This upcoming Friday morning I will be making the trek down to the ol’ Cathedral for confession. I’ve made it a point in my life to partake in this sacrament a bit more frequently. I, like everyone else, am a sinner. What’s more is that I’m a habitual sinner engaged in, as Padre Pio would say, “a perpetual struggle against self.” It’s gotten to a point that when I fall short–in what I have done or failed to do–I feel like I’m living in a dirty home. Reconciliation is the remedy, it cleans out the home and keeps me from becoming buried alive. Hoarders pun, sorry. But isn’t that what sin is–“Hoarding” what fails to satisfy, rather than storing up for ourselves treasure in heaven? So the question is… Why is a ‘clean home’ so important in terms of our soul?
1. Laziness leads to bad habits.
Sloth is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Most people are quick to equate sloth with a general sense of laziness. Sloth is, in a way, a form of laziness in that it prevents us from assenting to what is good and holy in our lives. Namely, it keeps us from prayer, the sacraments, and from the Church altogether. It doesn’t keep us from Church in the physical sense as you might expect; sloth often manifests itself in a spiritual boredom or in the business of life that keeps us from a genuine relationship with God. It is when we remove our relationship with Christ and His Church from the top of our priority list that other, lesser things in our life begin to take His place. Sin often begins when our priorities are out of whack…when we start “hoarding” false “treasures” rather than storing up treasure in Heaven. Reconciliation fixes that.
2. A dirty home isn’t hospitable for guests.
I remember, growing up, the number one reason that I needed to clean my room or pick up my toys around the house was due to the imminent arrival of guests. People were about to join us, not just regular people but, family or close friends. When we let our souls become overrun with the junk that comes with our sinful nature, we are essentially removing the possibility of an edifying communal experience with others–including the Divine Guest. Reconciliation fixes that.
3. A dirty home left unattended, will become uninhabitable.
This reminds me of passages from both the Second Letter to the Corinthians and the Letter to the Ephesians when Paul reminds us that we are not to fellowship with what is ungodly (pagan in Ephesians). Reconciliation not only reunites our souls into full communion with the Church it also reunites us into full communion with Christ in the Eucharist. Scripture makes it clear that partaking of the Eucharist is the source and summit of our salvation! It is by that very union that we have life! Like a dirty house that hasn’t been cleaned, we will eventually become uninhabitable for Christ. Reconciliation fixes that.
4. Putting off this necessary ‘cleaning’ will often result in MORE shame, MORE guilt, and MORE seclusion.
I can’t tell you how often my pride has kept me from seeking out reconciliation. Mind you, I was raised on “go directly to God” so brushing it under the rug was a skill of mine. Week after week many Catholics attend mass and do not join their family at the table of the Lord. In many cases, shame alone will keep them from even going forward for a blessing. Pretty soon parishioners are missing Mass and eventually leaving the Church altogether. Reconciliation fixes that.
5. Hoarding aims to cover up a deeper issue.
One of the worst mindsets that we find ourselves in from time to time is that of being unforgivable. So often, because of the habitual sins we seem to confess constantly or the one sin that is just ‘too grave,’ even for God, we avoid our parish priest like the plague. The sins add up and we’re eventually buried alive–spiritually speaking. When we think about the hoarding shows that appear on television we notice that it is not until the subject receives the appropriate amount of counseling that the ‘pile up’ problem tends to resolve itself. Whether it is the same, repeated sin or the time that we just go too far the sin that keeps us from this sacrament is none other than pride. Pride can take on many forms and in this case pride convinces us that our particular variety of sin is a new level of despicable. Forgiveness doesn’t come until after humility. We think to ourselves “I can’t possibly confess this! It’s too much!” Reconciliation fixes that.
So here I go, I will seek out God’s forgiveness. Talk about humbling, I currently have hundreds of reasons going through my mind as to why I should wait, put it off, or not go at all. None of those reasons are good enough. Even though my human nature would keep me occupied with other menial tasks, Christ is calling me. We are all broken. Reconciliation fixes that. Get thee to reconciliation!