Sunday, August 30, 2015
Day 8.152 Forgive Me My Sins
I was in fourth grade. In a small Catholic school in Southern California (Not St Peter's on Kona). This will be painful and I wish I could just hit the delete button and bloviate about riding or racing or training or, bloody hell, even swimming, but I need to do this.
It was in our catechism class. We had to memorize the basic tenants of Catholicism, a chore I was never very good at. It confused the heck out of me that all this could be explained by the simple memorization of complex concepts well above my understanding.
Who made me?
God made me.
Yeah, OK, thanks, that helps.
It got worse, a lot worse, from there. I just didn't get it. Nothing made sense to me. I was lost, confused and just wanted to go outside and play. I was good at THAT! I didn't have a terrific relationship with my maker but by God I could hit a baseball half a mile.
When we got to the forgiveness part it really sent my plane into a tailspin.
Let me get this straight - When I go to confession, an altogether horrifying experience in that tiny, dark space - one on one with the Pastor - and confess my sins, they are all instantly forgiven?
What if I did something worse, much worse, than my usual laundry list of evil doings: Talking back to Mom, cussing, being mean to my little sisters, stealing bubble gum from the Drug Store, etc. etc. What if I, as an example, stole a car or robbed a bank or stabbed Sister Finkel with a switchblade? Would five Hail Marys and five Our Fathers get me off the damnation hook?
I was told at the time that, yes, indeed it would.
WOW, I thought, already scheming a heist in the third aisle of the Hobby Shop, this is easy pickings.
It wasn't for many years, many sins and altogether too many memorized prayers as penance that I realized the missing component in all this sin and forgiveness malarkey.
Sincerity. You gotta mean it and vow to avoid the temptation to do it again. Whatever sin 'it' is.
We play pretty fast and loose with the commandments in this age of information. We kill, steal, bear false witness, covet goods and wives, dishonor our elders and make criminals of the poor. Without confession or sentencing.
This is the society and its code that we have built. Upon this rock we lie, steal and cheat for the sole purpose of a accumulating green cotton paper on which proclaims In God We Trust.
I started out this piece, it being Sunday, with the intent of proclaiming some my sins, mistakes, omissions and flat out stupid mistakes that have haunted me since fourth grade. I made another one just yesterday.
Maybe a confession would repair my broke down karma.
Maybe complete catharsis and closure is appropriate at this point on this road.
Maybe I will remember this day as another point on the timeline of a soul still searching for answers.