Seems to me that going to confession as a youngster did not impress upon me the action that I did was wrong or harmful to myself or others. Instead, I was given a Hail Mary and an Our Father to say. After saying the penance required, I was ‘guilt-free’ or so I thought and often went out and did whatever it was that brought me in the congressional to begin with.
I believe that this type of confession taught me 2 things: 1) that no one else knew about my actions or inactions but the priest and therefore there was no embarrassment on my part and 2) that there at the confessional is where I could go to ‘hide’ what I did that harmed another. It seems, in the long run, I never did forgive nor forget those things myself as I still felt the guilt and the shame.
As I began to really look at my life when much older and the actions that I did that were harmful to others, I saw the need to do more than just ‘repent’. I saw that those harmful actions actually recoiled on myself one way or the other. Call it Karma or the Cosmic Law, I began to feel the effects of what I had done to others and therefore to myself. I needed to make amends or take responsibility for those actions. If it was something that I did to hurt another, then I made an attempt to apologize to that person and made proper restitution.
We are not perfect people. I believe we are basically good. I believe we come from God and go back to God. I believe that everyone that looks at life (really looks at things around them and the life of others they are around) can always find something that they can do to help to make this world a better place to live. Perhaps applying the Golden Rule is what I’m getting at. I have found a successful action-asking myself ‘would I like someone to do that very thing to me?’
Check out this simple truth and let me know what you think, okay?