Okay, so for those of you just tuning in… here’s the scoop:
Back in November, I was fully received as a member into the Catholic Church. So, I had the whole confirmation ceremony, received the Eurcharist for the first time, etc. It was all very meaningful and moving and memorable.
I was super excited about it. I loved becoming Catholic. I love being Catholic. And usually, I’m very cool and calm and collected about being Catholic.
And then there are days when I act like “New Girl” Jessica Day and completely lose it because… let’s be honest… after two months of being Catholic… I STILL DON’T HAVE A FLIPPIN’ CLUE AS TO WHAT I AM DOING.
Take last night, for instance. Last night should have been a regular, boring evening of taking down the Christmas tree (Yes, because I AM that lame. Don’t you be judging me…) and catching up on my reading for my weekly women’s group. But… because I am me… it turned into an evening of very little sleep and a great wailing and gnashing of teeth.
You see… the topic being covered in this unit of our women’s group is sin… and how to root out sin in our lives.
And… because I am me, and a naturally curious person by nature, I started thinking about all these various sins and what they mean and what the Catechism says about these various sins.
Well, imagine my surprise when I found out that those “silly, little, inconsequential sins” that I simply assumed were regular stumbling blocks for Christians on a daily basis turned out to be… (drum roll please)… MORTAL SINS… because they were GRAVE in nature.
I thought for a sin to be GRAVE in nature, it had to cause actual harm to another living being. Apparently, I was wrong. Wrong, wrong… wrongity, wrong, wrong, wrong.
*BOOM* You’ve just been owned, son. (As my 3rd graders would say…)
Imagine my surprise to further realize that while I was committing all these MORTAL SINS, I was NOT in a state of grace while receiving the Eucharist, but rather in a state of SIN for which my soul would be eternally damned if I were to die that very moment.
And because I am me, the surprise turned to shock turned to panic turned to terror, until I was worked up into such a frenzy there was nothing but nausea and sleeplessness for the rest of the night.
It got so bad that I woke up screaming in the middle of the night, and tossed and turned until the clock read 7:30. That’s when I pulled out my laptop to e-mail a priest for guidance and an emergency confession session.
I laid it all out. “I did this and this, and I knew I shouldn’t have done this and this, but I did it, and I didn’t know it was a grave sin, and now I’ve received the Eucharist while in a state of mortal sin, and I’m so horrified that I offended my Lord and savior and I don’t know what to do!!!” (In so many words. Basically, if he had had his speakers on, he could have heard me hyperventilating through the e-mail.)
Honestly? I never mean to be a basket case, but… sometimes my imagination and emotions get the best of me and… there’s no stopping that freight train.
And truly, I have to feel sorry the priests at my church. I mean… they deal with my fruit-cakiness on a near-daily basis. The poor things. I mean, they must just hate checking their e-mails. “Good grief, woman. What did you do now that you didn’t really do?”
And yet, I’m always surprised by their calm, gentle, patient, level-headed responses. I sometimes think it would be better if they would just…
But no. He just tells me in so many words, “Chill. You’re fine. If you didn’t intentionally leave it out, you’re not in a state of sin. Just confess it next time.”
You mean I’m NOT going to hell?
I was so horrified and embarrassed by my desperate e-mail that I couldn’t even respond. The dude has enough on his plate without dealing with this fruitcake over here.
Apparently, I’m going to be just fine. Apparently, I’m not in a state of mortal sin. Apparently, I AM a fruitcake who doesn’t know how to rationally deal with things.
You guys… why can’t I be normal? What’s wrong with me? Why must I freak out over all this God stuff? I used to be a normal Protestant. Now I’m all “Crazy Catholic”. Like, chill out, woman. Get it together already.
It’s just that… I haven’t quite figured out how all this works. And until I have a full grasp on something, I can’t be comfortable with it. And I KNOW, there’s a learning curve but… Catholicism is hard, you guys. Sometimes I can be a perfectly cool Catholic who keeps it all together… and other times, I’m Jessica Day.