Last Saturday, Five participated in the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. This used to be called Confession. Now, no one, not even the Director of Religious Education at our church, believes second-graders have "sins" to confess. But sometime in the recent past, the celebration of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion got lumped together in the same year. I don't really know who makes these decisions, because I'm not Catholic. I was raised as a Presbyterian, but we baptised all the boys in the Captain's faith.
I don't regret that decision. We had moved back to the Captain's childhood home when we started having the boys, and we attended his church because his father is a deacon. It's been special to have all the boys baptised by their grandfather, and it sometimes makes it easier to get them to Mass if Grandpa is on the alter. It's a little weird for me, because even after all these years, the service is still not familiar, but I'm sure I could rectify that through simple memorization. Which, for some reason, I keep resisting.
I think it's one of my "identity" triggers. There are some things I've never wanted to change, because I feel like they make me, you know-ME. When I got married, I didn't change my name. That didn't matter after I had children--I simply became Mrs. D. But every time an adult calls me that, I feel like I'm acting a role. The same goes for church. I wouldn't even say I was a practicing Protestant, but I was confirmed in that church, and I guess I don't want to renounce that part of myself.
I took Four up for communion once, and after he received the Eucharist, the priest offered it to me. I declined, asking only for a blessing. It was the first time Father realized I wasn't Catholic. After Mass, he came up to me and said, "We have to make you one of us!" and I felt like I was being chased by the Borg. I don't want to be assimilated! But I did seriously consider it once, after Two stood up for Communion and asked, "Why can't you join us?" It's a valid question, perhaps for both the church and me.
I'm an aide in the sixth grade CCD class at our parish. My mother and I were talking about one of the lessons, and I said I didn't necessarily believe in Heaven. She wondered why I was raising the boys in a faith that I questioned. I told her it was because I believe Jesus was the son of God, and we should live according to his teachings. But I don't think we should do that to get an eternal reward, because our lives are happening now. The reward is now. This life is a gift. The people we love are a gift. We should honor that by doing good works today. I'll find out if I'm right, eventually.
This post was supposed to be about Five's day, but I guess I'm still thinking deep thoughts. Unlike Five, who struggled to find anything to share with the priest. We asked him questions, in an effort to help:
"Are you always nice to your brother?"
"Nicer than he is to me!"
"Are you sometimes sassy to your parents?"
"Do you always try your best in school, and listen to your teacher?"
"Yes. Except for that time when I got in trouble at lunch."
"Do you blame Mom for things?"
"Only when it's her fault."
Five met with the priest, and we watched from a distance as he talked and talked. We didn't ask what he shared, but we were pretty confident he left with a clear conscience. The same one he walked in with, apparently. God bless him.