Need direction, prayers and advice


#1

Good evening. I've been reading posts from this site for quite some time now and with all of your help, hopefully have grown spiritually. But I must now ask for your help and advice.

I was born and baptized Catholic, as an infant. Fell from the faith at a young age and only in the last year have I begun to respond to God's call. I've lived a very sinful life, with a great number of my sins being sexual.

I am now in RCIA, seeking to be confirmed and allowed to receive the Eucharist. I long for this.

This is my dilemma: my sins throughout my life were done in a state of ignorance. I don't feel this excuses me (I still intend on sharing all of them in my first confession), but I don't believe I committed them KNOWING they were sins...

But since coming to the faith, since learning what the Church teaches about masturbation, I have masturbated. I hate it. I want to stop and have tried, but continue to fall into sin. I now feel that I have TRULY sinned because I knew it was a sin yet did it anyway...

My priest has said to wait until near-Easter to go to confession. I trust him, but am afraid of dying or something happening to me while I wait to confess within the sacrament of reconciliation. Please understand, I want to confess so much, I'm ready for it. I'm ready to have this weight off my shoulders and to finally be in a state of grace. I am trying to stop masturbating for good, but find myself falling into temptation...

Can you, brothers and sisters, please offer some advice for me? Is my priest correct in telling me to wait? I don't want to be presumptuous of God's mercy, trusting to be kept until I may confess.


#2

Since you are already a baptized Catholic, I don’t see any real reason you have to wait until (near) Easter to go to Confession. Easter Vigil is the best time for catechumens to be baptized, but you have already been baptized and seem to understand the purpose of Confession. Perhaps when your priest told you to wait he forgot that you are already a baptized Catholic.

Remind him that you are already Catholic, and let him know how important this is to you.

It probably won’t come to this, but if you are desperate, Canon Law is on your side:

Can. 843 §1. Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.

Another option if your priest is still unwilling is to find another priest who is willing to hear your confession:

Can. 991 Every member of the Christian faithful is free to confess sins to a legitimately approved confessor of his or her choice, even to one of another rite.

(“Another rite” means another one of the churches in union with Rome. For example, if you are Roman Catholic, you can confess to a Byzantine Catholic priest, a Melkite Catholic priest, etc.)


#3

It sounds like masturbation – especially when done for a long time with no qualms of conscience – has become a habit for you, and while that is not an excuse, it probably mitigates some of the guilt incurred. PLEASE read paragraph 2352 of the Catechism, especially near the end of that paragraph.

My advice is to do what you can to keep from those “occasions of sin,” and pray hard. Perhaps consider fasting here and there as a way to offer penance while training your body in self-control at the same time. If you fall, pick yourself up again and get to confession. Over time it will hopefully become less frequent and even go away as a temptation in your life.

Never give up! You may want to consider Philothea’s advice, although the priest probably feels an obligation to ensure that you are properly instructed first.


#4

God bless you for your courage and sincerity.
Having reclaimed you He will not allow you to fall away.
He knows your weaknesses and strengths. He knows you, and will give the graces needed to save and heal you.

In case you don't have a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, here is a link

scborromeo.org/ccc/para/2352.htm

For a more complete understanding

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm


#5

I must admit I find it odd that the priest told you to wait to Easter because that is a long time away. I know that priest are very busy and most churches near my home have a weekly time (usually before mass) where you can wait in line and confess.

One suggestion I can make is perhaps finding out if there is a confession time at another church and going to that one.

I believe there is such a thing as 'the desire to confess' and if you die before Easter without having found a priest who was willing to hear you out, God will know the desire is in your heart and the confession will have be considered to have taken place. But, since chances are you will still be alive try and go as soon as possible.

I think you show great responsibility towards you actions when you say you knew it was a sin and did it any way. My only concern is as follows. After you do confess and the priest absolves your sins, will you be able to forgive yourself? I think the tendency to commit sexual sins are greater then we realize because even today they are very difficult to admit too and I doubt few of the people who commit them let anyone know. (whether or not they go to confession.) Also, we live in a society that uses sex to sell. There are so many advertisements that play on our urges and even cars are being called 'sexy' (give me a break). I think it is a sin that will take a lot of time to stop doing. Keep praying and keep your good attitude and God will take care of the rest

CM


#6

[quote="cmscms, post:5, topic:181632"]
I must admit I find it odd that the priest told you to wait to Easter because that is a long time away. I know that priest are very busy and most churches near my home have a weekly time (usually before mass) where you can wait in line and confess.

