Total Bewilderment!


#1

Dear brethren,

I feel like I’ve been slapped in the face. I am totally bewildered.

I went to confession today with my usual confessor. I was trembling at the thought of having to confess my sexual sins to him, and when I entered the confessional it was really hard to confess and I felt so unsure about everything. I confessed my sexual sin, my failure to pray, or to live as a Christian.

And so, in response, my confessor said that “some people are addicted not so much to the sin, but to the drama of it.” He then pointed out how these “some people” have heavy breathing, crying, etc. During my confession I was breathing heavily, because it was a hard confession. And then it’s like he just tore me apart. He implied I was “putting on a show” that God could see through. He said that I am playing with God by my actions, and that God sees through that. He noted my failure to seek God, and he said that the obvious result of that is sin…and per his words “wallowing in sin.”

His main point was that I need to get off the fence. If I wanted to leave Christianity…fine, so be it. But if I wanted to be a Christian it meant total dedication “to the shedding of blood.” IOW, get off the fence.

I was submissive and just said: “Yes, Father.”

I think I was still in a state of semi-shock as I received absolution. And when I got back to my pew I just sat there. I did my penance, and I promised Christ I would serve Him totally…but right now, I feel truly dead inside, like my whole world just got shattered (again).

There is an aspect of the drama of sin that compels me. I will admit that. I did enjoy that moment when Christ came to get me after my apostasy. I share my struggles on the forums, and I can admit this is probably out of a desire for attention or a cry for help.

But my confessor’s words made totally doubt everything in my Christian life. I mean, it makes me wonder if all of the past two years were just a drama I was playing. All the emotional moments, first Communion, Confirmation, all the burden-lifting confessions, etc. what if they were all just me playing with God?

I admit to you that I feel stiring of anger against my confessor, but I try to beat those down or put them out of my mind. I feel sick and ashamed.

As I left the pew (which I sat in for about an hour just in shock), when I bowed to genuflect, I felt no desire whatsoever to honor God. I just half-hazardly made the Signum Crucis and genuflected and started my way out. When I got home, I saw the Rosary tied around my hand, and with a feeling of disgust, I tore it from my wrist and stuffed it in my pocket.

I don’t think I have said but two words audibly since today’s confession.

Honestly, I feel like just saying: “Well, if it was all just a ‘game’, why not just go somewhere else.” I actually thought about just giving up (again) and going East into Orthodoxy.

I feel stiring of actual hate towards my confessor, and that scares me becuase hate is a mortal sin…that knowledge leads me into a feeling of hopelessness.

You know, it’s almost funny, I kept telling myself “It is Jesus to whom you are confessing” in order to calm myself down, and I feel like my Merciful Heavenly Father just slapped me in the face saying: “Shape up, or ship out!”

I don’t know whether to think that my confessor really was relating to me the words of Jesus, or what. I must admit, there is a part of me that does delight in the emotional drama of sin, but…well, I really don’t know.

I mean, was what I experienced today the real Jesus? Were the past powerful incidents of my “encounters” with Him nothing more than an emotional drama role-playing?

Honestly, brethren, if the Jesus I faced today in the Liturgy of Confession is the real Jesus, then I am not as certain that I want to serve Him. I know that sound stupid and childish, but I do feel it.

I just want to drug myself and sleep away the rest of the day. I know that’s self-abuse, but that’s how I feel. I just want to run away and hide like a little embarrased kid.

And you know, if what I am doing now is “wallowing in sin and self-pity”, well then maybe I like self-pity.

I used to think that I might be destined to become another Tertullian, now it looks pretty close, IMO.

God Help me! God Forgive Me!

-Anthony John


#2

Another Thought:

It wasn’t like my confessor was some total bad guy in all this. He did say that God was calling me to Himself (in fact his exact words were: “Today God is calling you to Himself.” and I know my confessor is right when he says that I need to fight the temptations to the teeth if I truly want to follow Christ. And after he gave me absolution, he did make a point to tell me: “Your sins are forgiven” (something he usually doesn’t say).

Maybe, I am just being the idiot in all this. Maybe I just didn’t like hearing the truth, and so I reacted like a typical adolescent: I got angry and I felt the hurt of wounded pride?


