Confession, a.k.a., the Sacrament of Reconciliation, is my next hurdle. I attended a Reconciliation service lastnight at my church. This kind of thing happens once or twice a year I guess. Otherwise, confession is only available an hour before vigil Mass on Saturdays or by appointment. So this was kind of an extraordinary night when you think about it.
We sang a little, prayed a little, had a couple scripture readings & were encouraged to confess our sins. We had the opportunity to choose between our priest & 4 others from the area. They stuck people in alcoves, up behind the altar, in the cry room & what I call the confession closet. It looks like a closet, but its just a room with a partition & a couple chairs. You can confess anonymously or face to face. I only know what the confessional looks like because I took a tour of my church last summer. Lastnight, I stayed in my seat while people got up & waited in various lines. The church bells rang some time later- it was 8pm & I had been sitting there stewing for nearly an hour. I couldn't get up the guts to go in. I watched people instead. Even the kids went to confession. When folks were done, they came back out & threw down a kneeler to pray. It was the strangest thing, but I felt like I "saw" people differently... like I could see their hearts as they knelt alone, with eyes fixed on the crucifix or weeping. I wondered what people would see in me as I sat there heavy & fidgeting.
Sometimes I find myself marveling that people actually believe this stuff & then I think wait! Don't I? What is it about this sacrament- any sacrament- that transforms people? It seems to be an exchange... the old for the new. Do I really want to make that transaction?