The only time I actually feel I am a sinner is when I stand in line for confession (or if I have to use the correct term [the sacrament of reconciliation])
Now to recollect sins is no easy task-trust me. I sin on a daily basis and so often even without realizing it, that if I have to jot down every single one, a few couple of pages might not be enough. Worse still if one hasn’t gone for confession for a good number of years, you can only imagine!! I try to at least have a confession done once a year if not more [like a wholesale confession]
Some things that people do while awaiting their turn for confession:
* Check their mobile phones. I’m sure they are googling for last minute tutorials on ‘How to confess sins’ or the Act of Contrition.
* Last minute jotting down of sins on a small piece of paper with even a smaller font of handwriting. Enough for u to understand.
* Close their eyes and pray till it is their turn. Isn’t the praying supposed to be after the confession (in the form of penance?)
* Talk to other people in the line to keep themselves entertained (it is a known fact that women cannot remain silent)
I’ve had my amusing confession moments, one was of when I was standing in not necessarily a long line but in terms of waiting time, a good 40 minutes till I finally found myself in front of a priest. While standing in the line, 2 senior citizen ladies behind me were complaining on how long the line was taking and worried that it wouldn’t go fast enough because the ‘young people’ may have many sins and that the line may take longer than usual to move. Being young myself (in comparison to them) I was amused at hearing that because those were my exact thoughts of the older generation, that they wouldn’t be as quick narrating their sins and they might have the priest to repeat things as they would be hard of hearing at the ripe ages they were in.
As expected, when it was my turn.. I didn’t take long, I was quick in having just 3 sins to confess, received absolution and was done, all in less than 7 minutes flat.
On thinking later, I didn’t quite get the older women’s concerns, even if young people did sin more (which is a genuine possibility), how long would it take to say, “I cheated at the exam, stole money from the church and slept with the neighbors daughter, for these and all my sins I am truly sorry..” The number of sins hasn’t got anything to do with time taken to confess. There I was, confessed my 3 sins, received my absolution and given penance. (the above 3 sins are made up, feel free to claim them if they belong to you)
And then they’ll always be that not-too-old-not-too-young lady who in virtue of waiting for her turn to the confessional, striking up a conversation with another person in the line and sharing on how she hadn’t been to confession in a long time..a silver jubilee celebration, boy! wouldn’t she take long in the confessional? You’d think she’d be better prepared and write her sins down on a piece of paper to remember better than to trust her memory to recollect all the sins for the past 25 years.
Wow! She seemed oddly relaxed.. Considering I’m more of a venial sinner, I am still better than those mortal sinners out there-that said, confession is something I don’t look forward to.. but necessary all the same for a roman catholic.
The feeling of being cleansed of all our wrong doings after which (given absolution) the feeling of your heart being lighter is something un-explainable.