Someone asked me once how he could better appreciate and take advantage of the sacrament of confession.
At that very moment we were both enjoying some brewed coffee and doughnuts.
It then occurred to me to relate confession with coffee.
Well, not exactly to the excellent brewed coffee we were enjoying but more like to the cheap processed three-in-one satchel that everyone resorts to when they are in a hurry and have no leisure to prepare and savor a personally prepared blend.
First, the ground coffee beans.
A taste for coffee varies from one person to another.
Others like it black, more prefer it creamy and sweet, and daring individuals experiment mixing exotic blends.
But whatever one’s preference may be, the basic ingredient is coffee.
Yes, the brown dark granules needed for any cup, shake or thermos.
But tasting the raw grains of coffee is not very appetizing.
One immediately reacts to the strong dry and bitter bite coffee has on the mouth and tongue.
Likewise, the experience of sin always results with the bitter taste of guilt.
No matter how we may embrace sin gravely or we tug it with its numerous venial forms, –whether grave or venial–, the nasty flavor of guilt never gives any satisfaction for the sinner.
That’s why we need the creamer!
The cream comes as an ingredient to soften the bitterness of guilt and sin.
Spiritually speaking, the creamer mixed with the coffee is our humble prayer to Jesus about our sinful thoughts, words and actions.
When we converse with our Lord about our sins, He helps us to overcome the distasteful presence of sadness, despair, anger and frustration that arise from being emotionally overwhelmed by our sinfulness.
In other words, Jesus fills us with hope to rise from our sinful state to one of hope and confidence.
Then there’s the sweetener!
The sugar added to the coffee + creamer gives the final touch to complete the ingredients of a cup of coffee.
What sweetens us spiritually isn’t exactly the same as the taste of sugar or honey.
The spiritual life’s sweetener is actually found in sacrifice.
And this sacrifice is required to undo whatever evil we may have committed or the good we may have omitted.
These are also called resolutions.
And forging them requires sacrifice and sincerity to apply a concrete remedy to conquer a particular vice or weakness.
Without this ‘sweet sacrifice’ one cannot really progress in the spiritual battle against his ego and tendencies.
Once these three ingredients are combined, then we will need to add the hot water of the sacrament of Confession.
The reconciling and transforming grace of confession turns the coffee, cream and sugar into one savory beverage.
Before going to confession we were overwhelmed with bitterness and sadness.
Afterwards, we are filled with humility and courage to begin again.
Confession is a key ingredient that will allow us to convert all our weaknesses and miseries into something redeemable.
Without it, our experience of sin, our prayer with Christ and resolutions still need the hot water of Confession in order to ‘enjoy the rousing effect of a conversion’ every time return to our Lord, seeking His pardon in confession.
Through Confession, all our life’s ingredients become a cup that is offered to God and our neighbor.
What was once a source of bitterness and dryness in our life is transformed into a source of strength, hope and joy.
Thus, may we never get tired of combining our coffee, cream and sweetener in Confession, where our Lord brews a new blend of us every time we embrace His mercy.
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