THE VINYL CONFESSION by Fr. V
I for one am glad that CDs and Ipods etc. have taken over from records for personal music entertainment. There are songs that to this day when I hear them I tense up waiting for that part of the song that has been seared into my mind as having a skip that used to plague the records I had when I was very small.
“Does your chewing gum lose its flavor
on the bedpost over night?
And you mother says, “Don’t chew it,”
Do swallow it, (click) Do you swallow it, (click) Do you swallow it”
Sometimes people come into the confessional and say, “Father, it’s the same old stuff. I sound like a broken record. Can I just say ditto?” The dejection they express is almost palpable. But I encourage them to keep up the effort, to come back as often as necessary, to not be embarrassed and most of all to not lose hope.
Someone asked why more people do not come to confession. There are a lot of theories. Here is one more. Homiletic and Pastoral Review had an excellent article on sin called, “Pornography, Electronic Media and Priestly Formation” by Marysia Weber. As you might suppose it centered on those addicted to porn on the Internet but I wonder if it does not speak to sin in general and furhter point to a reason why some people do not go to confession.
The article listed 5 “successive and interdependent stages through which individuals progress into an addiction into Internet pornography. These include, 1. Discovery, 2. Experimentation, 3. Habituation, 4. Compulsivity, and 5. Hopelessness.” Could we not as a culture be headed into this last stage of hopelessness in the area of sin in general? We are saturated with enticements to sin not the least reason being is that sin sells everything from cars to toothpaste. (See how dazzling my smile is and how attractive I now am to the opposite sex?) Hopelessness says, “What is the point? I’m just going to do it again and there is very little support not to do so. Why even think about it then? God is just going to have to take me for who I am and forgive me.”
But the point is not that God chooses or does not choose us for He already has chosen us. The point is do we or do we not choose God? Do we follow what He clearly laid out for us to do? Do we not lose hope? Do we rely on His mercy and power rather than trying to white knuckle our way into heaven? Are we humble enough to sound repetitive in the confessional? Do we have the courage to at least try again to get up and walk after falling?
I used to go the chiropractor only after some activity that would mess up my back. I wanted his adjustment to last longer. That was until he slapped me upside the head and said, “Father, you have an adjustment so that you can do the activity better in the first place!” In like manner don’t wait to be perfect to get to confession. Use confession, as often as you need to, to work toward perfection.