Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Joy and Grief - Part 2

There are some issues that are so laden with emotional feelings either so full of grief are so full of joy that it's difficult to speak of them are right about them without getting teary. These are the things that are just too big to cut into something so simple is work. But I'm going to try anyway

Beezus celebrated the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion last week. This is such a big deal for our family for so many reasons, and even my friends who are not religious understand how monumental this is. I know that this should be about Beezus, and it should be about her relationship with God, but I simply cannot separate myself from this event.

I have grieved for the loss of the Church that I came to know and love as a child, as a teen, and as a young adult.  I grieve every time I read (again) of the sinfulness and failings of our human church leaders.  But somehow, someway, I trusted that kernel that was deep inside myself that reminded me of the joy I felt at my own First Reconciliation and First Communion.  The joy I felt as an altar server.  The joy I felt as a high school student meeting other young people.  As a college student on retreat and deepening into a more mature relationship with the Holy Trinity.  The joy I feel at mass or in prayer.  Finally, the joy I felt when discovering the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the religious education program that my children attend.

With all of my issues, and for all of my worries about the Catholic Church and how to raise my female children in the Church, I feel a sense of accomplishment that I may have helped get Beezus to this point, that I have in some way nurtured her relationship with God.  There will be plenty of time for her to uncover the ugliness of the human side of our Church.  For now, I want her to see the beauty and feel the joy.

Part of my profound sense of all at this event, is because I have very clear and vivid memories of my First Reconciliation and First Communion. I remember my dress, the church, the location of my religious education class.  I remember my teacher explaining First Reconciliation, waiting in the pew, and giving my confession to the priest.  I can picture every single detail and every single minute of that time.

Most of all, I remember the profound sense of relief and grace.  Even at that young age of seven, I knew that receiving the sacrament was special.

I've tried to explain this to Beezus, but it is yet another one of those things that simply cannot adequately be put into words. Instead I smile thinking of my own memories and hoping that at some point in her young life she may also have some of the same profound experiences, so that when her faith is tested ... when she is disappointed with her church ... she can rely on these memories to help draw her through and remember the beauty that is there in the Catholic Church.


Peg said...

I so remember my first communion, but not for the best reason. In the reception afterwards, I snuck into the school playground afterwards with the boys to play tag. I tripped over the big root of a tree, tore apart my knees and ruined my dress. Looking back, I'm so happy my parents didn't get mad at me. My mom told me that I was lucky to get some bonus blessings that day with my first communion after what I did to my beautiful white dress :)

Congrats to Beezus and mommy!

Elaine said...

She looks both proud and happy. I'm so glad the day went well, Ellen. What beautiful memories you are both passing on and preserving.

Laurie said...

I love that picture of her. She looks so proud and sure of herself. It sounds like a wonderfully special event.

Marya said...

I am so happy the day was wonderful for both of you. I know how much it meant/means to you.

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