Friday, January 6, 2017

Quiet Faith: Reconciliation


It's the start of a new year. A new year means all things are new, bright and clean. Reconciliation is like the start of a new year and is an act of quiet faith. To be completely honest, the quiet faith required for Reconciliation is terrifying to me. I am so grateful for this wonderful Sacrament but I am overwhelmed with the immensity of the act of complete forgiveness that leaves your hear and soul quiet so that it is prepared to hear God speak. 

I am a cradle Catholic and when I was growing up we went to Reconciliation very consistently. My father would bring my entire family to our local parish every first Saturday of the month. We would wait in the line outside the confessional and just wait. There was no talking. There was only silence. I remember realizing this quietness at a young age, before I was old enough to participate in the Sacrament, and thinking it was odd. Church was a quiet and reverent place but this silence was different than anything I have ever experienced.

I would watch people come and go from the Confessional. Some were quick, others took a very long time; Some parishioners left smiling and others left in tears. My mother was one of those who often left in tears. Seeing all these grown people that I admired, loved and looked up to in such an emotional state after leaving the confessional had a huge impact on me. Those were my first memories of Reconciliation. After that, I remember attending my Catechism classes to receive my first Reconciliation and being so terrified of the confessional. I was petrified of admitting all the not so nice things I had done, said and thought throughout my short 7 years of life. I had convinced myself that I must be the most horrible person in the world.

The day that I received my First Reconciliation was a life changing experience for me. I actually cried while I waited to go into the confessional and when it was my turn all I remember is opening the door and hearing silence. As I entered the confessional, I completed my blessing and even (with a huge burst of courage) decided to sit in front of the priest versus behind the screen. As I began speaking to start my confession, I again started crying. I apologized to the priest expressing that I was so scared that God would hate me for admitting all the sins I had committed, especially the ones I committed on purpose.

I will never forget the priest, Fr. Grotchen, who took my hand and smiled at me. He explained that the entire purpose of Confession was to reconnect with God. He listened to me pour my little heart out and many many tears. He told me that I should never be afraid to speak to God because God is always longing for me to return to him just like the story of the Prodigal son. He told me that when I did my penance to be calm and quiet and God would wash away all my sadness and restore me to grace. I was shocked when he told em to be "calm and quiet". It has always stuck with me.

Since my First Reconciliation I have been to MANY confessionals and I have had an abundance of sins to confess but I will always remember that the quiet that I was once so afraid of, is nothing but God's way of connecting to me in my heart and cleansing my soul. You have to embrace the Quiet to feel God speak to you.


Truth be told, I am still scared of Reconciliation and I have made it one of my resolutions to embrace this Quiet Faith and attend it more often. It is even more important now because my oldest son has received his First Reconciliation and loves it. I don't want him to lose that love for the Sacrament that makes us new again. I am so proud of the gentleman he is growing into and the love he has for his faith.

Oddly enough, I decided to pick a saint at random to learn about and pray for spiritual guidance throughout this year. I drew the name Saint Jan Sarkander, the martyr of the confessional. I'll share more on this amazing saint later. I know God is asking me to come to him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and I know that he gave me this saint to help me find him where I am most fearful to go.... into the Quiet, because I feel unworthy. Where do you find the quiet in your faith? Is it a struggle like it is for me?

This is my post for The Zelie Group’s new link-up, “Getting To Know Us”. We invite you to write a blog post (or two!) or post on social media about what “Quiet” means to you during the month of January. Link up and use the hashtags #thezeliegroup, #tzg_quiet and #tzg_gettingtoknowus to connect with us. 


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4 comments:

  1. Such a great reminder - of the daunting approach to the Confessional, but how there can be comfort in the silence, especially after Confession!

    Great post, and great reminder of the hewing power of Reconciliation.

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  2. I look forward to hearing about your saint this year. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

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