Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Will I Get a Lump of Coal, Otherwise?

So last night I dreamed about standing in line to go to confession. Literally, just standing in line to go to confession. The thing about it that was weird was that it was in this Eastern Orthodox church and I knew this (I guess) because the church looked a lot like St. Mark's in Venice and also because the priest had on a black cassock and some serious headgear. All I can really remember about the dream was that I kept thinking that I needed to remember to tell him that I was from the Latin Rite and make sure it didn't make a difference.

There is typically a pretty strong emphasis on penance during Lent, but I have been thinking about something Fr. Stephen said in his homily on Sunday and I think there should be more at Advent as well. I know we have penance services here, but I think that's more because they have them twice a year. Anyway, I tend to be one of those people who puts a lot of mental stock into the beginning and end of things. For example, I would never start a diet or an exercise regimen or anything on say, a Wednesday. I would start on a Monday or the first of a month or on my birthday or something. So it seems to make sense to me that maybe we should ready our souls for the symbolic coming of Christ as a testament to our overall readying for his ultimate coming. Besides, having sins on my soul, as I have learned, makes me tired, or cranky, or just generally unhappy, and I can see that going to confession at the beginning of Advent might make the whole stress of the secular Christmas holiday a bit easier to deal with. But confession, the ability to be reconciled and wiped clean, is one of the greatest gifts we have been given as Catholics, and what better time to celebrate this than this season of giving?

So maybe my subconcious was telling me something. I guess I better find out when those penance services are....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"God Doesn't Require Us to Succeed; He Only Requires That You Try"

My darling husband (who deserves all the props in the world for his support) suggested I start this blog with "a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step" because I really didn't know how to start it. Truth is, I still don't. I can't really give you a conversion story (or reversion, as it were), because I don't feel like I have completely converted. I'm still in the middle of it, really, or even closer to the beginning. No road to Damascus, no Tim Staples style wake-up, even. Just me, trying to grasp at something and, as usual, struggling with about a million questions. So I guess here's a brief background: I'm writing this blog because I was born Catholic. And no matter how much I tried to deny it, no matter how much I jokingly referred to myself as "recovering," I still prayed the rosary when I couldn't sleep, still crossed myself when I passed a church and still fasted every Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The Catholic Church followed me thought my life, looming like one of those dark Medieval paintings in the background of everything I did. I stopped going to Church at one point because I decided I had too many questions that had no answers-- but I never stopped actually trying to find the answers. Mary brought me back, as she has brought so many people back, when I was trying to prove her and the Church wrong. And somewhere I decided that I needed comfort, stability, faith more than I needed answers. And suddenly, just like that, answers began to show themselves. But I still struggle. In all honesty, it's the struggles, the stumbling blocks that are bringing me here. The things that, if I don't put them somewhere will most likely cause my head to explode. Maybe someone else will find some answers, too, or someone to relate to (it's hard being surrounded by people to whom "it's a mystery" is a viable answer.) But at the very least, I won't keep my husband up at night with all my incessant questions about chapel caps being anti-feminist, how the whole Original Sin thing really worked and why I can't knowingly attend at Society of Pius X church when I just want to see a Latin Mass. At the very least, maybe now we can all get some sleep.