Sunday, January 11, 2009

Horoscopes and Confession

One of the greatest aids to a good spiritual life is a good confessor. I can't count how many times I have gone to confession and received a feel-good, general dose of spiritual advice that would apply to just about anybody. It was kind of like reading a horoscope - not that any good Catholic would read a horoscope, since that would be a sin against the first commandment. We all know that this commandment forbids idolatry, which is offering a creature or object the supreme worship that belongs to God alone; or ascribing to a creature or thing any of the attributes that belong to God alone. The first commandment also forbids sins of superstition and sacrilege, as well as sins against faith, hope & charity. Which is why Catholics don't read horoscopes.

Anyway, back to my story. A good confessor is hard to find, and I have finally found one. This priest is the assistant pastor at my church, and his confession line ups are long. We have two priests; the one who is not saying Mass sits in the confessional hearing confessions right up until Communion time, then he goes to the Sanctuary to help distribute Holy Communion to the faithful. (It never ceases to amaze me at how quickly two priests can distribute Holy Communion to a full church without the aid of lay people masquerading as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion).

God has most certainly given this young priest a great gift; the gift of being a good confessor and the gift of counsel. Today I learned from him the reason God allows us to have memory flashes of serious sins we committed in our youth that have already been confessed and forgiven. It is not to make us scrupulous and to invoke despair over our unworthiness. It is to humble us. We are to use these memories as a reminder of how God pulled us up out of our state of sin and welcomed us back into His grace. We are to forever be humbled at His goodness in calling such a wretched sinner to a state of repentance. The devil will use these sins as leverage against us in any way he can, especially when we are on our deathbeds, and he is tempting us to despair over past sins. That is when we are to say to the devil, "It has been confessed. I am forgiven."

Now, isn't that better than a horoscope?


Adrienne said...

Waaaay better!

Shirley said...

Thanks for this post. I talked to my priest in confession about this a couple of weeks ago, and didn't really get any clarification. This is something I have been wondering about for some time, and have been trying hard to avoid being scrupulous about. Your confessor puts it very clearly! Tell him thanks from me!

Smiley said...

Nice to have a good holy priest who sits in for confession. As you pay attention you will notice that the priests who are good confessors also are much better at the celebration of the Eucharist. There is a direct correlation between the two.

Marilena said...

i don't waste my time on horoscopes (newspaper ones and so on) i think people who believe in astrology are wasting their time with it. better to turn to Jesus Christ, because He is our only hope!