I've struggled somewhat with this first Lent as a baptized Catholic. Family difficulties abound, and every Lenten assignment that I pick up at Sunday Mass appears to have been written exactly to address my personal faults (ouch!). The dear priest who had become my Confessor and Spiritual Director was called to shepherd a distant parish in our diocese just before Advent, and until last night I had not gotten up courage to go to Confession again (it had been five months -- TOO LONG FOR ME!)
On a brighter note, the "Why Catholic" series began again with this Lent and I was invited to join a group that meets in the home of a couple who were very active in leading my RCIA group. Last Sunday, we decided that our assignment for the week would be to go to Confession and receive the Holy Eucharist this week.
The Lenten Reconciliation (Penance) Service was scheduled for last night, and I made arrangements to attend. I missed the Advent Penance Service; for some reason, I did not find out about it until it was over. So this was my first attendance at this particular type of service.
All I can say is, OH MY!! We had four priests (three visiting) celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation and our permanent Deacon assisting with the service. I prayed my Rosary on the way to Church and was deep in meditation when I arrived with one decade to do later. The service itself was wonderful; I cried profusely through much of it (but I was not the only one in tears). Then I got in line for Confession with my dear Pastor. I don't know what I was waiting for; THIS was exactly what I needed.
After I did my Penance (and no, I'm not going to tell you what it was *hah*), I went for pie with one of my best friends. I felt about a hundred pounds lighter. Later, in bed, I prayed the final decade of my Rosary and fell right to sleep.
Thank you Jesus!