Face to Face
I am too excited to think about anything right now. I had a few ideas earlier of things that I wanted to write about tonight but every single one keeps getting pushed out of my mind with something like “Who cares?!? Dinner tomorrow!!!”
Yes, yes….we have dinner every day – ha-ha. But tomorrow, I have a dinner date with three of my most favoritest people in the world – Bill, Brittany….and Fr.G. 🙂 It actually hasn’t been that long since we last saw Father….only about 3 weeks. But it was the night of Vianney at his new Parish and there was a ton of activity – we did get to chat a bit, but it was definitely not what I would consider a real visit…..and before that….well, we hadn’t actually seen him since his Installation in July but we e-mail back and forth and have spoken on the phone several times. There’s just nothing like face to face with him.
Face to face…..
Not to continue on my whinging from yesterday…..but just to further illustrate the point I’m trying to make about the difference in demeanor. When I made my First Penance, I was horrified to find myself – at 7 years old – face to face with the cranky, old, miser of a Pastor we had at the Parish I grew up in. Now really, at 7 years old, telling anyone all of the bad things you’ve done is stressful enough….but actually having to sit there and look at that miserable old man while I told him that I didn’t always clean my room when my mom told me to was enough to ruin the sacrament for me for a very long time. And every time I had to have him hear my confession, I knew that he knew it was me on the other side of that screen and that the next time he’d see me he’d tut and shake his head because I was already too far gone to be saved. That’s just the way he was. And granted, I was in grade school so my perception may have been a little skewed but still……..I don’t ever remember voluntarily going to confession after that. And when I was forced to go – with my class or some other group – it was never face to face; I was always behind the screen.
But then one day, I found myself sitting across from Fr.G., in his office – at my request, no less! – for my first confession in a very, very long time. “Forgive me Father, it has been at least 15 years since my last confession….” And I confessed all the little things, and the few big things, and even why I hadn’t been to confession in 15 years. And I felt….great. Not at all that the next time I saw him, he’d be judging me on what I’d just sat and told him…..I honestly felt absolved. I felt lighter. And loved! And for the life of me, at that very moment, couldn’t understand why I had never seen the beauty of the sacrament.
What do I think the difference is in this particular instance? Because I was sitting face to face with someone I honestly believe to be a representative of Christ on Earth. Not a crotchety old man that can tell me what prayers can save my soul and definitely not the high school guidance counselor we have now. Really and truly the next best thing to Jesus Himself telling me my sins have been forgiven.
And that’s exactly as it should be.
The best part about it is, I can still call him up and shoot the breeze or sit across from him at the dinner table and talk about everything from “liturgical abuse” to health care reform and not be surprised he’s even speaking to me anymore after some of the things I’ve told him!
I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
I need a break from PC crap :-p