Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Thinking inside the box
My confessing yesterday that I went to confession got a bunch of funny comments on Facebook that I got such a kick out of I copied them onto the Web log. I confess I do that sometimes because on Facebook the comments disappear and I like to keep them and remember who said what.
"I confess." There I go again!
I cannot stop confessing!
How about that priest yesterday?
My friend Michelle, the owner of yesterday's hip phone, thought he was Montgomery Clift. I wonder what movie that is from. It sounds like a movie I should see!
The one thing I did not get around to confessing yesterday is that there is funny etiquette involved when you go to confession and you are dealing with a priest whom you know.
When you go to confession you can go to a church where nobody knows you and be anonymous. Usually that is what I do. Well, I do run the risk at St. Michael's of running into that priest I see at parties. But it is not as if he knows me or anything.
On Monday for a variety of reasons I thought I should go see Father Secondo because he could better understand the kettle of fish I was in -- to use a Laurel and Hardy expression I love.
The bulletin said confession was after 8 a.m. Mass. There are only three people at Mass, me being one, and when it ended, the padre walked off, exit stage right. And I am kneeling there, wondering, what next? Does he come out again? Do I have to go back there and get him? If I had to I was ready to do that because as I mentioned this was an emergency situation.
I had never been to confession at St. Anthony's. I did not even know where the confessional was.
Then this guy who had been in one of the front pews seemed to have business with the priest. He gets up and I hear him offstage telling the padre something like, "I can do it now."
And I am in my pew mimicking him. "I can do it now."
What about me?
What about my confession?
Finally the priest walks out and I am able to collar him. I asked if he was, uh, hearing confessions. He sized up the situation and he walks to the back of the church and I follow him. And there is this confessional there. Father Secondo wordlessly opens the one door and goes in and closes the door. And he switches on the light in the box next to him and that is my signal to walk in which I do.
So, even though we know each other, there is this anonymous feeling.
And we do the confession. Which, as I may have said before: If anyone out there is the way I used to be, I mean, you are Catholic but you have not been to confession in decades, do what I did and go back. Just do it. Be brave. Go. I am serious.
Here you are going through your day and suddenly there is this slice of the 10th century. Plus there is nothing like hearing those words: "I absolve you of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit." Honest, on Monday, I was feeling awful. You know in your heart when you have screwed up majorly and that is how I felt. Everything was so much better when I walked out.
Speaking of walking out, modern etiquette rules do not cover 10th century matters. So I was wondering what was going to happen when my confession was over. When we emerged from the confessional, would Father Secondo and I socialize the way we sometimes do after Mass, yak about this and that?
I soon learned the answer to that one.
It is: No!
I heard his door open and I heard him walk out and I knelt there for a minute to be polite. Then I opened my door and walked out.
And the padre is just puttering around, doing priest stuff, not acknowledging me. So I took the hint and went to a pew to say my prescribed five Hail Marys, not a bad penance considering the stuff we had just gone over.
It is funny how every time I go to confession the experience is different.
Perhaps next time I will go to Holy Angels where Leonard Pennario went.
Perhaps I will go to Fourteen Holy Helpers.
It is always an adventure!