I've thrown myself headlong into your arms-I'm celebrating your rescue. I'm singing at the top of my lungs, I'm so full of answered prayers.
~ Psalm 13:5-6, The Message
It was last September that I finally came to the realization that I wanted to be a part of the Catholic Church for real. I was watching a program with my family about going through the bible in a systematic fashion that made sense. During one of the programs the speaker basically called me out on the carpet—I know, he was in the TV but nonetheless he was talking to me. Was I going to continue to run from my past or finally face it and be set free?
Later that night as I sat alone on the couch, I began to sob. I was finally ready to give it all to God. I was finally ready to come clean. So I began to search for a church in the area that provided daily reconciliation (confession). The closest? Seattle. I thought to myself how the heck I was going to get up there without raising suspicions with my wife. At this point I was more afraid of what I’d have to tell her than I was of God. I was ashamed.
The next day I dropped my daughter off at school, went to the YMCA to work out and then hustled up to Seattle. I had an appointment with my Father. As I was working my way up there it seemed like everyone driving around me was making stupid decisions—the kind that might force me to get into a fender bender. Then as I got into the city I seemed to find every red light and traffic jam. The Enemy knew I had a date with forgiveness.
I made it to the church with 30 minutes to spare. Of course there were about four or five people in front of me. This gave me “plenty” of time to think about what I was doing. Yet I knew this was where I needed to be, this was where I wanted to be. I knew without a doubt that I was going to tell the priest EVERYTHING in my past. I was scared.
As my turn came up I nervously went into the confessional and began. As I shared with the priest my sins, I started to wep. I was really telling him all the evils in my past. I was finally letting all this crap go. I was being set free. The priest listened, gave some words of encouragement and told me to say three Hail Marys before I left the church.
What a feeling! I kid you not, it literally felt like a 500 lbs gorilla had been removed from my back. I finally understood what it was like to truly go to confession. God works through the priest. The priest becomes the voice of God by teaching, comforting and verbally telling me that my sins are gone. It’s one thing to believe your sins are gone; it’s another to hear the voice of God TELL you your sins are gone.
The rest of the day was amazing. All I remember is driving around with this new spirit of hope and faith in the Creator. I shared with my wife what I had done and asked for her forgiveness as well. If you asked her today, my decision to finally let go and let God on that early autumn afternoon has been an answer to years of faithful, on her knees prayer. That day, God gave her back the husband she had prayed for.