Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Come Into the Light

I had so many experiences this weekend at Youth 2000 and all of them were beneficial in some way. One sticks out in my mind most though. During the retreat we have small group discussion with people in our age groups. We generally discuss the talk that was just given and then get to discuss whatever else it is that we feel compelled to discuss. During the second meeting time for my group, we lost our group leader. Brother Augustino was awesome during our first discussion but I think we had an even more intimate discussion without him the second time. Was it the lack of a 'celebrity' that did it? Probably.

One of the guys in our group, who was a chaperone for a group at the retreat, took charge. He led us straight into the topic of confession and penance. He shared his own small testimony about this great sacrament and then opened it up for us to discuss. One girl in our group spoke up quite regularly, and I'm glad she did. She told us about her background. Her dad is a strict southern Baptist and her mom is Catholic. Aside from her and her mom, everyone else is a protestant in her immediate and extended family. After years of influence, she had decided to convert to the Baptist faith. Shortly before she made her conversion, she went on retreat (that her mom made her go to) and decided that she wouldn't go through with it. She liked being Catholic once she understood it more. One thing though that she struggled with was confession. She explained the protestant influences on her way of thinking and basically said that she didn't need a priest to say sorry to God.

Almost everyone in our group was ready to offer their suggestions. It was nice to have her peers there so she felt more comfortable. She was so honest and open about her doubts and concerns. It was awesome. The one guy who was our leader, however, told the best story of conversion and gave an awesome analogy. He said something like this:
The relation between ourselves, our sin, God, and His infinite mercy is like getting dressed in the dark. If we are in the dark and we put on some clothes, chances are we aren't going to see any stains. However, if you walk more into the light you do see stains - the obvious ones, the big ones. The closer you get to the light, the more stains you see.

When we do not go to confession we often do not recognize our sins as well, or we find excuses for them. We are less likely to change our behavior if we do not go, mostly because we do not truly understand the gravity of our decisions. However, if we go to confession on a regular basis it becomes easier to see our imperfections and to truly repent and change our ways.
I thought this was an awesome analogy. What person, with any sense, sees a stain on their clothes and does not try to remove it? Who tries to follow in the darkness so that they can keep their stain? Any self-respecting person is going to try to rid themselves of imperfections. I've already forgotten who said it (I believe it was a priest on EWTN) but I always laugh when I think of it. It definitely goes along with that anaology. It was something like:
Hearing nuns confess is like being stoned to death with popcorn.
Too funny! Honestly, I believe we should all be like this. We should all strive to correct our mistakes and grow in holiness. The closer we get to Jesus, the whiter the light we stand in becomes. Therefore, we are more aware of our inner disposition and of our state of sin. Going to confession regularly helps this as well.

I was so happy after the discussion was over and the girl thanked us all for helping her to understand more fully. She admitted that it would take time to get to where some were but that everyone had their own journey. She is definitely already on her way! I saw her later that day in the line for confession. My heart lept for joy.

Until next time... God bless you and Mary protect you! Be holy!


Blogger Julie D. said...

Laura, thanks for sharing that ... what a fantastic analogy also. It's going in my quote journal for sure!

I think that quote is by Fulton Sheen who was the past master of the sound byte and was always right on target.

4/25/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger onionboy said...

I'm reading Sheen today - A Priest's Life Is Not His Own. But man "Hearing nuns confess is like being stoned to death with popcorn." is too funny and a future indexcardart piece for sure.

4/25/2006 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

"Hearing nuns confess is like being stoned with popcorn."

God help us all to be so aware of sin our confessions resemble the above.

Excuse me...I have to go throw boulders at my confessor....

Great post!

4/27/2006 08:41:00 PM  

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