October 1, 2014

Confession, Interrupted [ACNM]

[This is my first post for Austin Catholic New Media.]

The Catholic sacrament of reconciliation evokes a wild ride of emotions. Waiting in a long line outside the confessional feels like a roller coaster slowly creeping up a steep incline. You’re nervous and perhaps a little scared about what’s about to happen. But suddenly when you’re absolved of your sins you get that exhilarating rush of joy and grace, like the roller coaster speeding down the other side of the hill.

But what happens if the roller coaster gets stuck at the top and never makes it to the other side? Read on.

One Monday while I was at work I felt an urgent need to go to confession. I’d been meaning to go for a while, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. My home parish offers this sacrament on Thursday and Saturday afternoons. But the cathedral has confession each weekday from 11 a.m. to noon, and it’s only a few miles from work.


So I ducked out of the office for an early lunch break and found a parking space a few blocks away from the cathedral. I’d been there before for confession; sometimes I’ve encountered a long line, and other times I’ve walked right in. The good news is, they always seem to have two priests hearing confession.

Now, the bad news. When I walked into the cathedral, there was a sign near the confession booths that said because there was only one priest available that week, he’d have to stop hearing confessions at 11:55 a.m. to prepare for midday Mass.

It was 11:30 a.m., and there were more than a dozen people ahead of me in line. I thought, "Oh no! I’ll never make it." But like a roller coaster, the speed of a confession line is often unpredictable. Some people are in and out in a flash, while others settle in for the long haul.

[To read the rest of this post, please click over to Austin Catholic New Media.]


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