“FATHER, I don’t understand what this is supposed to mean,” Alfie asked as he entered the room wearing his usual rugged attire and shouldering a faded Jansen knapsack.
“What don’t you understand?” I asked as I offered him a seat.
“This point in the preparation for confession that says, ‘Did I have a disordered desire for independence?’”
“Oh, that one,” I smiled. “It’s a bit vague, isn’t it?”
“Yeah! ‘Sides, when can one say that his independence is disordered?”
“Actually it’s a general way of expressing that we shun the authority of our elders, or that we refuse their kind and caring advice or that we tend to impose our opinions and judgments upon others.”
“Oh, that kind of independence…,” he said scratching his head.
“Of course, there are many other forms of wanting it our way.”
“Then if I do any of these, I would be sinning, right?”
“Well,… I guess so…,” I replied.
“Why don’t you sound so convinced, Father?”
“It’s not that. I’m more concerned that many people would take it easy being satisfied only in knowing whether something is a sin or not.”
“What’s bad about that?”
“It isn’t enough to know what’s a sin or not, but learning to see the face of sin after acknowledging the fact of sin.”
“I don’t quite get you, Father. How’s sin supposed to have a face?”
“The face of sin is the sinner’s face. That means you and I are sinners. The fact would be the objective disordered act. One way of the other, we all have experience sin through our lives. And if it were not for God’s grace, we could commit grave sins.”
“I still don’t get your point, Father,” Alfie frowned.
“It means that we have to take a step beyond the fact that we have simply lied, stolen, gotten angry and judgmental. After the fact of sinning, we must move behind the sins to know and ask ourselves who we have become and what we are going to do when we realize that we have rejected God’s love.”
“Oh, I’ve finally gotten it! You mean, examining ourselves about our sins!”
“Right! We can’t settle for just knowing our sins and what we have become because of them, but we must immediately ask ourselves what we should do in order to change our ‘sinful face.’”
“Do?” he asked.
“Yes, do. This is shown in our determination to show God—even before we may go to confession—our sorrow and desire to make up for our sins. For example, saying a Rosary for having disrespected our parents. Another would be studying harder or offering ourselves to do extra chores for having wasted our time in school or at home. And if you wish, even grounding yourself when you may have fallen into something more serious!”
“Whoa! Grounding myself is quite a load to do,” he exclaimed.
“Yup, but it’s little compared to what our sins do to God who never deserves them.”
“Now, it’s really crystal clear, Father! I’m ready to get behind the sins!”