16 March 2012

Procrastination and Penance

As technology makes life easier and enables to do things more quickly than before, a great many of us have become procrastinators.  Commenting on our tendency toward procrastination, Father Selvester wrote last week:
Even now if I have a presentation to prepare, or taxes to pay, or a memo to read or a meeting for which to prepare I seem to do it at the last possible minute. Well, that may be OK in the realm of temporalities but it shouldn't be that way with our spiritual lives.
These days of Lent are not given to us to simply sit idly by as we mindlessly abstain from meat on Fridays and from chocolate or coffee or whatnot through Easter.  These days are given to us, rather, to be strive for a deeper spirituality, to unite ourselves ever more closer with our Crucified Lord so that we might share more fully in the glorious joy of his Resurrection.

As Father Selvester rightly points out, " Lent is a time of many Penance Services with multiple priests visiting to hear Confessions. Lots of folks like these communal services because the visiting priests increase their chances of getting "Fr. Complete Stranger" for Confession."  Even so, he says, "despite all the opportunities to make a good Confession throughout the season of Lent I find each and every year that I am swamped with those wishing to confess at the last minute. Frequently, these people become indignant if they have to wait on a long line to go to Confession."

Please, don't procrastinate going to confession!  Imagine yourself to be something like a Chicago politician: Confess early, confess often.  But not so often as to say, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned.  My last confession was yesterday."  Unless, of course, you are in serious sin.

Father Valencheck a few days offered this reflection for our preparation for this Lenten penance:
You know, it’s Lent. Are you carrying around a load? You know – you don’t have to. Dump your load at confession. Too many people spend too much of their time carrying their stuff around – trying to find the best way to carry it – but no matter how much you may shield yourself from it, you’re still carrying around a bag of stuff. The confessionals are ready. You will enjoy the rest of your journey so much more if you get rid of your load now. Soon, the confessional lines will get longer and longer the closer we get to Easter. Relieve yourself now. Enjoy the freedom.

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