Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Surprised by Grace

Though there isn’t much to say, I did want to write a little about my first Reconciliation last week. I wasn’t looking forward to it, because it meant confronting years’ worth of the worst of me. But at the same time, I was looking forward to it, because it was to be my first Catholic sacrament, and therefore important to me.

I tend to be a person who tries not to expect much out of things. Setting the bar low means being disappointed less and surprised by joy more. So I went in with no emotional expectations, to just experience it for what it was and not force anything else upon it.

The joy was surprising and premature. The night before I actually went, I did an examination of conscience. The following day, I just felt better. I was happy and energized and couldn’t quite tell why, except that I felt unburdened without even knowing that I was previous burdened.

Despite being nervous because this was my first Reconciliation, it was a positive experience. Afterward, on my way out, I decided to pop back into the nave for a few moments, but once I was there, I realized I didn’t want to leave. I felt good, I felt clean, and I didn’t want to step back into the real world where I would inevitably mess it up again. I just wanted to stay there kneeling, feeling good for as long as I could.

There have been many times that I’ve almost cried in church, but as I’m not a weepy person, usually the feeling passes before actual tears come. This time the tears came. And I was grateful for them. I didn’t stay much longer after that, because at some point my being there wouldn’t be an act of worship but an act of cowering from the world in which I sin. So I left. But the joy remained because I can always go back. Over and over. As much as I need, as much as I want. I tend to see sacraments as a before/after experience. You get baptized; you get married, and then you are forever baptized, forever married. But some sacraments, like Reconciliation and the Eucharist, get to be repeated. I get to fill my life with sacraments. There truly is an abundance of grace.

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