NOTE: I have a bunch of these spiritual exercises in River of Grace called Flow Lessons and I thought I would share them with you. Give it a try and see what happens!
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Materials needed: pen or pencil and paper; a large sink or bathtub; a small, empty Tupperware; various small objects that will not be harmed should they get wet
Note: If you belong to a faith tradition that practices the sacraments (such as the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal or Orthodox faiths), making use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession/Absolution is the best place to start when dealing with regrets. The kind counsel of the priest coupled with the reception of sanctifying grace provides true spiritual healing. The value of this exercise is for any leftover regrets you were unable to release after reception of the sacrament.
FEBRUARY 24, 2016–I used to dread going to confession; now I look forward to it!
I’ve been a Catholic since birth (60 years this March 19) and always dreaded going to confession. As a kid it was scary; as an adult it was embarrassing–I could never remember my sins! I mean I know I screw up big time but I never can remember the specifics. Thankfully I now have a tool based on the Ten Commandments to help me come up with those specifics.
If you are of another faith tradition, I know confession is hard to understand. Why should someone have to act as an intermediary between me and God when it comes to owning up to what I’ve done wrong? It all begins to make sense when you find the right confessor. Honestly, it’s like trying to find the right doctor or shrink–you have to know what you want in that person and be aware when you find it.
Our associate pastor, Father Jim, is the confessor I’ve been looking for. Such a patient listener, compassionate and quite wise for a man of thirty (my son is that age!). He’ll let me babble on trying to explain my sins to him only to assure me I’ve made a good confession. He then figures out the theme of my sins, offers good counsel and assigns a penance that makes sense, I feel tremendous relief and gratitude every time I confess to him. Honestly, I actually looked forward to going yesterday! I examined my conscience yesterday morning, made my list and waited all day to see Father Jim.
God is near, we know that. Some Christian faith traditions believe the Eucharist is the physical presence of Jesus. But there is something about spilling your guts to another human being, especially one who has been ordained and appointed by God to help. And help it does.
I hope you’re as lucky as I in finding a good confessor.