Purgatory and the Confession Line

Have you ever sat in a confessional line that takes FOREVER!?! Because be Catholic long enough and this will inevitably happen. I’ve attempted to go to confession before daily mass for the last two days, waiting an hour but because of the surplus of people and the limited number of priest, did not make it through the line. I get into the chapel, asking hopefully where the line ends, graciously find my seat with a smile and begin reflecting, contemplating and praying. That last all of about ten minutes tops and then, because I am about as impatient as a six year old, I begin to count. How many people are ahead of me? If each one takes FIVE WHOLE minutes will I make it through line before an hour? And then when that doesn’t help I begin to plea with God, “if you let me make it through this line I will go to mass right after”… Again this last about five minutes and then, I am left sitting in silence, waiting with the people around me. All anxious, all desiring complete and total union with Christ. And then it hit me. Is the line to confession like purgatory?

Think about it. Here you have all these people who are going to be united with God in a more full sense after the priest absolves their sins, but in line we wait, we suffer. I mean the suffering in actual purgatory is probably a little more intense, but after contemplating this experience I think it is an extreme blessing that we have to wait. It gives us time to think about what we did. To picture the very face of each person we failed to love, and then to picture the face of our Heavenly Father. It gives us time to pray to the Holy Spirit and Mary. And one of the most beautiful things I think, it gives us time to pray for the people around us, because you know what? They are waiting in line too!

So instead of using this time of waiting in line to dilly dolly, I think God is challenging me to take a step further. He’s giving us a unique chance to experience something special, something eternal, and so why not use this time to pray for all those souls awaiting the amazing joy of heaven? I know that when I go back to the chapel and have to wait in line a third time, this is exactly what I shall do, pray for the souls in purgatory because I know what it’s like to wait.

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