Keeping Confession Private

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:5

If I’m taught to pray in private, why then would I be asked to confess in public?

Call me old fashioned, but face-to-face confession never resonated with me.

In grammar school (parochial) we marched dutifully, what seemed like weekly, to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness. Truth be told, I lied. What could I possibly have been guilty of at that age? So much for confession. I think it was the only time I sinned.

And penance seemed the same no matter my crime. I often wanted to call father’s bluff and confess a doozy, just to see if 3 Hail Mary’s would still absolve me.

I never really felt ‘cleansed’ after my youthful jaunt behind dark and heavy, blood-red drapes to a kneeler that suggested, simply by virtue of my attendance, that I was guilty of something. Anything but uplifting or reflective, it was a heavily morbid and eerie experience.

To then take, what to me seemed a mockery of a most sacred moment, publicly face-to-face strips away the veil of praying in “the secret place”.

But when I talk to God (confess) in complete and private remorse He assures me He’s heard me and shows me I am forgiven. So . . .

Forgive me father, for I have sinned
but I won’t be attending confession again

This face-to-face, it’s not for me.
I was far better off when you couldn’t see

Anything more than my sorry soul
peering from behind a veil of unknown

Pity me not for this choice I’ve made
for I confess my sins to the Lord each day

Looking down, He lifts me up
with Divine forgiveness and endless love

And although He appoints you in His place
to hear the remorse of my disgrace

I revert to confessing and bearing my soul
the same way that I pray – to the Great Unknown


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