Step Five- Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
We are blessed to be Christians. We are especially blessed to be Catholics. Our Mother, the Church, guides us by the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus, who created us and knows our character, set up the Church to meet the needs of our human nature. It is human to hide from God when we do wrong. Most people believe that the opposite of fear is courage. I believe the opposite of fear is truth. “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:21). Our Lord teaches that we need to come out of the darkness. All things have to be held up to the light. In the light, we can not only admit our failings, but examine the reasons we have failed. Why have we thought, felt or acted wrongly? What feelings led to that action? What were our motives? What did this action or wrong thinking affect?
We are so blessed to have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As a child I feared what we called confession. As an adult who had been away from the Church for many years, I spent months driving up to my church, sitting on the front steps and driving away – afraid to go to confession. When the courage hit me and I did enter the sacrament, it was as if a heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Suddenly my heart was light. I walked with a spring in my step. The burden of admitting that I was a flawed human being had brought me into the light and out of the darkness.
It was not a fearful experience at all. It was entering a life of truth and only in that truth could I enter the light of love. Jesus himself gave us the gift of reconciliation in his instructions to his apostles, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19). What a blessing it is to be forgiven! What a joy to live in the true knowledge that God has forgiven us and we are free from the burden of shame and guilt. However, although I didn’t realize it at the time, the sacrament gave me so much more than a new start.
In Part two of the Catholic Catechism, Chapter two, it states, “It must be recalled that . . . this reconciliation with God leads, as it were, to other reconciliations, which repair the other breaches caused by sin. The forgiven penitent is reconciled with himself in his inmost being, where he regains his innermost truth. He is reconciled with his brethren whom he has in some way offended and wounded. He is reconciled with the Church. He is reconciled with all creation.78”
I became, once again, who I truly was. I regained my innermost truth. Wow, what a gift the Lord gave me when He instituted this sacrament. I smile when I see my friends paying thousands of dollars going to therapists to find themselves. I cry when I see the struggle of non-believers as they travel the world to find the ‘truth.’ The truth lies in a small confessional in every Catholic Church across the world. God leads us into the light of truth in such a simple yet profound way. And isn’t that the Way of God. He takes the most complex issue and simplifies it for us. Why, because He loves us. Not only does He forgive our sins in this sacrament, He gives us the grace to overcome our sin patterns. So when you have finished the fourth step, it is time to be freed from the pain of the past. Go to God. Go the church. Go to confession!
Being a Spiritual writer requires that we understand human nature. We can’t create lifelike characters without understanding the soul and spirit of the human being. We can’t write about truth without living in truth ourselves. We are on a journey as a soul, as a writer and as a child of God. Admitting the truth and then living in that truth will lighten the burden we carry on that journey. It will free us to be better writers and to convey the sense of the eternal in our work.
Remember, you are gifted. You have been given a powerful gift. Along with that gift of words you have been given the gift of being a Catholic. Be courageous by being the person and the spiritual writer that God created you to be. I will end with the words of E.E. Cummings, “To be nobody but myself, in a world which is doing its best night and day to make me everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”
Next week let’s talk about being truth to others.
Karen Kelly Boyce is a mother of two and grandmother of two who lives on a farm in N.J. with her retired husband. She and her husband love to camp and take ‘road trips’ around the country. She has published four novels and three children’s books. Her website is www.karenkellyboyce.com