This is the second in a series of testimonies about our Lenten confession campaign, The Light Is ON.
For most of us, the mention of confession stirs up great fear, especially if you haven’t been for a while. Confession involves telling someone your dark secrets, the ones you haven’t told to anyone. You’ve convinced yourself that no one will understand, that the sin is unforgiveable and you are not worthy of God’s mercy…
This is how I felt going to confession after my abortion. I was terrified. What if the priest does not give me absolution? Guilty as charged.
The one thing I knew for sure was that I had to go to confession. It was the last possible solution that could help bring me out of darkness. I had nothing to lose except the darkness.
So one day, the plan was to go to a penance service, try to identify a priest who would be nice to me, and get this over with. As I sat in the church, I had a great desire to leave and never come back, but I could not move. There was nowhere else to go.
Eventually, I gathered my courage, and was able to walk to the confessional and go in. There, I found a priest waiting for me; a priest who listened to me through my tears, talked to me, comforted me, who was compassionate and understanding. The best part? I received absolution and was consequentially able to receive Communion.
Something must have clicked that night. Before I knew it, I was going to confession more and more. The frequency of my visits didn’t hit me at first. Here was a place where I could lay my burdens down, receive counsel, encouragement and peace. I had never understood the graces that one receives by frequent confession and Holy Communion. Now it was all clear: A whole new world opened up to me. I began to participate more in the Mass. I received a desire to pray, to listen, to learn, to improve and to never give up.
Sometime after this pivotal confession, I heard the Gospel of the Prodigal Son. The words burned in my heart, for I realized I was the prodigal. Over the past few years, I’ve begun to understand more and more that I’m still the prodigal returning, again and again. But now I see and understand that the best part of the story is the father’s mercy; a mercy which is so abundant, so loving, so available and freely given. He waits for each one of us to return and will always greet us with open arms, love and much mercy.
By returning to the sacraments, my transformation process had only started. I learned to forgive myself. I learned that God had truly forgiven me for He “will forgive their iniquity and no longer remember their sin” (Jer 31:34).
Please join us tonight for a monthly Holy Hour at 7:30 p.m. at the St. Mary of Sorrow Historic Church in Fairfax Station to intercede for more women and men to receive the grace of confession. If you would like a confidential referral to a compassionate priest, please contact the Project Rachel helpline at 888-456-HOPE or (703) 841-2504.