Last night was First Reconciliation night. Alex came home from Cub Scouts wiped out, car sick and with a cold, and I began to wonder if he was going to collapse and miss the sacrament altogether. But dinner perked him up enough. When the formal service ended, all the kids in church made a mad dash for the two priests they know best. I had to chuckle because it all looked rather un-holy. Alex, like all the other kids, steadfastly refused to go to Confession to a priest they didn’t know.
I went to Confession too…a not-altogether satisfactory experience. In the past, I’ve always felt less nervous going to someone who didn’t know me from Adam. But the priest was offering direction like take a few minutes to pray and we don’t always have to have noise and distraction going. I was hard-pressed not to smile, considering that was exactly the subject of the column I just turned in to Liguorian magazine not eight hours earlier. I tried to look at it as an excercise in humility, and remind myself that the grace of the sacrament doesn’t depend on my emotional satisfaction. But it made me appreciate a confessor who knows you.
Alex came out of Confession wiping his runny nose, and we went back to where Christian was waiting with the other three kids. I took over kid duty so he could receive the sacrament himself. In the meantime, the pastor finished with the kids who’d been in line behind Alex and strolled up the center aisle. As he passed us he tossed me a wry grin, which I interpreted as a wordless reference to the history of the many penance services we had done together while I was working as liturgy director. “So, Alex,” I said, returning my attention to my kids, “were you nervous?’
“Yes,” he said, “I started crying.”
And I thought: Oh, so THAT’S what that smile was all about!
At the beginning of the year, the pastor encouraged us all to do something to celebrate First Reconciliation so it doesn’t seem like it’s so much less important than First Communion. My solution? Ice cream! We went over to the mall and got Blizzards. I saved calories all day to allow me to go. A Chocolate Extreme Blizzard, size small, has 630 calories, according to DQ’s website. So I ordered a small, and split it three ways. Meaning I had a very miniscule amount of Blizzard. And yet, after a six- or eight-week “fast” from them altogether…let me tell you, that was one satisfying 1/3 of a Blizzard. Moderation, people. It’s all about moderation.
And finally, re the big event just past last Tuesday: my thoughts mirror those of Rae at Vita Catholic.