To be truly forgiven after Confession, you must acknowledge transgression, of course — confess it, beseech the mercy of God — but also: forget the sin. As the saying goes, when the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future. Dismiss the “ghosts” of Christmases past.
That’s right. Forget it. Don’t let the devil drag you into guilt — believing that God can’t forgive or, worse, enjoying the memory of a transgression. To be truly purged, one must erase not only the word, thought, or action, not just the “sin,” but most importantly, the inclination.
Ask yourself what was behind committing the error.
Without doing that, one is in great danger of revisiting it.
If it was gluttony, purge it; don’t let your mind hover over food, especially the most tempting. If it’s overdrinking, forget the solace of intoxication. If it’s drugs, dismiss that from any reverse enjoyment, whatsoever. If it was sex, completely forget the man or woman — break all mental or emotional attachments. They are traps.
Otherwise, in a word, you may be “forgiven” (after Confession), but you may not be totally cleansed. That takes effort, along with the absolution.
This is the season — Advent –to clean and degrease, to dust corners of the soul, to mop the floor of grit. When a cleaning service “deep cleans,” it goes behind the refrigerator, behind the washing machine; they scrub the floor, and wipe the trim; they dust the top of cabinets. Spiritually, we have to do the same.
When there is a sin in the past that we still enjoy, in any way, or at least to a degree, we are recommitting the sin. We’re reconnecting with darkness. As they say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Life’s too short for repetition.
You have to remove the desire that hides behind furniture, behind the “refrigerator,” the dust on the highest shelves.
Finally and firmly — tenaciously — expurgate past darkness.
Once confessed, there’s no need to revisit it. Wipe the slate clean — scour it. Look forward, not backward.
If it was greed, don’t enjoy what made you greedy. If it was swearing, curse not, even inwardly. If it was jealousy, look back at whomever you bore jealousy or envy and sincerely send love and prayers. If it was negativity, train your mind to think the best of those at whom your negativity was directed. Most importantly, cast them out by name: the ‘spirit of gluttony,” “the spirit of lust,” the “spirit of jealousy.” The “spirit of narcissism” — all pride.
Here you find freedom! Here you surf any wave! Here you ride high (in spirit) into the new year!
Here, when we succeed, with discipline and prayer, we begin to emulate the Immaculate Heart of Mother Mary and Saint Joseph and the Child born to them.