I haven´t been to confession in 10 years. It´s not that I refuse to go, it´s just something I never thought too much about.
One of the many events on the World Youth Day schedule included the Festival of Forgiveness, a section set aside in Retiro Park where 200 priests are stationed to hear confession. Since I had been conducting interviews all week in and near the park, I really had no excuse not to go.
Toying with the idea in my head for a few days, when the chance came to ask a priest about certain aspects of confession, I jumped at it.
Fr. Emiel Abalahin, O. Carm answered all my questions and concerns and even admitted that there was a time in his life when he avoided confession for 10 years. While the church advises we go at least once a year, he said once a month is even better.
“We all need a place to witness God´s listening ear,” he said. “We need a place to say what´s on our hearts and weighing us down.”
So, with an open heart I went to confession for the first time in 10 years. I was incredibly nervous, sweating profusely and slightly uncomfortable as I knelt to confess, the sun beating down on me. Admitting your faults is not an easy thing, but I felt immense relief once I did.
As I further explained my spiritual journey to Fr. Emiel, he said to me, “I´m glad you´re moving and not just standing still.”
And, that´s what I hope to continue this week during World Youth Day and even after it has ended.
Originally published on August 20, 2011.