Forgiveness Day 8 // The Fruits of Confession

Images by Beautiful Light Photography

Images by Beautiful Light Photography

John 21:15-19

Let’s take a look at a person who committed a sin that some people still haven’t forgiven. He betrayed Jesus around the hour of his death, abandoned Jesus even when he swore up and down that he would always be there for his Savior. In spite of the fact that he betrayed Christ, though, he still became a great leader. In fact, he becomes the head of the Church.

Yep, Saint Peter had an experience with confession, just as every other sinner who came to Jesus. The denial he made during that night that Jesus was put on trial was forgiven when Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me?” three times.

This particular passage is a favorite of my friend Kristin who converted to the Catholic Church  recently. I asked her to share the story of her first Confession as she was preparing to be received into the Catholic Church on Easter Vigil. She’s also a fan of shows about vampires like me and the way she describes the fallen state of our souls is just perfect:

We are born vampires due to original sin.  Like vampires, we are driven into the black night of our sins and transgressions, subconsciously terrified of being burned alive by the pure light of Christ. Like vampires, we’re driven away from pain and toward hedonistic pleasure, largely propelled by the forces of fear, anger, hate, lust, and greed. We live entirely for ourselves and see others only as a source of food for us—emotional affirmation, physical pleasure, and social recognition—and we’d best eat them before we’re consumed ourselves. We drive our greedy jaws into others without a thought, a care, or a twinge of remorse, and suck them dry, all in a desire to quench our endless thirst, our never ending desire to fill the emptiness within ourselves with something.

In the midst of all this, the deep terribleness of the human heart, Christ the Slayer wants to kill our vampiric selves and ensoul us, which He does so well through the Sacraments. He calls us out of the darkness, and He watches us as we pathetically stagger out from the shadows, crouching, cringing away from the Light.

I spent my first Confession, sitting in very comfortable chair in a cheery, bright, well-lit office, feeling with every fiber of my being that I was about to go up in smoke as I rattled off my list of sins before the priest. And go up in smoke, my ego did. I stumbled around, slowly realizing for the first time the depths of what I’ve done to Christ and Christ in others. My scarred heart, rife with manipulation, greed, carelessness, and selfishness, was laid bare before me in the harsh light , no longer fancied up by the clever illumination of the night.

The priest gave me my penance, a single Our Father, and instructed me to meditate on the mercy of God. Not only did I meditate, I was sucker-punched by this overwhelming Divine Mercy toward me.  The emptiness inside of me was filled with the infinite waters that gushed from His Sacred Heart. It’ll be a lifelong process of torching my ego, repairing my heart, and fighting for my soul. I know that even after I am received into the Church, I’ll be in Confession again and again. 

But I embrace the Cross which burns away my sins, and ask “Can we rest?”

As Saint Augustine said, our hearts are restless until they rest in Christ. When we learn to forgive ourselves, we enter into the light and find our rest in His arms.

Saint Peter and Saint Augustine, pray for us.

Reflections

1.Which part of my friend’s testimony did you relate to the most? When did you act like a “vampire” towards someone?

2.How has Divine Mercy impacted your life?

Action: Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and intercede for the “spiritual vampires” in your life.