A bad stomach ailment sidelined me last night. The pain was incredible, to say the least. I did not have a breakthrough until about 1AM this morning.
Interestingly enough, the breakthrough came on two different fronts. As delicately as I can put this, I had the opposite of diarrhea. It is not something that I would wish on anyone. It's one of the worst stomach pains in the world. I could not release anything; but, when it finally came, there was so much relief. That's the first breakthrough.
The second one was actually quite profound. A couple of nights prior to my illness, I had supper with my spiritual director. Oddly enough, we talked about holding things inside (sin) and how these can damage our souls. Sunday, he preached about the damaging effects of sin in our souls. He preached about how we should fear sin because it kills the soul's health.
As I lay in bed, recouperating from my ailment, I thought about what he had said. The pain had prevented me from going to Mass last evening. I really felt bad. But, as I lay down, staring into space, the gravity of the words he preached and the conversation that we had hit me worse than a blow to the groin. I was in a lot of pain because my body could not release the bad stuff. A nurse friend of mine told me that had I not been able to release, it could have actually turned worse. What I experienced in my stomach is actually pale in comparison to what the soul experiences when it cannot release itself from the bondage of sin through Confession. Prior to my release, I was painfully bloated. Prior to the release of sin, the soul is painfully bloated.
But, when the medicine finally kicked in and started to do its thing (six hours later), I felt so much better after the release. I was finally able to rest. And, so it is with going to Confession. There have been many times that, as soon as the priest imparts absolution on me, I start feeling the release of the proverbial 800-pound gorilla. My soul feels lighter because the chains that bound it and would not allow it to release all of that vile and waste are suddenly gone.
Sometimes, God uses the most graphic things to teach us the most important lessons.