“One of the differences between psychoanalytic examination and examination of conscience is that in the former one stands in one’s own light; in the examination of conscience, one stands in the light of God. That is why Scripture says, ‘Search my soul, O my God.’ The divine light looks into the mind, takes the mind off itself and its own false judgments, and makes things appear as they really are; at the end, one does not say, ‘Oh, what a fool I’ve been,’ but rather, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’” ~ Venerable Fulton Sheen

When I was in the gay lifestyle, so many of my friends were regular or occasional visitors to a physiologist or psychiatrist. Not particularly interested, though I sometimes listened in as they described amongst themselves the successes and failures of various sessions; most often, they were being guided to somehow overcome past repression, lack of acceptance from family, and or strange guilty feelings that tenaciously lingered since their childhood. Curious, I set up one consultation for myself – it followed the same scenario; then, the option of setting up more intense therapy. I didn’t return. For, I was a tortured libertine, but wholly unremorseful.

After the Lord Jesus Christ saved me from all of that – one of the first things I did was go to Confession; after over 15 years, I took the entire thing very seriously. I bought a little guidebook to the Sacraments, thought and thought, even wrote things down; had a rather long list of transgressions listed on a piece of paper when I walked into the confessional; I was fulfilling an obligation, going through the rubrics; I thought – I was placating God; taking His wrath off of me. I wasn’t seeking Mercy as much as I was seeking to alleviate my fears: fears of being condemned to hell. Why? Because, I didn’t Trust God, I believed in Him, but I certainly didn’t love Him. Like my former friends at gay-friendly psycho-therapy, I was evading everything; I was self-covering over; protecting me. For, it was easy to admit that I had done this or that, but what I couldn’t acknowledge were the reasons behind it all: pride, stubbornness, my eagerness for escape, for something easy, a willingness to be deceived. Finally, as Sheen states, I could see things as they really are…I was wounded; and I needed Mercy. Suddenly, now that I could ask for it – I got it. It just took a little humility on my part.