I went to confession today. I confessed everything. I confessed my entire life. I confessed everything because I knew that my very first confession being invalid, I was going to forever worry that every other confession I’ve ever made is invalid, and I knew the only way I could possibly be perfectly at peace would be by re-confessing everything at once in a valid church. Before I confessed I told the priest precisely that, that even though my last confession had technically been a couple months ago, I was going to make a complete confession of my entire life.
It was a very long list. I typed it all up and brought it with me because I knew that I was going to forget an awful lot in my nerves. So while I was in confession I more or less just read off my list like a robot…I was so nervous (as always). I confessed some absolutely awful things for the second time, and I was so nervous reading them that I feel like I just kind of shut down and didn’t even want to think about the words coming out of my mouth. I did say them, every word…but I almost feel like I cheated, I took the easy way out by just reading off my list without thinking about some of what I was saying. I don’t know whether or not that is wrong or could have done anything to invalidate the confession.
In addition, looking back on my entire life, I remembered this one thing. When I was very very little, my mother was kind of like a wanna-be Wiccan, and me and my sister performed spells with her a couple times. As a naive, poorly catechized child, I saw nothing wrong with this, and I don’t know if I ever bothered to confess it. You see I don’t know whether I withheld this sin in the confessional. I did confess this particular sin today, but I didn’t mention anything about the possibility of having withheld sins.
Afterwards, when I thought of this, I wrote it off because first of all, I might have confessed it (even though the confession was invalid because it was SSPX, if I did mention it in my first confession it would mean I did not do anything intentionally wrong) and second of all, if I didn’t, it was probably because I was never even taught that Wiccanism was wrong. I don’t remember much at all about my first confession/communion preperation classes, but I do know that I tried to make a good confession as well as a 7-year-old can, so whether or not I mentioned it would have (hopefully) been entirely dependent on how certain I was that such a thing was actually sin. Then again I don’t actually know, because I wasn’t really clear on the whole idea of don’t-withhold-sins until I was about 12 so I don’t even know what happened in that first confession. But also, I don’t remember if I ever confessed it even after I learned about don’t-withhold sins, and if I did it was probably a very general sort of “I did non-Catholic spiritual things”. I don’t know whether or not I am guilty of this sin, you see.
Ok so finally for penance. I know that absolution isn’t necessarily dependent on penance, but I guess I might as well mention it. So he told me to go and take five minutes to just give thanks to God. I don’t remember whether he said to give thanks to God for life or just give thanks to God in general. So I went to a pew and I prayed for about five minutes, and I just kind of prayed about being generally grateful (including, of course, for the gift of life), thinking about the way God changed my life since becoming Catholic and thanking Him for bringing me to the faith, remembering some of the darker times and thanking Him for helping me through, talking about how sorry I was for the times I was ungrateful and didn’t think like this, ect. So it was just kind of five minutes of being generally grateful not really that specific. I hope this suffices…well enough? I don’t know.