The Sacrament of Reconciliation
We've been talking about the Sacrament of Reconcilation for two weeks now in RCIA. We've answered just about all the questions I had, and we answered a whole bunch more that I didn't know I had. I am very much looking forward to taking advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. After the first one, of course. I'm scared silly of my first confession. Deacon L. gave us a cheat sheet pamphlet, but I'm still scared.
I'm looking forward to not having to worry constantly, Did I repent enough? When I prayed to God, did he truly forgive me, or should I pray for forgiveness some more?
When I was Mormon, the concept of repentace was rather fuzzy. I could repent for the small stuff, like drinking a glass of tea. But if I had a big ol' sin (like having sex with my boyfriend before marriage), I'd have to go to the Bishop, the leader of the ward, which is like a parish - a regional designation of parishoners. There was no set punishment for set sins. I knew some girls who would get disfellowshipped for "heavy petting" with their boyfriends, others who would have sex with their boyfriends but would seem very repentant would not have any penalties at all. Excommunication was mostly for either some kind of apostacy, breaking the law (like stealing or going to jail for drugs), adultery or other sexual sins by people who were endowed, or other serious sins.
It was up to each individual person to decide their own worthiness to take the Sacrament. If a person felt that their sin was grievous enough, they will go to the Bishop and confess. The repentance process when it got to the level of Bishop was pretty serious. There could be multiple follow-up meetings to make sure the sin was not being committed again. It was up to the discression of the Leadership as to how long the disfellowshipment or excommunication would last.
It seems almost unfathomable to me that I can go up and talk to a representative of Christ on earth and walk out with my sins forgiven. I know that some kind of form of pennance is required, like prayer or something like that. But it's still such a beautiful concept.
Asking for forgiveness of sins in prayer now is kind of weird. I know that I sort of have a "get out of jail free" card because I am getting baptized in two months. Then again, I am also trying to become very aware of when I sin, so that when I am baptized, I can be aware of what needs to be confessed. This is like a trial period for me, a practice run if you will, to learn how to find sin and be able to confess it.
It's an odd concept to feel like I'll be kind of saving my sins up. I have to keep it in a little mental Sin Journal, until I can give the page to the Priest, as it were, in confession. And then the page will go away. How amazing is that??
All I know is that I'm glad that Mormon baptisms don't count and I have to be rebaptized because I am really looking forward to having 34 years of sin washed away.