Sunday, September 20, 2009
The First Confession for the Little Flower
In Chapter Two - St. Therese comments about her joy at confession - "What a wonderful memory I have of it!....I made my confession like a big girl and received his (Fr. Ducelier) blessing with great devotion, for you had told me that, at that moment, the tears of Jesus would cleanse my soul....I left the confessional happier and more lighthearted that I'd ever been before. After that I went to confession on every big feast day, and every time I went it was a real feast for me."
Her comment reminded me of an experience my own house. This past year, my 8 yr. old son received his First Confession. I prepared him as I had the previous children - we fulfilled the requirements of our parish and off we went as a family to celebrate this wonderful sacrament.
Seeing our children heading into the confessional can be a source of dread for us as parents' can't it? We wonder both how they will do but what they will say about us! What will Fr. now know about our family and ourselves from the honesty and innocence of our children? But you are also are concerned that you prepared your child well; after all we are not Pauline who prepared her younger sister.
I watched nervously as he walked in and then smiled with joy as he walked out - he with even a bigger smile! He slid up to me, gave me a hug, kneeled to say his penance and then gave me another hug! As he did so he whispered in my ear - "Mom, you forgot to tell me something!" My smile fell from my face, my heart dropped in my chest and I wondered what I could have missed, after all I'd done this 7 times before!! I turned to look at him and asked, "What did I forget??!"
He smiled and whispered, "You forgot to tell me how good I'd feel!"
Remember that! Both my Henry and St. Therese know that confession does 'feel' good. And there is nothing wrong with that! Allow our kids to get into feeling how good it is to talk to Jesus. Make it a committed part of your family schedules. While St. Therese made use of big feast days perhaps we might make it more frequently - as our kids are probably not a St. Therese and perhaps could use more regular opportunities for both the peace that confession brings and the grace it affords them.
Some families I know plan it once a month and finish off with a pizza party at home afterwards or a trip out for ice cream. Making it a reliable routine is one of the key building blocks for them to enter into their teens and adult lives.
And - don't think you're off the hook - you need to go as well surely as frequently as your children but probably (if you are like me) more often!!
Let Jesus' tears wash you clean and set you on the path again!!