Good and loving and patient God, difficult me.
Adult converts sometimes sheepishly admit that confession scares them. What they may not know is cradle Catholics often feel the same way. Very often, anxiety around confession begins in childhood, when well-meaning parents send kids all the wrong messages about when, how, and why we go to confession.
But children aren’t doomed to hate confession. Here are some things you can do to mitigate anxiety and help kids even learn to look forward to confession . . .
In case some of you were curious about my process. This takes you from accepting the gig straight up to the day before.
Image: Gregor Reisch [Public domain]
If you think of the liturgical year as a lifetime, the Christmas season is a very brief babyhood, just a bright little sliver on the pie chart, and the dark wedge of Lent hits right around the teen or early adult years.
Doesn’t that explain a thing or two?
A frequent question: What books are good for Catholic teenagers and young adults looking to deepen their faith? I have some suggestions!
What often happens is that the Church really does teach something wise, just, and compassionate that would alleviate suffering or at least not compound it; but the suffering person is surrounded by Catholics who, in the name of the Church, teach or imply things that are cruel, unreasonable, and unjust. And their friends pile on, and they apply guilt and psychological pressure, and they ostracize anyone who doesn’t knuckle under to their personal opinions masquerading as dogma.
Here we have a real problem.
There is no one for whom Adoration is a bad fit. Shy? You don’t have to even make eye contact with anyone. Love ritual and tradition? Bring a rosary or say the Liturgy of the Hours. Prefer to free-form it? Go for it. Not sure what your relationship with God is or is supposed to be? Just be there. Not in a state of grace? Be with the Lord so you can hear Him calling you home. Have a hard time sitting still? Make it a short visit. Like doing things in community with others? There is perpetual adoration going on all over the world all the time. Like private, individual worship? It’s just you and Him.
Kondo encourages you to shed the things that you can easily do without; but you’re not everyone. Maybe some poor person would love to have what you can’t wait to get rid of.
Or would they? If they don’t spark joy for you, does that mean they won’t spark joy for anyone? Do poor people who live off donations even really need joy, or what?
There’s not some finite bin of pleasure in the world, and there’s no reason to feel guilty for enjoying whatever measure of it comes our way for as long as it lasts. On the contrary, when I’m happy, I’m much more apt to be generous and patient; and one cheerful person can lift the mood of an entire household. And even if my happiness didn’t do anyone else any good: I matter, too! It’s a good thing to be happy. Why wouldn’t it be?
By all means, be informed. Pay attention to great global matters of historical significance, and don’t stick your head in the sand. But don’t let some vague sense of duty to more important things distract you from the present; and don’t, for goodness’ sake, believe the line that tells you that the more close and familiar something is, the less it signifies. Just the opposite is true.