Undefeatable joy

One of the things I most looked forward to as part of the Christ Renews His Parish retreat the other weekend was simply the opportunity for a leisurely confession. There are always so many people in line at our parish’s confessional that the priests have little time for extra spiritual direction. For weeks I’d been eager to have the opportunity to chat with a priest at the retreat and get his insights on some things I’d been struggling with. But when the big moment finally came, I was wiped out. It had been a grueling past few... Read More

Status in the sight of God

I went to confession tonight; well, I tried, anyway. It was one of those big pre-Easter sessions where there were hundreds of people and about a dozen priests. By the time I got in one of the lines there were at least 30 people in front of me, and after waiting a while I decided to go home and try again tomorrow. But as I was waiting I looked around the building and noticed something interesting. Since it wasn’t a Mass and took place at the end of the day, most people were in their regular street clothes, which made the cultural and socio-economic... Read More

Lies and Confession: The case of the stolen pacifier

One day last year I was putting grocery bags in the car after an epic store trip, and after I grabbed the last bag something caught my eye in the back of the cart: a $3.75 package of pacifiers. I somehow missed them when I was handing items to the cashier, so we hadn’t paid for them. I had all three kids strapped into the car, they were all overtired and on the brink of major meltdowns, the store was crowded with 10+ minute waits to check out, it was already well past dinner time, and some rumbling thunder indicated that it was about to rain.... Read More


As soon as I hit Publish I’m going to head out to confession. In my long road from atheism to Christianity, one of my favorite memories is when I made my first confession, the Wednesday before Easter of last year. When I think back on it I first remember the ethereal chant music that wafted throughout our beautiful church, and the surprising sense of stillness and peace that pervaded the sanctuary, even though there were more than 500 other people there. I remember marveling at the diversity of the crowd: a man in an expensive business suit... Read More

Confessing my sins to a priest

Terri left a nice comment to my last post in which she asked, among other things, why Catholics confess their sins to priests when we can go directly to Christ. Here’s an explanation, as well as some other good info here and here. Those links provide enough info that I don’t think I need to get into the details myself. What I can offer, as usual, is my experience: The concept of confession was not something I struggled with in the conversion process. When I read up on the reasoning behind it it sounded right, so I moved on to focus on... Read More

A first confession, part II

Click here for Part I One of the things I never understood about Christianity was the concept of accepting people who embraced the religion late in life. It struck me as unfair and hypocritical that someone could have all the fun they want then decide at the last minute that they’re a Christian. When I first started reading Christian authors, this was actually something that nagged at the back of my mind. Not that I would ever fall into this mostly silly belief system, I thought, but if hypothetically I did decide to become a Christian, it... Read More

A first confession, part I

Last night I made my first confession. For those of you who are interested, here was my experience (complete with pictures of our church that I took a few months ago): I tried to go on Tuesday night but by the time I got there they’d closed the line since 500 people had already shown up. I was delighted to be turned away because too many people wanted to participate in the sacrament of confession. Last night I got there a half hour before confessions were scheduled to start and there were already about 40 people waiting. I’m sure the... Read More