Saying you are sorry…to God

I say I am sorry a lot….because  I tend to mess things up a lot.

But , during Lent last year, I had my first opportunity to  make my first sacramental Confession at the altar  to the ears of a priest. Making one’s first Confession is not  required for Confimation  in TEC, but having done it myself, I would recommend any new Episcopalian to talk with his or her priest about making this very sacred  rite.

Ok, I admit that I was totally uncertain about this whole  idea of making a sacramental confession. Yet the true-blue Anglo-Catholic I am, I felt drawn to make at least one Confession before I was confirmed into TEC. I’d been recommended a great book on  Confession in The Episcopal Church called _Reconcilliantion_ by Martin L Smith. This is a very user-friendly guide to preparing one’s soul & mind to make one’s first Confession. This book, as well as talking with the priest with whom one plans to make a first Confession,  is very helpful in de-mystifying the notion of a reconciliation. I’d come from a Protestant background where  confessions are done only in the context of corporate worship. Nothing wrong with that at all…we Anglicans also have a Confession during our corporate worship  every Sunday. But, having been to my first reconciliation, I cannot tell you how  cleansing  it was & totally drove home to me the point of God’s all-loving & forgiving nature. 

The hardest part for me in prepping for my first Confession was figuring out what was a ” sin” in the eyes of my Church.  Since I had never made a Confession, I had over 30 years of  life to sift through & it was not easy nor fun. It helped to write things down, as Martin suggested in his book_ Reconcilliation_ so that is what I did. After I made my first Confession, I burned the list of sins & also found the act of burning the lists of sins to be symbolic.

Our Book of Common Prayer has two forms of the reconciliation.  I am told it is the priest & the penitent’s decision as to which form to use, but for my first Confession I used Form One for the reconciliation.  It worked for me.

I made my first Confession during Lent, as this is generally a time in the Church year  for reflection & penance. This works & I intend to keep this spiritual discipline of having one Confession every Lenten season. Episcopalians/Anglicans have a saying with regards to reconciliation” All May. Some should. None Must”. This makes * perfect * sense to me, as  reconciliation is a very personal matter.

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