On Friday we finished off our 3 day lenten retreat. Full silence, 3 days, with conferences thrown in, no classes, and nothing until 9am; it was glorious. Very rejuvenating and makes you really feel great about starting this lenten year off right.
I don’t want focus on the retreat so much as I want to talk about the speaker and what he had to say to us. I think it’s something that is a good reminder to those of us who aren’t in seminary. His name is Fr. Don Shane, he is a priest of the Arch-Diocese of Omaha, 2 different religious orders and now back as a diocesan priest. He was our retreat master for the 3 days, and he had lot to say about diocesan priesthood.
We are humans he said, and no matter what we do, nothing in this world will be able to change that. Humans have pains, problems, and joys. Memories we want to hold on to and still others that we wish we could forget. One of the things he says that we have to look forward to in our faith, and one thing that attracted him to be a priest, is the sacrament of reconciliation. A time when we as humans go before the lord, in the form of the priest, and give ourselves wholeheartedly and broken.
Through these broken pieces and through the priest in the confessional the Lord works in mysterious ways. How great is it that in one singular instance we can go as a dejected person, one who is so full of sin we think we may bust a seam, one who hasn’t gone since the first time they went, and in a short period of time be free of those things we’ve been carrying around. The power of the confessional is real ladies and gentlemen.
Fr. Shane goes on to say that the number one name the Devil is given is that of Accuser. Why you might ask do we so often call him that, and it is because of the sacrament of reconciliation. We may go before the Lord and confess these sins and be absolved from them by the Priest, but the devil isn’t done working yet. He tells us that “we are still bad person for what we have done, all of those sins and yet we still have the courage to go on with our lives, how can we a broken and bad person even pretend to be happy while we know that we have done wrong.” That is the devil speaking, him or one of his minions, that is him trying to tally that Jesus doesn’t love you, when in fact the Lord says the exact opposite. Jesus says “I love you, I want be with you, Invite me into your life and let me live with you.”
The devil tricks us, he makes what is bad look good, and makes the good look bad. We do not need that in our lives. As a friend of mine here says: “I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life!” He’s right; we’re already human. Humans make mistakes and humans, no matter what, will never cease to be human. To finish off tis posting, I’ll leave you with a little thing over sin, think about it. I pray in the end you’ll seek out the confessional.
Sin is like a cup of water that we hold. In the first 5 minutes it’s easy enough to hold on to. After about 15 min we may need to switch hands so our other hand can have a break. After an hour, that cup of water is slowly getting heavier. Even though no water has been added or taken away, that single cup after a day, feels like it is the weight of the world. Such is sin. In the beginning it is no problem to tuck away and be rid of, but after awhile of holding on to it it becomes heavier and heavier until we can’t bear it any longer.