When I attended college at University of San Diego, one of the non-official, but HIGHLY encouraged, requirements was a weekend retreat.
As I remember it, it was in the mountains not too far from campus, but it was bitingly cold. (Cold by San Diego standards was any day that didn't reach 65F ... and the true need for a heater.) There may have even been snow on the ground. But I digress.
USD is a Catholic university and no retreat would have been complete without mass and 'reconciliation.' I never got into calling it that, to me a confession is a confession.
I got the form wrong (beyond the 'Forgive me Father' bit I was a bit freeform). But the unburdening of my soul did feel good ... the fact that the priest recommended some intense counseling after the session (advice which was not heeded) somewhat dimmed the experience.
Today I touched base with a friend. She's got a wicked sense of humor, she's smart, and she undervalues herself.
Because I do healing work, to cover myself legally, I am an ordained minister. Nope, I'm never going to have a show on the religious broadcasting type networks and that wasn't the point.
Before we disconnected, she apologized for not being in touch. From experience, I know what it is to shut people who love you out; to disappear from their lives. It doesn't mean I quit thinking about them, it just meant that at the time, I didn't have it to give. She wanted to carry the guilt of not being in touch and she wanted to be taken to task for it.
Lapsed Catholic that I am and ordained as I am (that an $5 or more will get me something to drink at a fancy coffee place), I felt I could change her outlook - if only for a few seconds.
"Dearest," I said. "I forgive you on behalf of everyone you feel you have hurt. Go forth and sin no more."
I haven't heard such joyful laughter in a long time.
Forgiveness. It isn't just for breakfast anymore. Celebrate what there is to celebrate. Go ahead, you've got my permission to LIVE!