I think I write this post (or a very similar one) every time I go to confession. I am not proud to admit that I haven't been in 6 months. I know that's more than some people go, but I've found that I do better when I go every month. Only, for the last couple of years, I've been pretty sporadic about it.
Today I finally made it. I was in and out in about 2 minutes. Really. I walked out of the confessional and looked around feeling slightly dazed. Did that just happen? That fast? Is it even real? I was so thrown off by how fast it went, I hardly knew how I made it through my act of contrition, and I barely heard the words of absolution (but I did hear them, and they were beautiful as always).
Here I've been thinking of my need to go for several months. I spent time thinking about what I needed to say, and then I was out practically before I went in. As someone that's used to a little spiritual direction in confession (yes, I was a spoiled little brat at my parish back in the Midwest), I barely know what to do with such a quick confession.
But let me tell you something.
It. Is. Real.
I am 20 pounds lighter, I swear.
I love that the sacraments do not depend on us having a picture perfect experience. I love that we don't need to feel anything special. For confession, we only need to be sorry for our sins on some level (even if it's not for the perfect reasons), then we need to tell them as honestly as we remember, and that's it. No matter what we feel or if we feel anything at all, it's real.
I love that the Mass is like that, too. There have been times where the only consolation that I felt was in Mass, and I couldn't wait to run to be there. And there have been times that the worst desolation that I've felt has been in Mass. There are times were I soak in every words and (unfortunately far more) times where I barely hear a word said. I have been to long, beautiful, reverent Masses with all the smells and bells and beauty, and other times where I have been to bare bones Masses where even the priest didn't seem to be interested.
It doesn't matter.
It's still the Mass. Whether I feel good or bad, whether I'm paying attention or not, He is there just the same. Whether the priest is reverent or seems to be going through the motions, He is there. If, someday (God willing), I have small children and don't hear a single word of Mass because I'm just trying to keep them halfway corralled or I have to take them out, He's still there, the Mass is still the Mass, and there's still grace by the very effort and fact of being there. As long as I want to be there for even a little bit of a good reason, He will come running and meet me there, whether I feel like that happened or not.
The sacraments are real, and He will meet me through them wherever I happen to be spiritually, emotionally, geographically, or any other kind of place.
I love that about being Catholic!
(And as a small side note, I really need to remember not to try to "dance" in my car. Just because there's some good music and I'm goofy happy from the sacraments, does not mean that I need to do that to my fellow drivers. They probably thought I was having convulsions!)