Society Magazine

"... for the First Time in a Long Time, It Felt Like Home"

Posted on the 11 October 2013 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

Thanks to Pope Francis, Renée Schafer Horton did something she's not done in 10 years:

To be clear, I haven't been totally absent from the sacrament of reconciliation, but my primary experience in the past many years has been communal penance services. These liturgies can be moving and are certainly efficient and convenient for all involved. They can be less intimidating for people who PopeFrancisConfessionalhave not received the sacrament in a while, so I understand why they are offered.

Yet I never felt quite complete after a penance service. It was like something essential was missing, but I couldn't tell you want. Perhaps it was due to the cattle-call sensation of the whole thing. Hundreds of people with a half-dozen priests at a service that starts at 7:30 p.m. on a school night. Folks are in a hurry even if their best intention is to not be. And I'm not certain contrition can be rushed.

But in my life, regular confessional offerings -- the late Saturday afternoon type -- were inconvenient. Like many Catholics, I preferred my faith practice fit around the rest of my life, not the other way around. Until Saturday. Saturday, I arranged the rest of my life around a sacrament. And I'm telling you, it was good.


Thus, I found myself standing in a very short line outside a confessional reflecting on the traditional formula for a "good confession": Make it clear, concise, contrite and complete. I've failed on the "complete" part more often than I care to admit, and concise has never been my strong suit. But I was determined, and I knew in a way I haven't known in a very long time that even though this action would be difficult (it is so much easier to avoid facing our dark side than speak it out loud), it would be worth it. And it was. On both counts.


He [Pope Francis] lives a life so obviously influenced by Jesus that one cannot remain unaffected. It is almost as though, if you listen close enough, you can hear him say, without uttering a word, "Try this again; it will lead you to Jesus."

This weekend, I did try it again, walking into a dimly lit confessional, getting on my knees and saying, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned." And for the first time in a long time, it felt like home.

That's beautiful.

If you're being touched in some way by this Pope, leave it in the comments.  I'd love to hear about it.

With props and kudos to Deacon Greg.

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