[/quote]

The OP said he is in RCIA and is preparing to complete his sacraments of initiation. Usually First Reconciliation is done in close proximity to First Communion and Confirmation. Usually, also, there is preparation for First Reconciliation -- help with an examination of conscience and the format used for the sacrament.


#7

Hi SuscipeMedomine ! Thanks for clearing that up. I was not aware of the procedure


#8

That’s exactly it. I don’t want to screw up the process…


#9

If you were baptized in the Catholic church then you are Catholic, you have a right to the sacraments, and you don’t need to be in RCIA. The priest cannot refuse to hear your confession. Your conscience is calling out to you, something that the priest should honor,encourage, and guide. This sounds like a classic RCIA horror story.


#10

I can’t really comment on the RCIA and Confessions situation as I am not really familiar on the proper procedures.

But I do understand what you are going through. Masturbation is something i have struggled with for many years. After numerous attempts to stop and occasions of falling back into sin, I feel I am starting to break out of it. What has really helped for me is that a friend of mine and I have become accountability partners with regards to this issue.

What we mean by accountability partners is this, we each have the other person to pray for us and to confide in. We have each agreed to tell the other when we have fallen into this sin. My friend even has the ability to just ask me out of the blue if I’ve done it. This relationship has helped both of us, as we both are holding ourselves more accountable.

I have been told in the past that this shouldn’t be necessary, that it should be enough that it is a sin. But I know in my case that it was such a part of my life, almost an everyday routine, that it was so hard to break out of. I find it so hard sometimes to keep myself accountable when it is just God, because God is not someone that I physically see. Having a person who I have to be responsible to has helped me immensely.

I would recommend that you can find someone like that in your life. I know this subject is so difficult to talk about, but take courage in the fact that you are not the only one who struggles with this. Try and find someone you can confide in. Perhaps it may be your RCIA sponsor. Perhaps it is someone else in the program. It may be someone else entirely.

Either way, I’m praying for you. I hope that God really blesses you as you prepare to receive the Eucharist for the first time on Easter. What an amazing day that will be!


#11

God bless you, I am sending a prayer…

Kathrin


#12

Welcome Home and Peace be with You! I’m sure your priest has his reasons for wanting you to wait for your first confession and you should trust him. It is UNREPENTANT MORTAL SIN that you need to worry about, if you should die before you are able to get to confession; you have repented from your sin, but still need to confess it. The mercy of God has no limits, it will be worth the wait!


#13

This is what I’m thinking, too. Perhaps he wants the person to wait to receive instructions in the Sacrament of Reconciliation before making his First Confession. (If he has already made his First Confession, he should let the priest know that, as well.)


#14

Might I also point out that by your own words here, it is a sort of confession. Not one you receive absolution from, but a form of confession none the less. Sometimes simply talking about it, helps.

BTW, don’t feel alone in your walk! Ever! I, myself, was baptized at age 9, confession, the works, done by 13. confirmation, etc I walked away from the Church for years after I hit age 16, and discovered sex. I did however return, once God got his 2x4 out and I ended up facing a 20 year prison sentence. It wakes you up fast, and makes you acknowledge how stubborn you can be I am glad you are on your walk back into the faith, and continue to have trust in your priest. I am sure he knows what to do, or at least we all hope. :slight_smile:


#15

"Trust the priest?" Read what the OP said:

[quote="prodigalson89, post:1, topic:181632"]
...I was born and baptized Catholic... only in the last year have I begun to respond to God's call. I've lived a very sinful life... I want to stop... and have tried, but continue to fall into sin. I now feel that I have TRULY sinned because I knew it was a sin yet did it anyway...

My priest has said to wait until near-Easter to go to confession. I trust him, but am afraid of dying or something happening to me while I wait to confess within the sacrament of reconciliation. Please understand, I want to confess so much, I'm ready for it. I'm ready to have this weight off my shoulders and to finally be in a state of grace. I am trying to stop ... but find myself falling into temptation...

