Dear readers: I’m pleased to welcome Tiffany Buck as a new contributing writer for Joy In Truth. May God bless her in her work of infusing culture with the good news of the gospel and the belief of the Chruch. I look forward to reading more of her posts, as I’m sure you will as well — Deacon Frederick Bartels
When Fr. Jorge first suggested I go to adoration, I was unprepared for how difficult it would be and what it would bring. I didn’t expect to be challenged by Jesus to more fully live my faith by entering the confessional and pouring my heart out before him.
By Tiffany Buck
24 September 2018
Fr. Jorge suggested I go to adoration. Our parochial vicar had seen me quite a few times in the church office discussing my needs and concerns for our church’s Walking With Purpose ministry. I was in charge of coordinating childcare for the ministry and, honestly, I did not know where to find two people willing to watch five children for three hours on a Thursday morning. As a mother to a three-year-old, I knew how precious a few hours of me-time could be. Every time I went into the church office asking for help finding people, my daughter was with me. She was always my focus.
“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (Luke 10:40).
Fr. Jorge asked me about my spirituality, and I did not know what to say. This ministry was my only break as a mother. I thought very little about the scripture that I was reading. Perhaps Fr. Jorge saw a stressed mother who needed a break from her bundle of joy. He claimed adoration was like going to a spiritual beach and getting a Son tan. I had never heard adoration explained quite like that before, so I decided to sign up for an hour.
September, the first month of my adoration hour was tough. I did not find it to be a relaxing respite on the beach. In fact, I felt as if a mild storm had gathered overhead. The sky was not blue in those hours; it was grey. I was fidgety and nervous. Being with Jesus made me uncomfortable. As a Catholic, I knew He was truly present. In between my fidgeting and praying a halfhearted rosary, I didn’t know what to say to Him other than “Please make my life easier. Make my daughter calmer. Make my mother well.”
Little did I know, He was working quietly within me.
“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one’” (Luke 10:41-42).
By October, I was starting to get the message Jesus was sending me. Go to confession. I had not been to reconciliation in years. I was one of those Catholics who believed confession was an optional sacrament. Being a Southerner, I had spent my life surrounded by Protestants who believed the act of asking for forgiveness took place right before bed, not in a church with a priest hearing your sins. The non-Catholic way seemed easy, less complicated, and freeing. It is easy to ask for forgiveness lying in bed, driving your car, or doing chores. A quick, Jesus I’m sorry for yelling, is easy. It didn’t require a trip to the church, and there was no penance. Just a quick I’m sorry and then you go about your day.
But saying, I’m sorry, doesn’t give you the graces that the sacrament gives. Confessing your sins aloud makes you want to leave that sin behind. My quick DIY confessions never made me consider why I had a problem with a particular sin and how I could do better. I also found that I was not accepting Jesus’ forgiveness.
From our church bulletin, I learned that confessions were held each Wednesday night and Saturday morning, both convenient times for me. My first confession after so many years was simple and a bit watered down. I wanted the grace, but I didn’t really want to work for it by truly opening my heart to Jesus, who is present in the sacrament and who desires a complete and sincere confession so he can give me the fullness of his grace and forgiveness.
The next day was adoration. I was slightly more comfortable, but I felt that Jesus was urging me to make a truly good confession next time. A few days later, I went to confession again. I wrote all my sins out on paper beforehand and read it aloud to the priest behind the screen. He was gentle and encouraging as he listened to me. At the end, I felt a boulder had been lifted from my shoulders. My next adoration hour was smoother. I walked away after doing my penance asking Jesus not to make my life better but to help me be a better servant.
“‘Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:42).
Photo Attribution: By Willuconquer [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.
Tiffany Buck is a stay-at-home mom. She is a parishioner at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA. She is active in the ministries of Walking With Purpose, Book Chat, and the Council of Catholic Women. Her poetry has been featured in Silver Birch Press, Wagon Magazine, and the San Pedro River Review. You can follow her poetry blog at ourladyslipper.blogspot.com.