By Allan Gillis
Sin… then contrition, confession, absolution and penance. This seems to be the cycle as it were. I have written about this dynamic before. It is always before us. We sin and we are ipso facto separated from God. Its that simple.
in Habakkuk 1:13, we read where the prophet reminds himself about God’s dis-inclination toward gazing upon “sin”: “Thy eyes are too pure to behold evil, and thou canst not look on iniquity”. I believe this is exactly what Jesus himself was aware of as he languished on the cross crying out; “My God, My God! Why hast Thou forsaken me?!”
I had a very real sense of this bitter anguish recently. This eerie sense that I not only was separated from God… but that I had (almost physically) removed myself….intentionally stepped out from under His wing… purposefully exited His presence. It was rather jolting…certainly frightening.
Here’s what happened and I ask your indulgence as I am going to be rather candid.
It has been several weeks since my last confession. Getting out on my boat is often of paramount importance to me as these seasonal sailing days seem to be so fleeting – especially as I grow older. Tempus fugit! So, I have missed a couple of Saturday afternoons at the local Novus Ordo parish where I often go for confession. (I HATE the N.O. “snowflake” term; “reconciliation”!) I have from time to time availed myself of the wondrous services of the Franciscans intown Boston during the weekdays at St. Anthony’s. (Such a service to the faithful! God bless them!) I often tell myself: “oh, I’ll just take care of confession on Saturday or just prior to Mass”. Not always reliable. I am awash in the stinking cesspool-waters of pride. I could go regularly to my very good friend and spiritual-director. He’s the most wonderful priest I have ever known. But, I am often too proud to reveal how utterly reprobate I am in my heart of hearts. I am too haughty to ever have Father Fagioli know just what a dirt-bag I really am. Not that he’s ever said or done anything that would invite me to ever forget that he’s a priest and I’m a layman. I spend friendly and very enjoyable hours with him at meals and discussions…while afraid of what others might think of me – I fail to secure a good confession with him regularly.
I don’t want him to know what a creep I am. Pride is such a trap.
So, circumstances didn’t allow me to get to confession. I then compounded my sin by dilly-dallying this past Sunday… knowing I had to get to Foxboro by early afternoon to “tailgate BBQ” at Gillette’s Stadium for the Roma vs. Juventus (Serie A) Italian soccer match. I skipped Mass.
Yeah, a mortal sin.
Driving down to Foxboro I was gripped by this aweful sensation that I had intentionally vacated Almighty God’s protection of Graces. Compounding my sin…
I am aware of my failings. I can even admit it here to you readers – but, can I personally overcome this prideful propensity to care too much about what people think of me? … to the detriment of my eternal soul?
Despite what Satan often whispers to me – I am not a fraud. I am simply a man intermittently – sometimes gingerly, often-times reluctantly – trying to pick up my cross and follow Him.
Here’s the kicker: I haven’t even bothered to do my daily prayer regimen since then – all this week… insolence? laziness? I now have this “feeling” that I must somehow – body-slam myself, crash through this wall of sinful impudence. I must get to confession. I will go.
To be quite honest with you – just writing this is making me cry.
Say a quick prayer for me?