#3

Perhaps you need to stress less over confession, and go MORE OFTEN… more frequent confession reduces the sense of drama.


#4

Well, I usually go once a week! And my confessor gets visibly unsettled if I request a confession outside usual Saturday Confession hours.

I mean, if I could go to confession once a day, you can bet I would be taking that up.


#5

That seems to be a very revealing statement. Did you ever think that your confessor was perhaps right???


#6

Actually yes. Like I said, I am probably just making a big deal out of this.

Maybe he is right. I guess the truth hurts more than we think.

BTW, why do think that was a revealing statement…I am not sure what you mean, although I do agree my confessor is probably right.


#7

I would be upset if that happened to me as well. Probably not to the extent of wanting to leave the Church, but I would definitley be upset. I have become very emotional in confession before, and it is nothing that I can help. I’ve cried, had a very shaky voice, deep breathing etc. It was nothing I could control as I’m sure you couldn’t either. Please don’t see this as a reason to leave the Church. You are in my prayers.


#8

I didn’t mean that I am really, seriously considering leaving the Church. I attempted to do that about a week ago, and Christ wouldn’t leave me alone and eventually He just “crushed” me.

It’s just Eastern Orthodoxy, along with the whispers of returning to my Pagan past, are in the background. No doubt they are of Satan offering an “alternative.” (Not to imply EO is satanic, God forbid!)

Again, I am probably just showing my spiritual immaturity.


#9

It is hard for me to comment on your post as I don’t know you or your confessor. I don’t know how many times you have confessed this sin in the past. I do have a colleague who kept confessing the same sexual sin and even went to other confessors and in the end his usual confessor refused him absolution as he felt this colleague wasn’t making an effort, and the collegue agreed he wasn’t.

Maybe your confessor felt it time to try a bit of hardball.

I remember once my mum getting all upset with one confessor, she felt he told her off. I know my mother, she likes to get a reaction from people, so I am not surprised someone maybe did a bit of hardball with her. Also she is a drama queen at times and it might not have been that the confessor said anything out of the ordinary, it could have been my mother, like many people, doesn’t like hearing the truth. However she said when she went back to this priest for confession on another occasion, he was really ok, so it could have also been the confessor might have been having a bit of a bad day at the time.

I don’t know you, only you know yourself and God and your confessor knows you better then us. What you have done is brilliant in that you have done some self reflection. You haven’t put it all on your confessor, you have pondered his words and you have done some thinking on whether some of the problem lies with yourself.

I’ve experienced Satan influence me to think some priests are stupid, rude and I’ve seen Satan influence my mother like this too. So sometimes we have to try and have a think why are we feeling like this? you have done some of that. We also have to give people a chance. Maybe next time you go back to confession you might find your confessor different, or you might take the opportunity to say you felt this way after your last confession and could you have a moment to find out where the confessor was coming from. A lot of the time we get all huffed up, our feelings get hurt, we hate criticism and we huff and puff without all the facts on the table to reflect on.

I am not accusing your of anything or making any assumptions about you or your confessor.

My mother likes to live in self pity as this way she doesn’t have to make an effort to move forward with Christ. I am not saying you are like my mother, but I am saying that self pity isn’t something we should be allowing to stagnate us. I’ve had self pity to the point every second week I found an excuse via self pity to not move forward and not go to Church and it took a lot of humbling to see maybe a lot of the problem was with me, my perception, my fear to move forward, my ignorance, my assumptions, and my inability to see how darkness and sin wants to keep hold of me and thus used many types of self sabataging emotions to hold me back. Again I am not assuming you have self pity, but self reflection means be willing to put many things on the table, and that is are my feelings justified, have I all the facts, does some of the problem lie with myself, is it darkness that is trying to hold me back, am I scared to move forward, am I making enough effort to stop my sinful behaviour etc.

Sexual sin is a hard one. I’ve struggled with it myself and still do. But in order for me to move forward I really had to do some self reflection and humbling and listening. I had to be prepared to listen to the advice of others, see Confession as something that does assist me, but at the same time be prepared to make more of an effort between Confessions.

