circumstances prevented me from getting to a confessional week after week, and I could feel in myself the general murkiness of needing to wipe the slate clean. Just as I reached the point of deciding it couldn’t wait one week longer, I found myself with an open Saturday afternoon and so walked to the church eager to take my place in line.
Only the doors were locked. My heart drooped in disappointment. Was this God asking me to work a little harder? Or could I return home because God would accept that I had at least made the effort? I walked around the side of the building to try another entrance where I met a lovely older woman who took me by the arm and gently suggested we go back and try the doors again. Just as we reached the top of the stairs, the door was opened from the inside, and we were invited to come in out of the cold. How fitting!
Fr. Newfoundland is known to frequently be late, so I sat in my pew, fretting at the time, trying to work out how long he would need to vest himself for Mass, and whether if I didn’t get my turn in the box before Mass if I would have the resolve to linger afterward and ask him to hear my confession then. But he did arrive in time and I was first one in line. I normally prepare myself by rehearsing (prayerfully, of course) my laundry list of transgressions. This time it came straight from my heart, and I think all the grace I received went straight to my heart. I returned to my pew with so much peace I felt transparent.
In line after me were two older gentlemen, dressed in fine dark suits, a little stooped in their posture, heads bowed in quiet reflection. Observing them as I knelt, fresh from absolution, I was struck by the beauty of those men. I saw their strength, their humility, their dignity in their bearing and in what they were doing. What did they look like to God? If I was so moved by them, limited as my vision is, how did God see them; how moved was He?
If the spiritual reality were more visible to us, would it be easier for us to pursue holiness? If the state of my soul could be seen on the outside, would I take more care to guard it from harm? If the nobility (or lack thereof) of my thoughts and actions was evident to all, would I behave with more dignity, speak with more kindness, think with greater charity?
Dear Lord, give me the eyes to see the best in men, and grant me a heart that desires to be my best for You.
|He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy|
must pass through the door of My justice
~Jesus to St. Faustina~