Bless Me, Father, For I Have Sinned

Something Pope Francis said this week really reached my heart in a spot that I had quite nearly abandoned.

As a convert to Catholicism, one of the teachings of the church that was most difficult for me to embrace was the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a.k.a. “confession.” God already knew my sins. He saw them everyday. Someone please tell me why I needed to go to the priest to rehash all the terrible, no good. Fast forward 17 years and I see the beauty of the sacrament.

Well, almost.

You see, I found myself in the confessional booth on a not-so-regular schedule (I’m a bit ashamed to admit that, but in the spirit of spilling the beans, you get honest Kathryn today). And, every time I was there, I felt like I should just hit the record/play/repeat button. I was confessing the same stuff and feeling stuck. Feeling inadequate. Feeling apathetic. Mostly, I felt like a failure.

I mean, I can plan birthday parties, organize the house, take awesome parenting classes and share the best of my “how do you do its”, yet real reconciliation with God alluded me. Just when I would conquer one thing, I would wake up the next morning to see just how much of a failure I was the day before. I was focusing on my debits, not my credits. And then Pope Francis said this:

“The Lord never tires of forgiving us, never! We are the ones who get tired of asking forgiveness. Let us ask for the grace to never tire of asking forgiveness, because He never tires of forgiving us.”

That did it. This sweet, sweet Argentine Jesuit Pope finally reached my tired heart.

pope francis2Source

Our parish hosted a penance service last night and my oldest and I attended together. As providence would have it, the priest that did my marriage prep was there to hear confessions. Will and I waited two hours to see him, but to me, it only seemed like it was a few minutes. Will and I spent that time listening to the readings, taking in the beautiful homily and sharing a few laughs in the confessional line.

My time in the confessional last night was different. I felt relieved. Honored. Beloved, even. As the gentle priest who listened and counseled me said, “It is a great thing that you have brought your sins to God. That takes courage.”

For the first time in all my 17 years of being Catholic, I truly felt the graces of confession. I felt like I’ve been stumbling in there, head down, shoulders hunched and heart ashamed for too long. Today I feel excited and ready for Holy Week. Truly ready. Easter is nearly upon us. If you’ve felt the same way. If you find yourself wondering, “Why do I even try?” as Fr. Danny mentioned last night in his homily, I urge you to get yourself to church. To ask for God’s forgiveness and spend some time in quiet prayer.

May Pope Francis’ words ring true for you and may Easter bring the healing, the hope and the love Christ pours out on your behalf.


  1. Mike on March 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Beautiful post. Scott Hahn said that he was lamenting in the confessional to the priest that he felt like a failure because he kept confessing the same sins over and over. The priests response was “well, what do you want, all new sins?”

    • Kathryn on March 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      Mike, that comment should’ve come with a “set down what you’re drinking” warning. Love it!

  2. Kimberly on March 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    OMGracious. I am at my son’s speech session, and read this post. I laughed out loud at the first comment. I definitely do NOT want all new sins. I’m already working so hard enough on the sins and vices I already have. Thanks for keeping it real Kathryn!

  3. Nancy Carabio Belanger on March 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Kathryn, your honesty is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing what so many people feel. That took courage. Think of the people your post has/will touch, and how it will reconcile them with Christ in His loving mercy. You rock!

    • Kathryn on March 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      Thanks, Nancy. I really debated over hitting delete. So honored by your words.

  4. Holly on March 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    As a Easter 2009 RCIA graduate, I am ashamed to say I have never been to confession, but hearing Pope Francis and reading your post today, I’m ready to get there, THANK YOU! I want to be a good example to my children, if I don’t teach them, who will.

  5. Bea on March 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Ava always asks me why I pray for the same things during family prayer (like patience or wisdom or keeping my sense of humor or to have a better day tomorrow, making better choices than I did today) and I tell her that’s what I have a hard time with as a mommy and haven’t quite figured it out. Now she repeats too. I think it’s a good thing to show we’re all a work in progress and need help on a regular basis to be the best people we can be. I love our weekly confession of sins especially during Lent when we lead with the confession of sins. “God forgives you, forgive yourself, forgive each other, and approach God in peace.” My favorite part.

  6. Tricia on March 19, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    What a beautiful post Kathryn – love those words of Pope Francis and thanks for your sharing. Growing up, I went to confession regularly and have fallen away from that practice in recent years – thanks for the reminder of how important it is!

  7. Claire on March 20, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Awesome to hear Kathryn. I went to confession yesterday as well. While it wasn’t as eye-opening as your experience, I too felt like it was the most frutiful confession I’ve had in years. The sweet priest (whom I know) said, “you have good qualities too.” I got such a giggle out of that!

  8. verdinalouisa on March 20, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Oh, Kathryn! You’ve done it again!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have the same struggles… (convert 1958). And I’m heading to Reconciliation this evening. I feel much better prepared now.

    God bless you! God bless Pope Francis!

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