I like to sew. When my children were little – I would sew them cute little outfits and took pride in how they looked. Even though I enjoy sewing – I would not call myself a seamstress. A good seamstress will make the inside of the garment as beautiful as the outside. The things I made looked good on the outside, but inside the seams were uneven, the stitches bumpy – there were flaws. Years ago I decided to enter an outfit I had made into the competition at the county fair. It was by far the best sewing job I had done.
The shorts set I made for my daughter had a cherry appliqué and rick rack trim. It was darling. When I brought it before the judges however, they turned it inside out and looked at all the flaws. It is funny how I felt embarrassed at that moment, having my mistakes being examined.
I started sewing again recently and came upon a similar experience and it got me wondering about how we like to only show our “best side” and how incredibly humbling it is to allow someone to see our mistakes. Even in the sacrament of confession, I find myself wanting to show only my “good” side. Some sins are easier to confess – or better yet I can easily delude myself into thinking that I look pretty good – from the outside. But if I were to examine closely the insides of my garment – I would see the flaws. Bumpy stitches, uneven seams and all.
Matthew 23:18 says it “Even so on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.”
God already knows my flaws and if I don’t examine them– I will never learn to become a better seamstress.
Preparing for a thorough confession is humbling, humiliating in fact, and it takes courage. (Not unlike bringing my garment before the judge) But God responds with mercy, the Holy Spirit responds with love, Christ forgives us and guides us.
Advent is a perfect time to revisit this sacrament. Many parishes are offering additional times for hearing confessions.
If you haven’t been to this beautiful sacrament in a while or would like help preparing for confession check out Catholic.org – http://www.catholic.org/prayers/confession.php
I may never be a seamstress – but I am reminded that my ultimate goal is not to sew the perfect garment, but to grow in holiness.