If in fact there does lie a problem with your Confesser, then at least attempt to discuss it with him to clarify some of your feelings and if you feel this Confessor is not the one for you, find another. But don’t Confessor hop. A lot of people do this with Confessors, counsellours and similar because they cannot stand hearing the truth. The truth does often hurt. And darkness hates the truth, so darkness can have a habit of manipulating your thinking and taking your away from self reflection and moving forward.

Pray for strength to combat your sins, we all have to. None of us can do this without help from the Lord.

God Bless,


#10

Dear brethren,

I think I have let rashness get the better of me.

I have rehashed this situation over and over again. I have thought it through several different ways and I think I am reaching a little bit of light (thanks to some of the advice I got here).

Okay, here we go.

I want to first stress that this light is coming from the Lord, God know’s I couldn’t have been still long enough to really think this through.

After the initial emotional storm, I started to really ask myself: “What did my confessor say that wasn’t true?”

I couldn’t find anything.

And now I can see clearly how much of a toddler I really am.

You know, I probably needed that kind of kick in the pants. My confessor saw something that I don’t think I had the humility to admit:

I really haven’t been trying and dedicating myself as I should (and can).

I am really embarrased now that the emotions have calmed down. I started to take a close look at what I said and what I was feeling…not to mention the situation itself.

My confessor is one of my foremost spiritual fathers and he was wise when he told me to stop playing games. Because in the end, I think I have been to some extent, especially in failing to seek Him in prayer and study, and the presumptive attitude I had when I continued to go deeper into sexual sin.

It does take our utmost to be a disciple of Christ, and I should have known that. “Can I ‘give up’?” Sure I can. But I know what that would cost me.

It’s odd now. With this last confession, I think I am beginning to see three things:

  1. Jesus sometimes tells us things that we don’t want to hear. I could sit here and cite many examples of His “hard sayings.” Yes, my Jesus is loving, but I am beginning to realize that sometimes He “kicks us” into hitting the plow and not looking back.

  2. My confessor cares about my spiritual well-being. The things I confessed to my confessor were quite sinful and very offensive to God…not to mention things I have repeatedly confessed. I think when my confessor saw that, he knew that I needed to hear the Truth, and He didn’t hesitate to tell me.

  3. He knew it hurt. I can tell this looking back. He would stop after making a point and ask: “Do you understand this?” Or he would say: “God is calling you to Himself today!” And he did something he hardly ever does:

He told me “Your sins are forgiven.” He knew that the Truth was going the hurt, but he told me anyway.

Of course what do I do? I recoil and puff myself up. :rolleyes:

In the end, I think my confessor is absolutely right. The sins I often find myself in are deadly, and they can destroy my soul.

I need to take up my cross…and fight temptation “to the shedding of blood.”

Forgive my pride, forgive the simple fact of this bothersome OP.

I still have a lot of growing to do, although I hate to admit it.

Maybe one-day, when/if I am a priest (which I am considering as a vocation), I will see the need to give some “tough love”, and I will think of my confessor.

To quote Padme in Episode II of StarWars:

“All mentors have a way of seeing more faults then we would like…it’s the only way we grow.”

Again, I’m sorry for the outburst.


#11

You do not have to apologise for your outburst. Many times I find the truth or a clearer path after I have put something down in writing.

People here are happy to listen and offer some advice and help if they can.

Part of the discernment process is self reflection, healing and the ability to obtain humility.

I think what is happening to you is quite normal. Nothing better then a humble priest. Humility leads to wisdom and greater intimacy and understanding of oneself and the Lord.

We all often act like children at times. Sometimes me becoming like a child, tantrums and sulking and all, gave me the opportunity to learn better and grow in maturity in areas I lacked.

The path to removing sin and to God is not always easy, but it gives us an opportunity to humble ourselves, and be a witness to others via our struggles and how we got through it. Keep aiming for your vocation. God will lead you, guide you and nurture you as you are willing to continue to move forward.

I like priests who can relate to struggles because they have been there. I like priests who can self reflect and have a humility level that gives them wisdom to assist us. I would rather see someone like you become a priest, should that be God’s wish for you, then someone who has little experience of life’s struggles, temptations and has not had enough time to become humble.

You are doing fine, keep heading forward.


