January 6, 2016: CONFESSION

~by Paula Veloso Babadi

If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

We fear what we don’t know or understand. When one of my sons moved back home with his American Pit Bull Terrier, I was quite reserved around her stocky brown frame and thickly-muscled broad head. As I came through the front door one day after a long stretch at work, Dallas greeted me with bared teeth and heavy breathing. I called for my son. He laughed when he saw me standing, briefcase still in hand, while Dallas “smiling” waited for me to greet her. My son explained, I was part of her pack and she was happy to see me. With my son beside me, I stooped down and grinned back at Dallas, pushing air back and forth through my teeth. Her tail gyrated at hurricane wind speed. I never feared Dallas again and we “smile” at each other on a regular basis, now that I understand her intent.

I am not comparing confession to a menacing dog with bared teeth, but I used to fear going to confession. Now, it just makes me nervous and ashamed to admit out loud my wrongdoings and failures. I am acutely aware that confessing means I must also sincerely “avoid the near occasion of sin”, which on a regular basis for me means bypassing the bakery department at Publix and every other grocery store. I knew confession was good for me, provided sacramental grace and lifted the burden of guilt from my soul. Intellectually, I knew I was forgiven, but deep in my heart, belief levels were shaky. Wasn’t God tired of hearing apologies for the same sins? So, what changed?

It was during a local parish retreat, “Consoling the Heart of Jesus” that I came to an initial understanding of Jesus’ intense longing for friendship and union with us – his body, the branches of his vine. Jesus is rooted and waiting at the threshold to embrace, forgive, love, console, and commune with us – with me! What changed, was understanding Jesus’ intent in leaving behind the miraculous sacrament of confession. While I don’t pretend to know it all, I can say that I know Jesus gave me confession as a means to grow closer to him; to keep getting back up from the fall and trying again and again. Knowing Jesus’ intent has removed my fear and reluctance. Confession is still uncomfortable, but Jesus’ ocean of mercy is bigger than, and can allay any fear from the repentant heart.

Confession

~ Paula Veloso Babadi

In sunless depths, my wreckage

In darkness lies

In cold silence

In compressed screams

Scattered below the sandy floor.

.

Metal hull

Hides from sonar waves

Skeleton remnants,

Sins buried beneath

Photosynthesis reach.

.

I have evaded anchor’s curves

Trolling lines

Rescue from tumult

Light’s warmth

Long enough.

.

“Bless me father, for I have sinned”

It seems an eternity since my last confession

“And these are my sins”

His mercy is an ocean.

His light pierces darkness

His love reaches down,

Pulls me to his arms

Where my being rests inside his heart

“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee”

.

His mercy is an ocean

Offering respite on glassy surfaces

Reflecting sky of balmy summer days

Beckoning upward a true and steady course

Back to the sun

Promising purity

Breathing spirit and life that

Once I knew.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Paula Veloso Babadi has worked in the health care industry for over thirty five years, but her true passion is poetry. She is a member of the St. John’s Chapter of the national Catholic Writers Guild and a regular contributor to the St. Joseph’sReflections Newspaper. Growing up in England and Pensacola with her Filipino and British parents and marrying into her Iranian family, she now lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband, daughter and nearby three grown sons and grandchildren.

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