As I grew older, religion took a back seat. I became a “necessity prayer”. Money short one month? Pray to the Patron Saint of Money, Saint Matthew. Lost a valuable item? Pray to Saint Anthony. Catholics have Saints for everything from illness to selling your house. All you had to do was find the correct saint to pray to.
I began attending church only on those ‘need to attend days’ like Christmas, Easter, the occasional wedding, baptism or funeral. My religion had become a daunting part of my life. Other events became more important to me. I made excuses constantly plus it didn’t help that my husband at the time had no interest in church life. Nonetheless, I still prayed to Mother Mary, every night, on my knees, with my hands clasped, and always ending with the sign of the cross. That was the one thing that I could not compromise. Protection for my children.
My husband now, is a devout Christian. When we met, religion came up in one of our conversations. I told him stories about growing up and how somehow, church became a scary place for me. My religion had become a source of fear more than peace. The priests seemed to be so unapproachable and larger than life, but not in a good, hero type of symbol. I was made to feel that if you didn’t confess your sins to a priest in a confessional, you would never get to heaven. How could I confess to everything that took place in my everyday life? Catholics consider impatience, anger, envy, jealousy and laziness a sin. You can’t feel proud of be boastful, speak ill of someone or refuse to forgive one that has wronged you.? I believe that this is where the phrase “I’ll put the fear of God into you” was derived from. I was even afraid that some priest might tell me one day, “Sorry, Cyn, that sin is way too heavy for God to forgive you…there is no salvation for you”.
Scott laughed at me. He said “Close your eyes and say ‘God I have sinned. Forgive me.’ Once you have done that, God will say “What sin?” I looked at him with a perplexed look and asked why would I be forgiven so easily? “Because God is an ALL forgiving God. He knows your sin before you do and He still loves you.” It was difficult for me to comprehend what he was explaining to me. “Would you consider going to church with me?” he asked.
My life forever changed….