Monday, September 10, 2007
Tell Me Something Good
I have some really big fish to fry here on the blog, so I want to attend to a couple of small matters before my next big tome. I have a lot of thinking to do about that upcoming tome and I need to sweep out my brain, which is still stuck to my skull from last week's first half week of school. At this point, I'm pleased to announce, all of the children survived and found their way back home from school again(eventually). Some of them now know their own last names. After tomorrow there will be a certain first grader who will be able to tie his shoes. I'll be seeing to that personally.
So here are the two things I have to get out of the way: More on heaven. Readers questions about confession.
More on heaven.
This has really been sticking with me. Friday was the Ladies of the Parish Card Party. It's one of those monthly events that has everyone arguing about what to serve, what type of table decoration will hold the table mints, who's in charge and on and on, every month. Then everyone plays cards and has a great time.
Well, almost everyone. (I myself have a good time watching them have a good time as long as I know they've settled on who will put up the chairs and tables when they are done. I'll have an even better time if I know that person knows how to stack the tables and chairs properly so that an hour later we don't hear a horrible crash when they all slide to the floor.)Sometimes there is resentment about who did what, who didn't do much, who feels slighted and who feels put upon.
And in this regard my two topics meld. I have to hear confessions. Not Confessions. Don't get your socks rolled up. Only a priest can hear Confessions. (And only men are priests. There are no men within a mile of the Ladies Card Party, unless you count our janitor, Mr. Schlaganhoff. He's cowering somewhere waiting for the tables to crash.)
No, I hear the confessions of who did or did not do what they were supposed to do, why someone feels slighted and who got put upon. Last year one of the women told me she was so tried of how put upon she was feeling that she was going to change parishes. Not only was she doing most of the heavy lifting for the Card Party, she was always left holding the empty box and the bill for the donuts for "Breakfast with Father" every other Saturday.
I generally just take it all in, because during a confession (small 'c'), people just want to vent. I can listen to people vent all day. I'll confess. I get a bang out of it. It's almost always funny to listen to people go on about their tribulations, the petty ones. It helps them get it off of their chests and it helps me think about my own stupid gripes and just drop them. It's a win/win.
But at the point where someone's going to change parishes because they have just had it with the people around them or the music that's playing or the organ being too loud (that's a real big one in our parish...it's a real big organ) I just have to say, "What do you think heaven will be like? Are you hoping none of these people get in? "
Seriously, people, who do you think you're going to be sitting next to in heaven? If right now you sit on the other side of the pew or go in the other door so you don't have to look Mrs. Blarney in the eye, you're going to have a big problem when she's seated at your right hand in heaven, eating the donuts you paid for. Perhaps the two of you will have to arm wrestle it out over a few hundred years in Purgatory. Or however long it takes. It does make me worry about another War in Heaven.
Readers questions about Confession:
I was a nervous wreck going into confession. Seriously - drenched with sweat, light-headed, my mind went blank. I'm not sure why, because I had desired to have this sacrament for so long but was unable until my marriage was convalidated. Father was very gentle, just wonderful (bless him!!) and gave me absolution for all the confessed sins and those forgotten.
I still feel heavy in a way though.. because in my nervousness I didn't really cover some things I wanted to have totally forgiven. Is it ok to go over those things next week? I have read that any unconfessed mortal sin makes the absolution invalid. Did I do that? Not even sure.....but I want to do this right.
Everything is totally forgiven as of Father's absolution. It's only when you leave things out on purpose that you have a problem. Not only do you not get absolution for the sins you left out, you've committed yet another sin by leaving them out on purpose. May as well march right back in there. Or over there, depending what type of Confession you have.
But you can go over the old list again if it makes you feel better. Part of the purpose of Confession is to make you feel better. I say "Go for it!"
no way can I remember 50-odd years of sins. Impossible. How to even begin. The task is so onerous I fear I won't be able to even start. And what priest will want to listen to a multi-page list of sins?
When one does this at so advanced an age, is it not sufficient to list what I consider my largest faults/sins & just say "I'm sorry," in general, for everything wrong I've done all my life? Does one really have to remember & confess to every single thing? I'm not even talking about things like murder or grand theft auto (ha) but simply being rude, insincere, lying, the myriad things most people do every day without even thinking much about it? No one can remember every little thing after a lifetime like this.
No, they can't, unless their name is "Mr. Memory". Go for the big stuff and the reoccurring character flaws. There's a difference between having told some lies and being a liar. There's a difference between being mad at someone and holding a grudge. Just ask Mrs. Blarney, who has noticed that you never sit next to her. Like me, if you're old, you're an old sinner. Be sorry for everything, told, unremembered, oblivious to....
Gotta go. Untied shoe laces beckon.