Sunday, October 7, 2012

Six Months Catholic

Easter Vigil feels like forever ago, but this weekend, I celebrate six months as a Catholic. I neglected Mass attendance for an entire month, “threw off fetters” & avoided reconciliation up til yesterday. It had become easy to stay away in some respect, but it took its toll on me emotionally. I felt like a failure & grew darker by the day.

I was recently gifted a book about the sorted lives of saints before they were saints. I devoured it & realized I was no better or worse off than they... If God could make something of them, whose to say He couldn't do the same with me? I decided I couldn't let another weekend slip by without reconciliation. Its not that I feared being caught off guard & dying in mortal sin... I feared the thought of having to exist alone in my pain even more. Don't get me wrong- I repented to God plenty of times over the course of the month, but it wasn't enough to keep me strong. I needed community.

I'm away from my home church this weekend, so I found myself at my “surrogate parish” preparing for confession. My heart raced as I waited in line. I'd never spoken to this priest before. Would he berate me? Would he listen politely, have me recite something & send me off with a quick absolution? Would I leave feeling any better? Would I leave feeling anything? When my time came, I laid it all out & was kind of surprised that he engaged in an actual conversation with me. He sent me off with an Our Father for my penance & a heartfelt reassurance that I am loved by God & am an important part of the Body of Christ. He commended me for coming to confession & encouraged me to come to Mass no matter what... to hold on to the feeling I have when I partake of the Eucharist & to not let anything keep me from It.

I definitely felt different, but my soul didn't soar 0 to 65 as soon as I left the confessional... I was more like an old beater car that needed extra time to warm up. I sputtered through Mass & approached the Eucharist tentatively. I returned to my kneeler kind of numb, but thankful. I'm a six month old Catholic & I think I'm finally beginning to realize that I can't do this on my own. I need the Body of Christ in community & in the sacraments, like a car needs gas & maintenance. It doesn't run of its own volition, neither can I take care of it just because I have a key & some cash. Others need access to it to help keep it going, but they don't come to me... I have to go to them. Daily devotions & prayers aren't enough to sustain me... I need the Mass, the priest, the community. I need reconciliation & the Eucharist and I need not be alone in this...

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