Lord, If You Will, You Can Make Me Clean


The Pope thinks you should go to Confession.

Almost as important, the Anchoress does too --and provides a video primer on how to do so if you don't know. As she says,
Lent is coming. [Next week! Gack!--ed.]

So are hard times.

If you’re feeling fretful, you may want to try incorporating some prayer and spiritual discipline into your life. And if you’re Catholic, and you want to get back into church, and begin to re-engage with the sacraments, or simply to get the most out of Lent, you might want to try going back to confession.

I adore Confession. I think I feel physically lighter and stand up straighter after spitting out the poison of all my sins and internal gunk every couple of weeks. It's like revisiting the scene from Pilgrim's Progress where Pilgrim's burden rolls away.

I observe that if I have a couple of days feeling cranky and at odds with the world, the problem isn't usually anyone else's fault, it's a build-up of sin, for which the best solution is an influx of sanctifying grace. Spit it all out and joy returns. I thought perhaps I was imagining this, but I observe it in my kids as well.

It's dramatic. Basically they get along well together, but over the course of a few weeks they'll get to a point where no amount of correction can stop them griping at each other constantly. The only solution is to get 'em shriven PDQ before they go feral. They go in to the box Satan's Own, fussing over who's going to go first and come out my adorable little angels again: giggly, eager to please, the impudent edge to their voices gone.

It would be heresy to suggest that Confession automatically makes you feel physically and emotionally better or that its main purpose is psychological, but for those purposes as well it works for me.

I also share the philosophy of a priest who once told me he could get into a lot of trouble in two weeks, and it calms him to know if he's hit by a truck, that's as much of his life as he'd ever have to answer for. Excellent policy, says I. Hard times coming.

For those of you who live in my neck of the woods and find the Saturday 3 pm Confession time at most parishes inconvenient, a tip: there are never the lines at Franciscan Monastery that there are at the Basilica. Breeze in, breeze out, say hello to St. Frank, and you're done.