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Confessions of a new confessor

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 10/07/15

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From Ethika Politica comes this view from the other side of screen, via Fr. Gabriel Toretta, OP:

 As a newly ordained priest, I get asked all kinds of questions to which the speaker already knows the answer, things like “What was it like being ordained?” (Indescribable), “How do you like your new parish?” (It’s great), or “How awesome is it to say Mass?” (Like, ridiculously awesome). But no one so far has guessed my answer to the question, “What’s your favorite part of being a priest?” To me, it’s obvious: confession. Partly, it’s the whole incongruity of the situation. After all, I’m just some guy who has spent more years studying Japanese than studying theology, and suddenly I’ve become an instrument of God’s mercy. There’s no easy way of narrating how the different events in my life have led me to this place: they just have. I’m not uniquely holy or even particularly wise, but thanks to a mysterious thing that happened on May 22, 2015, when someone comes and tells me the personal history of pettiness and pain that has separated him from God, I can say “I absolve you from your sins,” and it really happens. …I always assumed that I would find hearing confessions a terrifying and daunting burden; I had heard stories of first-time priests praying that no one show up for their confession hours, and I imagined I’d be in the same boat. Happily—amazingly—that’s not how it turned out. Confession, I’ve discovered, is as easy as falling off a bike: all you have to do is let go for a moment and it’s all over, leaving you a little dazed but ready to start again. …What I’ve discovered as a confessor is mercy. I’ve realized that all the reasons I used to fear and delay confession stemmed from my basic distrust of mercy, either the confessor’s or God’s: I thought that if I honestly admitted how I failed to make myself holy, the confessor would make fun of me, or be disgusted or disappointed or annoyed at me for wasting his time, and that it wasn’t worth making time to examine my conscience and confess because God wasn’t going to do much for me whether I went to confession or not. In reality, a confessor isn’t going to be shocked or put out at what he hears—not here, in the confessional, where that sin is being offered at the foot of the Cross for the mercy of God.

Read it all.

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