[/quote]

What priest could in good conscience refuse to hear the confesssion? I do trust the priest, but I think the OP should tell his priest what he told us, just as plainly as he told us, and help the priest see that he is a soul in distress WHO HAS A RIGHT TO THE SACRAMENT.

The OP is not asking to be reassured on an anonymous chat board that he will be forgiven because he has repented in his heart. As the OP says, he is "ready to have this weight off my shoulders and to finally be in a state of grace."

Isn't that the point that all of us have reached when we go to confession with a serious matter on our conscience? How would we like if we were told, don't worry about it, just wait until the Easter vigil!

Some things won't wait. And remember, this man is not a catechumen, he is a MEMBER OF THE CHURCH.

OP, show this message to the priest and tell him that your brother in Christ says


Father, have compassion for this man and offer him God's mercy --or send him to a confessor who will. ***


#16

As you say, we’re anonymous people who are not involved in the OP’s spiritual life. On the other hand, his priest and his RCIA team ARE involved in his life. Rather than expressing anger, why not trust the people God has given him to guide him into the Church?

One thing to keep in mind is that people don’t just willy nilly receive the sacraments. They are prepared first, then they receive them. Let his RCIA team prepare him so he can be ready for confession and communion, not to mention confirmation.

Perhaps he’s ready now, but that’s not our call to make.


#17

Angry? No. Perhaps a bit frustrated that the “RCIA team” is not able to understand the words the man is plainly saying. The OP is repentant and wants to be sacramentally absolved. What further “preparation” is required? How exactly would it be “willy-nilly” for this man to enter the confessional and repeat to the priest – to Jesus – exactly what he has told us? And does willy-nillyness somehow invalidate the sacrament?

I do not share your view that God has sent the “RCIA team” to guide this man. I believe that God has called priests to administer God’s mercy to those who seek it through the sacrament of Penance.

When repentant sinners approached Our Lord, did he refer them to the RCIA team? Did he tell them that their repentance constituted indequate “preparation?” Did he tell them to wait until the Easter vigil? No, he said, “Your faith has saved you; now go and sin no more.”

Amen.


#18

Bravo!


#19

Yes, people should just initiate themselves into the Church, according to their own feelings of readiness, without waiting to complete the discernment process. To heck with the priest and the Bishop; what do they know about being Catholic? :rolleyes:

:shrug:

I’m aware that it’s frustrating to wait, at the time.

However, I have never heard of anyone who completed the RCIA process who, after it was over, regretted taking the time to complete it, without rushing through it. Most people, after initiation, actually lament that the process was too short, and that there were so many important things that they never had time to learn, or never absorbed, because there was so much being given to them, at the same time.

On the other hand, I know lots of people who rushed the process and insisted on being initiated early, who quit the Church before they reached their second Christmas.


#20

I’m not suggesting that the original poster should quit RCIA. You made that leap. I’m just saying, since they are ALREADY CATHOLIC, and clearly indicate an understanding of the nature of sin and the efficacy of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that that Sacrament should not be unduly delayed.

Seven-year-old children are allowed (and required) to go to Confession. An adult who is a baptized Catholic, who demonstrates a deep desire for the Sacrament, an understanding of sin, and contrition is certainly as “prepared” as that seven-year-old child.

The Easter Vigil is the appropriate time for baptism of CATECHUMENS (those never baptized), and sometimes for full reception of CANDIDATES (those baptized in other Christian denominations). It is not necessary for a baptized Catholic to wait until Easter to receive the sacraments (s)he is lacking.

Your statement “Yes, people should just initiate themselves into the Church,” dripping with sarcasm, is off-base. Confession is not even a Sacrament of Initiation; it is a Sacrament of Healing.

You mention “discernment process.” We are not talking about someone desiring Baptism, nor someone considering a religious vocation. We’re talking about CONFESSION. The only discernment I see necessary is to discern whether the person is a baptized Catholic (YES), has reached the age of reason (YES), acknowledges their sinfulness (YES), understands the nature of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (apparently YES), and has been given a brief “how-to” on celebrating the Sacrament (this can be done simply in a matter of minutes).

The full RCIA process is not a one-size-fits-all answer to all those seeking sacraments in the Catholic Church. Sometimes it is treated that way.


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