We live in a morally relativist world, where right and wrong is debated, truth is subjective and the idea of “sin” is non-existent, and we wonder why the lineups for confession are non-existant. The dominant philosophy in our culture today, is a life of no boundaries, with many confused individuals, especially young people – who need and desire boundaries and clear cut rules. That is why, when you finally realize there is, indeed, Truth and exactly what that Truth entails, it can be a truly invigorating and amazing experience. You have finally seen the light, the cloud of confusion has been lifted and peace and joy follow – for a time.
After the initial experience of having the lights turned on you are dazzled by the brilliance around you. Then, after your eyes have adjusted to the light, you look around and see the mess. Suddenly, those ideas you had about being a “good person” are thrown out the window. No longer is it good enough that you stay out of jail, and don’t hurt anyone (at least not intentionally). You see yourself on a deeper level and really see that you are a lot messier than you previously thought. You realize that you are, actually, really lazy, that you’re not just a little selfish, but mostly selfish, you gossip way too much and shockingly are quite a negative person.
As great a feeling it was, to initially see the light, it can seem like a real set back, to realize you’re not this great person, that you thought you were. But, if we never did see the light, we would never be able to see how we can improve ourselves and become even better people than even the world expects us to be.
I always wondered why the saints went to confession so much, why they felt the need to go to daily mass, why they prayed so hard to be better people, now I know. Those small things that we sweep under the rug and out of our mind, are some of the hardest sins to rid oneself, because we’ve let them become habits. They are things we have been doing for so long and have ignored for so long, that they are extremely difficult to be rid of. But, now that we have seen the light, those smaller sins become more difficult to ignore. That is why the saints and those seeking to be holy go to frequent confession, try to go to daily mass and have a daily prayer life. They know how hard it is, to clean their souls of any small imperfection.
Today, I’m not confident that enough Catholics have really “seen the light” and in today’s culture, it’s hard to blame them. If we really have seen the light, I think the line ups at the confessional would be much longer than they are. It is unfortunate, that many Catholics feel, that they don’t need to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I think, that is a sign of someone, who is content with staying as is and does not desire to grow in virtue any more than they already have. But when you stop growing you’re dead. Let us, as Catholics, cease to see confession as a negative and embarrassing sacrament and instead, see the line-up at the confessional, not as a line-up of sinners, but of people committed to growth, who have seen the light and are genuinely trying to become, not just good, but holy.