About a week ago I had the opportunity to go to reconciliation. That night, I was lying in bed falling slowly into dreamland, and thinking about something I read in Jason Evert’s book about Saint John Paul II:
Each year on Good Friday, the Holy Father walked over to Saint Peter’s Basilica and sat inside one of the confessionals. His assistants then randomly chose pilgrims from the other confession lines, asking them if they’d like to have him hear their confession. Some were ecstatic to accept the invitation, while others declined. He made a habit of doing this every Good Friday, except for the last, the week before his death. (Saint John Paul The Great: His Five Loves, 189)
How incredible would that have been! I thought. Confession with JPII!
I then began thinking–dreaming, really– about exactly what that would be like. How my disposition would likely be so different from just another Saturday morning confession at my local parish. How, often even now, when I go to reconciliation I find myself fighting the urge to phrase my confession is such a way that makes me appear to “have it together” the most. Yet, I couldn’t help but think it would be so different were I given the chance to have someone like Saint John Paul the Great or Pope Francis hear my confession. How I’d likely relish the opportunity to just pour my very soul out to them—with all my struggles and all my doubts and just really lay it out on the line.
But of course— this is what every reconciliation out to be. Because as awesome as confession with a saint would be, ultimately we go to confession to meet Jesus Himself. I realized in my dream-like state that in my longing for such a meaningful experience of confession what I was truly longing for was reconciliation with Christ. Like the woman who meets Jesus at the well, I longed to just be able to just be in His presence and just be real with Him. My confession would be so different, I thought, if it were Jesus in that confessional.
But it is!
So I went to confession again this week. And this time, my heart was more disposed to meet Jesus there. I have to say, it made all the difference.