Andy buys me a tablet for my birthday, and soon I discover what apps are all about. I wonder if there are any Catholic apps and start looking.

“I’ve found an app for confession,” I tell my husband.

“You can confess your sins online?” he asks, not really believing anyone can.

“No! You use the app to examine your conscience. You still have to go to confession.” I think about it and add, “I guess you could take your tablet or phone into the confessional to remind you what sins to confess.”

I usually write a list of my sins. I know some priests don’t like this idea because lists can be lost and found by someone else, who might read them. But if I don’t have a list, my mind instantly goes blank, as soon as my knees hit the kneeler.

But recently, I’ve had a problem with my list. In the dim light of the confessional, my old-middle-aged eyes can’t make out the words. I have an idea: If I had an app on my back-lit tablet, all my sins would be neatly set out in a nice large font… confession would be so easy.

I buy the app. Andy buys one too.

We give ourselves usernames and choose passwords. We fill in the gender, vocation in life, date of last confession and birthday details. We are ready to examine our consciences.

Soon I am scrolling through the Ten Commandments:

The First Commandment…

Do I not give God time in prayer every day in prayer?

Do I not seek to love Him with all my heart?

I scroll and click when appropriate, and scroll some more. Soon I’ve covered the entire Ten Commandments. Soon some of the boxes have numbers in them. Soon I’ve completed my examination of conscience.

The next night, I sign into my confession app and scroll and click, and click some more. I wish not sinning was as easy as examining my conscience.

But there is one problem with the app. Some of my sins don’t seem to fit neatly into any of the options. Am I abnormal? Am I more sinful than everyone else? I become frustrated and eventually I give up on the app.

Then one day I remember my app. Soon I will be going to confession. Maybe I should have a look at the sins I recorded and add them to my list. So I click on my username, and immediately the password box appears. Password? What is my password? I can’t remember. I try one possibility. Invalid password. I try another. Invalid password. What could my password be? I feel like a safe breaker, an invader of secrets. Will the whole app close down after so many attempts? … Access has been denied. Invading another’s privacy is a sin. Please see your priest for confession. I give up.

I tell Andy about my problem.

“Didn’t you write your password down?” he asks.

“Of course not! I don’t want anyone getting into my app and seeing my sins.”

“Can you retrieve your password?”

“No.” My sins are safe. Too safe. No one is going to see them ever again. Not even me.

This morning Andy and I are going to confession with the girls.

“Have you written down your sins?” I ask Gemma-Rose.

“Yes,” she replies, waving her piece of folded paper at me.

“Are you sorry for doing those sins? Are you going to try and not sin again?”

Gemma-Rose nods and then says, “You sound like a priest. Father always asks me that.”

The older girls have good memories and have memorised their sins. I keep repeating mine in my head, hoping I don’t go blank at the crucial moment. And Andy has his mobile phone, complete with confession app.

Later Andy tells me how wonderful the app is: “It summarises your sins in one list. It goes through the confession process. There’s even prayers to say. Easy!”

I think about those sins locked inside my tablet, never again to be seen by human eyes. I suddenly realise that not even God can see those sins now. With all my other venial sins, they were cast into the unending ocean of God’s mercy at confession this morning. Never again will God think about them. They are gone… password or no password… gone. Isn’t confession wonderful?  

So why does my heart usually sink when I think about making my confession?  Why do I not run eagerly to confession more often? I think about Gemma-Rose emerging from the confessional. She screws up her list of sins. All gone. Her soul is pure and clean. She always smiles.

Andy is entering the date of his last confession... today's date... into his app. “Hey! All my sins have disappeared!” All the boxes are empty. He smiles.

All my sins have disappeared... yes, that's certainly worth smiling about. Can you see my huge smile?

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  1. I changed my denomination, and don't go to confession anymore. Used to be really scared of going.

    went to the back of an Anglican church today and took some photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ann!

      I know how you feel about confession. When I was a new Catholic, I nearly left the Church because of confession. I hadn't grown up with it and I was very scared of confessing my sins. It felt so alien to me. I thought I'd go to a church that didn't have confession because I would be more comfortable. But before that happened, I met a beautiful person who helped explain the sacrament and a priest who guided me through all the steps. It was such a relief to get over that bump in my conversion!

      These days I am grateful for the sacrament because I know my sins will be wiped clean from my soul, and I will receive grace to strengthen me. Yes, sometimes I still get a little scared, but I also look at confession as a great gift which we are so fortunate to have.

      Ann, did you change your denomination because of confession, or maybe you had other reasons? I imagine there are a lot of people who are frightened away by confession. It is sad. My children don't have these scared feelings at all. They like going. They like going to the dentist too! I guess it's all about first experiences and how it is explained.

      I wonder if you are feel more comfortable in your adopted church.

      Thank you so much for your comment.

      God bless!

      Delete
  2. My niece loves this app :-) She's been using it well over a year and says it does individualize things as time goes on... I'm thinking of getting an ipod touch just for the apps ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beate,

      Andy love this app too! I am going to try it again. I have given myself a new username and a new password. I only hope I remember this one! There are some great apps available.

      God bless!

      Delete
  3. sweet reflection.....if a bit unusual ;)

    Thanks for these thoughts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chari,

      Thank you for reading. Yes, sometimes my thoughts go in a strange direction!

      God bless!

      Delete
  4. I'm wondering about the sins disappearing - what if you do the same sins again? It would really save time if you could save your sins and repeat them, next time, don't you think? And, if it was a really clever app, it could calculate your probability of committing certain sins based on your past performance and save time by constructing your list for you. Maybe, it could have sound settings so that you could get it to say the words for you to the priest. Or, even better, it could have the share option whereby you could email the list to the priest and he could email back the penance!

    Heehee! Actually, I love being able to go to confession - it's one of the greatest things about being Catholic, I think.

    God bless, Sue:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicky,

      Somehow I don't think you're taking my story seriously. Wouldn't an email option make things so simple!

      I used to think the Catholic Church would be perfect if only there was no confession. Now I realise, like you, that confession is one of the greatest things about being Catholic. Such a pity it took me so long to understand the sacrament properly.

      God bless.

      Delete
  5. Being a convert, I have always felt like confession was such a special gift. I heard a priest explain it once like this - God already forgives us the minute we step toward Him to say I am sorry (like the story of the Prodigal Son). The sacrament is the celebration of what has already taken place! It is the party that the Father throws for us. We encounter Christ.
    :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Colleen,

      "It is the party that the Father throws for us." I like that very much! There is a wonderful quote from the book "I Believe in Love" that I used in another story about confession:

      "Remember that each time you pick yourself up after a fall, the feast of the prodigal son is renewed. Your Father in Heaven clothes you again in His most beautiful cloak, puts a ring on your finger, and tells you to dance with joy."

      I remembered that after reading your words.

      Yes, confession is a special gift. I am so glad I came to appreciate it instead of running from it.

      God bless!

      Delete

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