A visit to the confessional


Last Sunday was our baby’s estimated due day. The day before, I was waiting in a queue to buy tickets for the girls’ end of year dance concert and thinking about horses (of all things) when the thought popped into my mind that it might be my last chance to go to Reconciliation just because, well, you never know what might happen during childbirth. 

I knew a straightforward labour and timely delivery of a healthy baby was the most likely outcome. Just to be sure, I checked. 

Fewer than one in 20,000 women die during childbirth in Australia according to government health statistics based on census data, while for babies it’s safer to be born here than even the UK or the US. 

But you never know, and when it comes to a big life event like this one I don’t like to assume things when my immortal soul is at stake. So when the time rolled around, off to ‘reco’ I went – dutifully if not enthusiastically. I ended up being too late, so I sat in the church and prayed Evening Prayer from the Divine Office from my phone. 

I remembered with surprise that it had been around five months since my last visit to the confessional, and a long time since I prayed a part of the Office. 

I used to be much more scrupulous, probably too much so; painfully aware of my faults and inability to do anything about them. I used to try to get to Reconciliation every month and really felt I needed it month to month. I would reach for my prayer book the moment I woke up in the morning. 

Now I realise I’d forgotten all about how that felt, and that it currently feels good to feel less burdened, more accepting of the weaknesses that make me the person I am. I’m not so tortured about the ways I annoy myself and other people. I can tell myself that I’ve become more humble, less self-absorbed. 


A visit to the confessional (Marilyn Rodriguez / Catholic Weekly) 

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