Lastnight was the one week anniversary of my becoming a Catholic. Today I'll attend my 1st entire Mass as such. I find myself taking inventory- have I committed any grave sins since my last confession?
I noticed that I'm more aware of my temptations now & the thought of having to go to confession seems to steer me clear of "grave" sin. I don't fear guilt or shame about the threat of confession. Its a place of grace where I can be reconciled to God & HEAR the words of absolution... but I do find my fear of God increases when temptation stares me down. The threat of confession reminds me that I'm part of something bigger than me, that I am not my own & my loyalties are pledged to God. Its also made me realize that I'm not quite as horrible as I thought I was. Since grave sins must be committed with full knowledge & consent, many things, I find, aren't actually instigated by me! I am merely faced with the choice to pursue or back up. The threat of confession helps me turn around & walk away. Of course I'm not perfect & I can tally up plenty of venial sins, but those won't keep me from partaking at the Lord's table as long as I repent.
I have to admit, as I find myself on the other side of the Vigil, I've been looking at the things I'm meant to believe as a Catholic. I've known these things all along, but part of me bristles at the idea that one unconfessed sin can send me to hell or that there are different shades of sin (some of which can be brought to God alone & some of which need the sacrament of confession to absolve)... Still, I can't deny that the threat of confession alone helps keep me vigilant, aware, proactive.