#12

My brother, there is nothing for us to forgive. We are all here to pick us up when we are down, give advice when necessary, and encourage at all times. You have reflected and realized that your confessor was right, and now you are a little more mature.
May God Bless your vocation abundantly.


#13

Consider also trying another priest for confession sometimes, if this is the only one you’ve been to. You may discern a difference, maybe another will seem more like God’s will for you. Saints sometimes changed confessors, so its not a bad thing. If there are monks near you, that might be a good place to try, as well as anotehr parish.

Some priest I know are always happy to do confessions at an off-time, and they are often the especially holy ones.


#14

Antonius,

You sound a bit like me. Make me mad to make me think. Make me think to move me forward. Move me forward and I find the right way.

I hope that made sense.


#15

If your outburst helped you work through it, great. Hopefully, it will also help others. I know the feeling.:thumbsup:


#16

I need a confessor like yours! It is so easy to dramatize our faith but not so easy to put it into perfect practice because we have it so easy in this modern world. The earliest penitents would have very austere and hard penances. Perhaps if the Church did that today we would be more careful. Or perhaps there would no longer be a shortage of priests because spoiled people do not like to do hard things. I am pretty much spoiled myself.


#17

Confession should be a judgement of mercy not condemnation. The confessor should discern whether there is at least minimal sorrow for sins committed (you definitely possess sorrow over your sins otherwise you wouldn’t have been confessing in the first place) and then respond with mercy and forgiveness taking into account the frailty of human nature. It seems he gave you a very flippant, judgemental and self-righteous ultimatum to either sin no more or not come back to confession. That was inappropriately harsh and uncharitable of him! What you need to try to do is find another confessor who will be kind and fair in his counsel. Obviously the one you are going to is acting irresponsibly as a confessor and you are understandably angered by his irresponsibility. Don’t despair. You just need to find a more acceptable confessor.


#18

Back up the boat a minute here…the confessor said you are playing games which God can see through…then he says your sins are forgiven,doesn’t sound like game playing…if your confessor truly believed you were gaming then his duty would be not to abslove your sins…and no you aren’t sitting on the fence why?what are you doing recieving the sacrement of reconcillation…i have and continue to fight against simular sins,i have felt that i am not really being a christian,your confessor errored in what he was saying to you…for a lark go to him a tell him you are leaving the church because you aren’t really a christian:eek: because he said you weren’t…


#19

Please take this in the way it is intended - with a charitable heart.

It appears that you’ve had an epiphany and I think that is awesome. Perhaps, just to cement the whole realization, you might want to re-read your initial post. The priest made harsh statements but, IMO, much of what he said is reflected in that first post you made. It was VERY dramatic. I understand being upset, but it seems a disproportionate response to the actual situation. And, as we know, when we have inappropriate responses like this:

I don’t think I have said but two words audibly since today’s confession.

I feel stiring of actual hate towards my confessor, and that scares me becuase hate is a mortal sin…that knowledge leads me into a feeling of hopelessness.

I just want to drug myself and sleep away the rest of the day.

it usually means a measure of truth exists in the statements.

You know, it’s almost funny, I kept telling myself “It is Jesus to whom you are confessing” in order to calm myself down, and I feel like my Merciful Heavenly Father just slapped me in the face saying: “Shape up, or ship out!”

I don’t know whether to think that my confessor really was relating to me the words of Jesus, or what. I must admit, there is a part of me that does delight in the emotional drama of sin, but…well, I really don’t know.

I mean, was what I experienced today the real Jesus? Were the past powerful incidents of my “encounters” with Him nothing more than an emotional drama role-playing?

Honestly, brethren, if the Jesus I faced today in the Liturgy of Confession is the real Jesus, then I am not as certain that I want to serve Him. I know that sound stupid and childish, but I do feel it.

The part of confession that is the real Jesus is the absolution, not necessarily what the priest advises. Jesus is in there forgiving you and that is really all that matters.


#20

Er… I have to disagree with this a bit. While this should always hold true at the beginning, sometimes there comes a point when confessors have to tell the hard truth. Padre Pio, for example, was known to be quite blunt at times. In the case at hand, since we don’t know the history of the OP’s relationship with his/her confessor, we can’t really say this definitively…


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