Bless me Father for I have sinned

I remember as a child going to confession.  It was truly scary in the beginning, having to tell the parish priest that you lied to your parents five times, swore a couple of times , and punched Jimmy once.  You couldn’t see the priest because of some thing between the two of you to obscure facial features and, of course, being Catholic, you had to kneel. 

Every time we went to confession was like taking the car to the shop for an inspection and some minor repairs.  Ten Our Fathers and ten Hail Mary’s later, you could start all over again.  There were venial sins and mortal sins.  Mortal sins were going against the ten commandments so if you had sex with your neighbor, you were sure to go to hell unless you saw the priest and he absolved you from all your sins.  I guess he was as close to God as anyone except the pope.  I was always under the impression that if you screwed with a “holy person” you’d surely go to hell.

When I saw murders, violent crimes and other things not only in my youth but even later on in life, I wonder if there are priests everywhere to “absolve” people who commit violent crimes of their sins.I remember when I started going to a Baptist Church.  I thought my mother was going to blow a gasket but once I explained why, she understood.  She blew the gasket when they spent all sorts of money to “remodel” the church from pews to a new organ.  The gasket really blew when she found out that the pews weren’t good enough for her church but good enough for another one plus the organ costing plenty of money. 

I was taught that if you kept your nose clean and were a good person, you’d go to heaven.  I was also taught that only a priest could interpret the bible.  When I was on a ship and I’d read the words off the Penthouse magazine, it was time to take a look at the bible.  I read it from cover to cover and found it fascination.  When I got divorced, even though the marriage was in Las Vegas as opposed to the church, my mother implored me to go to confession.  I quoted Deuteronomy where it stated that divorce was perfectly acceptable but her insistence and constant questioning finally forced me to go talk to the parish priest.

Instead of going into the little claustrophobic room and kneeling on the bench waiting for the door to open, I was greeted by the parish priest, invited to sit down for a face to face.  It was more a conversation than confession  where I told him that my mother insisted I see him about the divorce and he smiled, almost laughing, as he nodded his head.  The last question he asked of me was “are you truly sorry.”  I guess my mild mannered demeanor turned a little hostile when I glared at him and said a resounding no.  He looked at me with a quizzed look on his face and asked me why.  My response was deliberate and determined by saying why should I be sorry about something I thought was right?  He chuckled, telling me I had a point but say five Our Fathers and five Hail Mary’s anyways.  My demeanor changed again as I laughed and agreed to do just that.

The reason why I remember that so much is that’s the last time I ever went to confession in the Catholic Church.  I believe the last time I was in a Catholic Church was when my mother died many years ago.  Does this mean that I haven’t sinned in all those years?  The answer to that is definitely no but I decided to cut out the middle man and speak directly.  Do I believe in God?  That’s a question I’ve debated for years especially with Dayna.

Dayna believed in the power of the moon and nature.  Yes, she was a witch and that was one of the more fascinating things about her.  We both agree in evolution because it happens all around us.  It’s hard to argue with that point.  We debated things all the way back to the big bang theory.  My question was and still is “what started that?”  I don’t think that God created everything in six days because who knew how long a day was back when things were forming.  I believe in miracles and also believe that people watch over me and on occasion, screw with me.

I’ll sometimes feel that feeling on the back of my neck when my mother use to stare holes in me waiting for me to stop at my keyboard or the smell of lavender in the air.  Usually, when I’m just down, somebody shows up and hits me upside the head.  Sometimes it’s the small things like being visited or having to say five Our Fathers and five Hail Mary’s.

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