• 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 16 (Lapsed Catholic)

    lapsed catholic

    Sunday, July 27, 2014

    Day 16 of 100 Days of Good Karma.

    At my former-vanpool operator’s invitation, I went to mass today.

    (Wait.  Do you hear that?  That’s my mother cheering in California.) 

    I sat with Paul’s family and participated in all the Catholic rituals I could remember.

    I felt like the worst kind of hypocrite.  The kind that the priests of my childhood used to lecture us about:  Catholics that only goes to church on Easter or Christmas or when life deals them a shitty card and they pop in to ask ‘why’.

    After more than sixteen years, I was pretty rusty.

    I remembered to dip my finger in the holy water when I arrived and left, and I remembered to genuflect before sitting in the pew.

    That’s where my memory broke down.

    When the priest said “Peace be with you”, a habit deeply ingrained from childhood demanded that I respond with “And also with you” but everyone else around me said something else.

    Other things were different, too.  Two words: alter girls.

    I fumbled when the offering plate was passed around.

    My mom was raised Catholic.  She was always prepared for the offering plate, pressing a dollar into my hand when she sensed the time approaching.  She would never have been caught off guard by the offering plate.  Last night I wished she was sitting next to me so she could tell me what I was supposed to do next.

    I stood, sat, and knelt at all the right times, but only because I followed the cues of those around me.

    One thing was the same:  The sense of a community.  It filled the high ceilinged room.

    Afterward the mass ended, I hung around the parking lot to talk to Paul and his family.

    “I’ve forgotten so much,” I told them. “All the words were different!”

    I was relieved when Paul told me the words of the mass were recently re-translated.  “I still have to look at the book sometimes,” he said.

    This made me feel better.

    Paul invited me back next Sunday.

    Who knows.

    Maybe I’ll go.

    Today’s silver lining:  Doing something that scared me.  And a good friend by my side while I did it.

    Thank you, Paul.  Even though your name is really Phil.

    What’s your silver lining today?  I love comments!


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21 Responsesso far.

  1. Jeannie says:

    I love this, Meghan!!! Totally made me smile!!! There is nothing greater than God’s love for us! Sometimes I think we are dealt things, that we don’t understand, only to see how He is pulling us toward Him. You taking that step and going to church was a wonderful thing!! You will go back…and you’ll also bring your family with you one day! And before you know it, it will be a normal habit to go to church on Sundays. Would you have went to church yesterday if you hadn’t been diagnosed with breast cancer? Probably not. It’s God pulling you toward Him!;). He is the light of the world! Keep going! Yes, the words are different in some parts…okay, in a lot, but the meaning and the feel you get and the love of Christ is all the same!;). I love you, Meghan, and today this story lines me with silver!;). Thank you!!!;)

  2. Monica says:

    That’s great MegHan! I felt the same way about them changing the words on me!Once again, your posts brought tears to my eyes! Kudos to you and Phil!

    • Meghan says:

      I thought it was kind of Phil to let me sit with them instead of corralling me off in the back with the other sinners. 😉

  3. Leslee says:

    I’m like you! Believer, just don’t go to church! Went to Catholic school till sixth grade, church every Sunday till about 16. (Then the rebel yrs came) I believe I can worship our Lord with prayer no matter where I am! I believe he listens to me as long as I have faith! That gets me thru my days!! He doesn’t turn anyone away!!!

  4. Annette Foster says:

    FYI……I still follow the cues around me. Xoxo

  5. Phil or Paul or BEAVO (I answer to all 3) says:

    Dear Meghan with an H,
    I’m a sinner too. That’s one of the reasons I go to church. And, another is that sense of community you felt. Actually, there are many reasons too numerous to mention here. However, I thought your friend Jeannie summed it up beautifully. We all have difficult situations in our personal lives that pull us towards God in different ways. You are encountering one of those now. You are always welcome at St. B’s and me and my family would be honored to have you at our side everytime. You are my friend and all of us in this blog are part of your community. We will help you and your family get through this together. You are in my thoughts and prayers every day, but especially tomorrow. I hope to see you again on Sun no matter what the results are this week.

  6. Pam says:

    Hey Meghan!

    This made me laugh so hard. I’m visiting my mother in Quebec and she called me yesterday and said, “Hey, do you want to go to a funeral with me today?” I said, “Um, who died?” She named someone I’d never heard of and explained that this was the wife of her third cousin who went to school at the same Catholic orphanage as her in the 1950s (even though neither was an orphan). I said, “Sure. I’ll pick you up at 10.” So we went to the funeral and the Catholic mass, and whoa — not only was it in French (I’m not that great with French prayers, although I used to know it), but everything was different. There was a eulogy from the altar followed by applause from the crowd, a strangely-translated version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and a really lovely and relaxed sermon that frankly addressed the fact that most Quebecers aren’t big believers these days. The message of the sermon was, roughly translated, “If you love life, you love God. The recently deceased loved her family, her friends, and country music, so she loved God. Celebrate.”

    I haven’t been to church in years, but if there was a nice relaxed Catholic church like this in my neighborhood, I would consider it. Sounds like you’ve found a great place to hang…..

    Big hugs,
    And I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the entire day today as I send the very best, strongest vibes I can muster–

    • Meghan says:

      I love that you were invited to a funeral as though going out for coffee. *sigh* Only Catholics…

      And thank you for the good vibes. I appreciate every single one. 🙂

  7. Brenda says:

    Give me a shout and I’ll go with you!

  8. I just recently had to go back to church to be a godparent for my nephews baptism. It was really weird to have all the words changed. I thought of you and all our CCD adventures. Father McMann (sp??) is totally how I picture God…or maybe it’s because I thought he was God for so long. Weird what our young brains latch on to.

  9. Mom says:

    Well, I’ll be! Wait till I tell your Dad! It felt that way when I decided to go back to church with you kids. Thank God for Sister Sharon and the Mass had changed then too! I can still remember your First Communion. or was it your Confirmation anyway,your hair was so close to you that candle that we all thought you you’d catch on fire. Then there were those hymns that they sang on Sister Act I and you’d look at me and say, No Mom! It was fun! Then times change. I would like Father Riley back or is it O’Riley so. Thank you for sharing this! Love you, Mom

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