Until this past week, I had never directly experienced the immediate reception of grace from the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and I am still recovering from my amazement. I should not be amazed: I know by my Faith that the Sacraments are effective--and yet, I suppose God gives us these experiences from time to time, to help strengthen our faith--like the way Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead to convince us, yet again, that He really does have control over life and death. Some of us (me!) are so weak, we need these assurances occasionally.
I had been desperate to get to Confession, but could not go as soon as I knew I needed to, because my mother has been in the hospital and it was impossible to get away long enough: my poor father was so upset and helpless, it would have been cruel to say, "Bye! I'm off to church now!" --so I suffered with my sense of pain and guilt until I was finally free to go.
My opportunity came this past Saturday night, before Mass. I had a few minor sins to report, but mainly, I had to tell Father that lately, my interior disposition with regard to my parents had been absolutely horrible. I was appalled and ashamed, but I could not seem to rid myself of my anger and frustration with them. Although I kept on doing for them all the things I could and should be doing as a good daughter, I was doing them with no love whatsoever--in fact, with barely suppressed rage most of the time. I had to retreat to my room often to try to calm down so that I would not start yelling at them.
I have been saying the Rosary a lot lately (I am not normally a "Rosary person," but I promised to recite it for a Dominican priest I know who has terminal cancer.) I did discover that the Rosary is a pretty good antidote for anger: it is very calming, I suppose because it is so repetitive and soothing.
In any event, I began my Confession by telling Father that I probably should have been coming every day! I think I may have shocked him a little when I articulated the extent and depth of my anger toward my parents, and I told him that I had been asking Jesus constantly for the grace to see them as His beloved children, just as I am His beloved child--but it wasn't working. After receiving Absolution, I went to my pew to wait for Mass to start, and while waiting, asked again for the grace to overcome all this rage.
When I got home, into the house, and saw them, I suddenly realized it was all gone! Just like that, gone! Although this is not a popular idea in the modern world, I do believe in Satan, and also that he particularly loves to attack people who want to live holy lives, and are trying to grow in virtue, because such people offend him the most. And, I believe that the grace I received from the Sacrament of Reconciliation is what pushed him right out of my life. I marvel at how wonderful it is for us, as Catholics, to be able to receive such a gift through our priests. +
By the way, this is a very good article about the subject of devils and demons, by a theologian I admire, Peter Kreeft: http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2011/01/kreeft-the-winning-strategy/