This Sunday marks our first week of Second Sunday Adoration! This year, we’ll have the opportunity to join together on the second Sunday of each month for a Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration accompanied by quiet worship music in the St. Bernard’s sanctuary. There will also be a priest available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).
Not quite sure what to do during Adoration? Here are a few ideas:
- bring a notebook and do some journaling
- say a rosary or a Divine Mercy Chaplet
- do Centering Prayer
- just pray in general
- sit and just be still and silent for awhile (when’s the last time you did that?)
- have a conversation with Jesus
If you’re like me, it can take a few times going to Adoration to feel like you “know” what you’re doing. But really, there’s no way you’re *supposed* to *do* Adoration–it’s simply being in Jesus’ presence, which is a huge privilege and an incredible opportunity.
And if you’re like me, sometimes you sit down at Adoration and it’s like seeing an old friend through a window–there’s just something in the way there.
That’s why there’s also the opportunity for Reconciliation!
What’s that? You haven’t been to Confession in ages? And you feel like you wouldn’t even know what to do?
Well, my friend, you’re in luck!
Confession is such a universally awkward yet universally beneficial Catholic sacrament that there are a ton of resources out there on how to make a good one (“good” meaning you feel the high that accompanies closeness with God afterwards, not some performance quota). Here’s one from a Catholic convert on BustedHalo, here’s a WikiHow page on Confession, and there’s even an app for that. For our part, we present to you 4 Ways to Win at Confession:
1. Just show up. Sometimes the hardest part is getting yourself in the door. Just go. It will be worth it. If it’s been awhile and embarrassment over that is what’s what’s holding you back, don’t worry about it! God (and the priest) will just be happy you’re there!
2. Think about it. The next hardest part is usually doing a good examination of conscience ahead of time. This is because of the simple fact that sitting down and methodically going through every thing you’ve done wrong is exactly zero fun. It’s sitting down to a feast of humble pie and really, who likes that? A few ideas on how to get started:
- Think about how long it’s been since your last confession. Has it been awhile? Is there a reason for that? If you’re anything like me, that one certain sin that you’re particularly embarrassed about has been the exact thing keeping you from going to Reconciliation in the first place.
- Is there anything you’ve done recently that you’d be ashamed to tell your parents or another trusted adult about? Have you kept certain details about your weekends a secret? Secrets are usually a good place to start with an examination of conscience–if you weren’t ashamed of it, you’d be telling people about it. Think on that.
- There are lots of resources full of questions and Scriptural prompts for an examination of conscience. Here’s one from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that includes examinations of conscience for young adults, single people, married people, an examination based on the Ten Commandments, and more.
3. Go for it. Once you’re in the Confessional, take a deep breath and just go for it. Let it all out. Don’t be afraid to feel the shame of what you’re confessing; that means that you’re truly feeling contrite, which is the entire point. Do the penance that the priest suggests and then…
4. Let it go. Most Catholics speak fondly of the “floating on a cloud” feeling they get after Confession, and it’s because we’re commanded to let go of the things to which we’ve confessed. You’ve confessed, you’ve been absolved, accept it and let it go! If you’re holding onto extra guilt, remind yourself that this is why Jesus died–for each of our sins. You’ve been forgiven in that radical act of selfless love. It’s done. You don’t have to hold onto that burden anymore.
After Adoration, we’ll have our usual 7 pm Sunday Evening Mass, where you can enjoy the sublime feeling of receiving Communion with a squeaky clean soul among friends who are doing the same. Winning!