I am not a religious person. I do however have a Faith. I probably wouldn't be considered a good practicer.
Yes I go to church, but not faithfully each week. There are some things about my religion that I don't necessarily agree with, but most I believe in whole heartedly. I love the pageantry and the ceremony of it. I believe in forgiveness and I pray for what is right and good. I am however a firm believer in "taking what I like and leaving the rest behind." I am raising my children in my religion because it is important to believe in something and this is what I know so I am passing it on. I hope I'm passing on the best of what my religion has to offer. It's values pertaining to honesty, being a good and kind person, forgiveness, following the example of the good and turning away the bad, being a good neighbor and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I have to admit however, that I have not done the best job teaching my son his prayers and I do regret that, so I'm trying to work on that with him. This is a pretty important year for him. The year he receives Holy Communion for the first time.
He calls it, "Jesus bread." Which pretty much sums it up. He will truly receive the Body of Christ.
In preparation of that, today he received the sacrament of First Reconciliation. When I was a kid we called it First Confession.
The new name is an attempt (an a good one at that) of making it more child friendly. Let's face it, confessing all the "bad" stuff you did is not exactly something every 8 year-old wants to do.
I told him just to be honest. Tell about the things that you've done that you aren't so proud of.
We arrived at church in plenty of time. He sat with the rest of his Sunday school class and his teachers. We parents were seated in the pews a few rows back. He sat with his friends, all with very nervous looks on their faces.
After a few minutes he got up and came back to find me.
"Mom. Do you have a pen?"
"No I don't. Go back and sit down."
"I really need a pen."
"I don't have one. Go sit down."
So back he went. On the way he ran in to his teacher.
"Mrs. P do you have a pen?"
"Here you go."
He sat down and started writing. I had no idea what he was so intent on writing down. His long list of 8 year-old sins?
I figured out a long time ago that when he gets an idea in his head there is no changing it.
He wrote and wrote and wrote. Then finally, with a satisfied look on his face, handed his teacher back her pen.
She came back to me chuckling.
"He wrote the Act of Contrition on his hands."
"He's going to Confession with Crib notes scribbled on the palms of his hands?"
Cheating. Cheating at Confession.
When it was all over he was beaming with a smile from ear to ear. His soul cleansed. A clean slate. Faith restored.
"How was it."
"It was good. Can we go to basketball now?"
"Sure. But let me see your hands."
"I didn't want to forget anything and it wouldn't all fit on one hand!"
"I understand, but that's cheating you know."
"Mom! Do I have to go back and tell!"
"No, we'll just save it for next time."
Yep. Very cool.