Saturday, February 17, 2007
Today was a milestone day for Danny, the day of his first Reconciliation in the Catholic church. Confession in the old days. I remember as a girl hearing Protestants make negative comments about Confession - as if Catholics had it easy and could just tell the priest what they had done wrong and go out and sin again. That's not the way it was presented to Danny and his classmates and family members. It was presented as the sacramental culmination of a careful process of examination of conscience. The feeling surrounding it is like that surrounding the Days of Awe in Judaism. I found the questions posed regarding examination of conscience helpful in my own growth, and so did Danny. Its interesting to have common language with him - the ability to talk about hurting other people or hurting God's heart. The church, St. Austin's, has two superb educators working with the kids, teaching them to take their spiritual journeys seriously. Their path isn't mine, but sitting with the families, watching Joanna and the other mothers and daddies bless their children tenderly - eyes, ears, mouths, andseeing the love in the eyes of parents and children alike, I was deeply touched. Processing with silent families from parish hall into church glowing with sunlight through stained glass, altar adorned with delicate displays of white pussy willow, the words "I want to walk as a child of the light" - all touched me deeply. It was good to see families focusing so much gentle attention on the moral development of their children, beautiful that they have a community that serves them with such care. Danny, I noticed, treated all of us - especially his brother and sister with particular kindness all day, and his demeanor seemed especially sweet - even more than usual that of a child of the light. I am and will remain a little outside the spiritual commnity in which my grandchildren are being raised, but I have enormous respect for it.