I will continue to say this again and again. I am PROUD to be a Catholic. I LOVE being a Catholic.
But...I am not a very good one at times...
Confession is one of those sacraments that some Catholics, like me, have not fully appreciated until they realize how bad they needed it. Father Alex Steinmiller has been a guest priest at our Church for most of this week (promoting the mission of spreading the word of God's love through the Passion), and last night was the Penance Mass. I knew I needed to do this...
Side note: My confession... I have not been since...a few days before our wedding. That was a bit over 4 1/2 years ago. I would say I'm overdue, wouldn't you?
I know that many of my/our friends/family are not Catholic and do not quite understand this whole thing. Back to Fr. Steinmiller... he asked/answered the question why many Catholics no longer go... Why do we need to tell a priest what we did wrong? Why can't we just tell God in our prayers? You can still do that, yes... But, going back to a looooong time ago, Jesus has disciples...they were his followers, his students. They wanted to learn how to become like their great teacher. Today, we have priests - they are acting as Christ, just as the disciples. So, when you are going to confession, you aren't telling your priest all your sins...you are telling God. And, what really helped me was the next part that Fr. Steinmiller said, not only are well telling God how sorry we are but we are also telling the people that we may have hurt that we are sorry, too, or that we finally have let go or the anger, or whatever it is that you needed to tell someone but weren't able to do so for whatever reason.
Anyway, I went to the Penance Mass last night. There were 8 priests and a lot of people. I was nervous, too. But, with all that Fr. Steinmiller had said, I calmed down a bit...
This is where this is going get difficult. Those of you who read the blog always see the happiness and love and such within our family. We are very happy. We love each member very much, even our furbaby, Max. But, the past 8 months have been a very rocky road. Are you counting backwards yet? Yes, that puts us at April...when Alex was born. Alex is wonderful and he is amazing! And seeing Andy and Alex growing up and becoming best friends day by day...there are no words. I just love it.
However, there were MANY things that I should have done much differently. That WE should have done differently. WE as in Jason and I. Until Andy started going to Growing with God, there were days when I just didn't see the point of going to Mass. Recently, as we were getting Christmas decorations up, I didn't even feel like doing any of it. Not good feeling to have during the Christmas season, I know... But there was so much pain and seemingly unanswered prayers, that I didn't know what to do about anything anymore.
1. I couldn't breastfeed Alex
2. There was a tornado that, thankfully, didn't destroy our home, but left me feeling helpless to others (since I was allowed to due to just having a baby via c-section)
3. Unnecessary/unappreciated stress from others
4. I felt like we were making Andy grow up too fast
5. I felt like I couldn't do the same things I did with Alex that I did with Andy
The list goes on much longer...
I am on antidepressants, too. Did I mention that? Probably not. Like I've told my closest friends, I cannot talk about Alex's birth - how sad is that? That is probably why there are only pictures instead of words. Probably why I got Jason to post them instead of me. Who knows?
Finally I finish my confession. And never have I ever left confession in tears. But they were tears of happiness, I think (it's been a while so I'm not sure...). They weren't sad tears, I know. I felt better after talking to my priest. Telling him everything. Pouring it out. Realizing what it was that I was trying to find again.
I was told to say 1 Our Father as my penance. I remember, maybe about a month ago, that our priest said that every time we pray the Our Father, God hears us immediately. Yes, He always listens, but with this prayer He knows that were are much need of His help ASAP. I was also told to read Corinthians 13 when I got home. He also told me that God wants us to be happy. He enjoys our smiles and our laughter.
I did both. This morning, I woke up happier than I have been in a long time.
**Linking up with A Life-Size Catholic Blog**