Confession is not for payoffs; it is for healing.
– Lewis B. Smedes, Give Us This Day, 2/27/15
My first confession was required as part of my RCIA program. It may have been the first sacrament I made prior to baptism.
I was forty-seven, and had no idea where to begin. Would anything I felt guilty about count? Should I stick to the ten commandments? Most of those weren’t applicable: murder, adultery, stealing.
I yell at my kids and I curse. A lot.
It felt silly.
But in looking deeper, into years and decades of feeling sorrow for deeds, I managed, with the guidance of my priest to find the right balance, to know what should be confessed and what should be ignored, what needed deeper understanding and what remained superficial.
It wasn’t my confession that freed me; it was the absolution and the absolutism of G-d’s forgiveness through my priest’s words and prayers. With his hands on my head, I could feel the weight lifted, literally going away from me.
It was so much more than I expected, and so much more healing than I could have imagined.