Something very controversial (at least for Protestants) about Catholicism is the sacrament of Confession. I’ve heard people say “Why do I have to confess to a Priest? God forgives me for my sins.” Putting that ethical debate aside, I do think there is something cleansing about verbalizing your sins to a spiritual guide. I read something that so succinctly put it into perspective for me – “Daily examination of Conscience keeps us humble. We are all tempted to concentrate on the sins of others while letting ourselves off the hook. If every night we remind ourselves of our own sins, we will be more patient with the sins of others.”
Those were powerful words for me. Here I’ve been requesting for humility, and alas, it starts with accepting and acknowledging my own flaws. (I know that the sacrament of confession and the practice of examining conscience are technically two different things, but for me, the two go hand in hand.) As a friend told me – sin is sin. Sin wears many masks, but ultimately, the glamour of evil is one vice, and one vice only – distance from God. Grave sin or not, we all succumb. Let me stress an important word in that last part – ALL.
There is no use in beating myself for my sins, I rarely intentionally sin to better my life. I say rarely because I know there have been times that I have distanced myself from God for what I thought was a better choice for me. (It’s never worked.) The point being, an examination of Conscience isn’t supposed to be “I screwed up here, I made a mistake there, and I suck as a person.” My examination of Conscience is “I screwed up here, I made a mistake there, and I realize I am human. I can’t do this alone and I need a higher power.”
So…Reconciliation, do I have to? Yes, *I* have to. Because I desperately need to maintain humility. Because I can’t do it alone. Because I am no better or worse than anyone else, and I have submitted to sin, just like everyone else.