My Faith/Reconciliation/Sacraments 25 Things You’ve Felt if You’ve Ever Been to Confession by Joel Stepanek You are driving in your car and have a quiet moment one Saturday afternoon when you realize the eternal mortal weight of your sins. You Google the nearest Catholic Church to find when you can go to Confession. Why are Confession times so hard to find on these parish websites?!? You *finally* find a parish that has confessions…AND THEY ARE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. YOU COULD BE FREE AND FORGIVEN BY DINNER TIME. You get to the church, but it looks like a few other people had the same idea. You want to leave because this could take a long time. But you know that God’s mercy is waiting for you so you aren’t leaving until you get that mercy. While you wait, you start to think about some other things you did that probably weren’t really good and your confession list grows. The pages in your journal fill up and you worry the people around you might get a little judgey… But then you realize that you are just being paranoid and need to relax. The line gets shorter but it feels like you’ve been sitting forever. Thoughts start to creep into your head… What if the priest yells at me and tells me I’m a horrible person? What if I get claustrophobic in the confessional and want to run away? You start to freak out and realize you are the next person up. You walk into the confessional and notice immediately it is warm and smells like incense from the funeral Mass that happened in the afternoon. You nervously start your confession, but you look at the priest and suddenly feel calm. He gives you the “You got this” nod. You list your smallest sins first, because, you know, you’ve got to lead up to the big things. Then, you get ready to say the big thing but have a moment of doubt – maybe you could pretend like you forgot. But you say it anyway and hold your breath, waiting to be exiled from the church forever. But the priest isn’t phased. You wait nervously, but instead of exiling you he gives you some really great advice. IT’S LIKE HE KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT TO SAY AND YOUR MIND IS BLOWN. As the priest gives you absolution, you feel God’s grace falling on you like. You walk out of confession feeling brand new and awkwardly smile at everyone in line as you leave because you know they are going to get the same grace. You feel ready to face the world, to go forward and do your best to avoid sin. But you know that if you do mess up again, Jesus is waiting for you, just as ready to forgive you and pour His love out on you as He was today. And that is pretty fantastic.