Tag Archives: Catholic

The God Sessions

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When I was a little girl, I used to say my prayers every night before I went to bed.  I was raised Catholic and so I started my prayers by making the sign of the cross, “ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.“

I would then recite the Lord’s Prayer also known as an “Our Father” then move to a “Hail Mary.”  It was more to help me understand each word as well as to remember the prayers.  When through with those,  I would start asking God to bless my mom and dad,  brothers and sisters, and grandparents.  Then I would start going up our street mentally and ask for blessings for all my friends and their moms and dads, their brothers and sisters  (all by names) until I went down the whole block.  Then I got to my teachers at school, pets that lived in our neighborhood, special intentions for anyone I knew that was ill.  I included the children that were starving in Africa. Every night when Mom had to scrape our dinner plate into the trash she reminded us how there were kids starving in Africa and how they gladly would eat all this food that she was scraping off.  Then I always asked God to please help the person who needed it the most.    I wanted God to help that person first as I knew someone always has it worse than another.

During the day I had an abundant prayer life as well but it was a bit more quirky.  It was magical-thinking meets superstition meets magic 8-ball.

I would stand in my driveway by myself with my basketball and talk to God. In these God sessions I’d ask him important stuff as well as the very mundane.  No question was too big or too small.   Like,”are my parents going to let me sleep over Cindy’s house?” Then I’d hurl the basketball up into the net.  Mind you my little body and hands were so small I had to throw underhand.  If the ball went in the answer was yes.  If it missed that meant God was saying no.

If I was really disappointed with God’s answer, as the case sometimes was, I would say, ”let’s do this three times and 2 our of three times will decide.”  After doing  best out of three,  I would finally have acceptance at that point.

The thing was, I truly believed that God was speaking to my 8-year-old self through that basketball net. It wasn’t hocus pocus. Only now in retrospect do I feel a bit silly.  But only for a moment.  The larger part of me feels wistful and wishes I could go back in time and recapture that time again.   My faith was strong then.  I had such a deep connection to God.

I’ve had prayer life and deep faith for most of my life.  Now,  I feel so lost and don’t know how to get that back.  I’m scared.  What if I can’t? Maybe its the evil one whispering that to me?  But if I can get my prayer life back, how do I?  how?

 

 

 


Blogging is like confession, without the Hail Marys and Our Fathers

nun_ruler

 

It’s so true isn’t it?

I come here and unload all the shit that churns around in the recesses of my mind and my soul.   All the benefits that comes with the process of confession, none of the fear of being chastised and told to repent.

So there’s something inherently therapeutic about the whole thing.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch Pope Benedict resigns….


The first one

Theres always a first for everything I guess.

The first time you ride a bike.

The first kiss.

The first time you get lost on a road trip.

*****

 

It was 1985 and I was fifteen.  I was a young fifteen though.  My father’s mom had passed away that summer.  She was first generation Italian.  She had left 7 sons.  Growing up my family seemed a lot like the Sopranos.  The kitchen was always the center of the house, smoke-filled.  The men sat around the table and the women cooked and talked.  The smoke was so thick that us kids took to sitting underneath the tables so we could breathe more easily.  My grandma died in the operating theatre and never made it through surgery.  It was the first time I ever saw my dad cry when he received the phone call.

When I got to the funeral home, it smelled like eucalyptus and carnations.  I never forgot the smell, it was so stifling it made me gag.   Yankee Candle needs to come up with a scent called “funeral home” because there hasn’t been a wake since that I’ve been to that hasn’t had the same wake-y smell.   I saw the casket but avoided it.  I could hear my uncle in the bathroom moaning “ohhhh the agita…..” as he popped more Tums.

Eventually two of my uncles literally shoved me and my cousin up to the casket and told us to pay our respects.  We knelt down, scared shit.  Grandma didn’t look like grandma.  Her hands clasping her rosary beads.  My uncles standing behind us with their commentary, “They didn’t do a good job on her, the make up isn’t right, it’s too orange.”   and  “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, she’s seeping! I want to talk to the Goddamn director where is that son-o-fa-bitch.”    All I could think of was what the hell is seeping? Then in one horrifying moment my uncle  jumped into the coffin and kissed her.

I whispered to my cousin, “how long do we have to kneel here?”  she whispered back “I don’t know, enough to say a Hail Mary and an Our Father?”    Then she did the unthinkable, she touched grandma’s hand and said, “she’s cold and stiff.”   So then I did the unthinkable and I touched her hand.  It was cold and stiff.  I think I closed my eyes and my prayer was something like, “dear God, please let me stop kneeling because my grandma isn’t here and I don’t know where she is but I know she’s not here and this is just creepy.  Amen.”

The only good thing was the reception after the wake where thw grown-ups  got loaded and we got some good food at the Chinese restaurant.

 

******

I wonder what lies beyond this life?  I sure hope all that I am, my consciousness will go on, transcend to some place else.  It would be a damn shame if it didn’t…..


1970 something

Going to my elementary school, there were about thirty kids in my class.  Hell, my graduating high school class there were 562 of us.  Recess was always fun.  Our playground was pretty nice because I lived in an affluent suburb.  It had what most nice school playgrounds in suburbia do.  Plenty of swing sets, slides, see-saws. Box-ball and hop-scotch were even painted right on the hot top itself.

*
I became friends with Jimmy in second grade.  We were in Mrs. Drapeau’s class.  There was a few unforgettable things that happened that year.  Like the time that Henry Altenwen puked and peed his pants at the same time in the front of the class.  The time that Eric Frobert puked all over his reading book.  And the time that Mrs. Drapeau yelled at me in front of everyone for helping a classmate pronounce a word when they were struggling, during oral reading.  Asked me if I thought I should teach the class.  I remember feeling my face felt hot and I felt ashamed. I was only trying to help him, my heart was kind.  It’s amazing the influence that teachers can have in shaping children.

*
Jimmy and I stood next to the teacher aid at recess you see.  I didn’t get much attention at home, my life there was a living hell that no one would ever find out about.  Jimmy? well he was physically sick.  I didn’t really know with what.  His shoulders were always raised up by his chin because he struggled to breathe.  So we both had different reasons for hanging out with the teacher aid at recess while all the other kids frolicked about on a beautiful sunny day.

*
Me being the little chatter box, and not really grasping at age 7 that Jimmy was so sick I treated him like anyone else.  I asked him all sorts of questions since he could not run or walk around much.  Why this, why that.  He laughed at my questions.  I told a lot of stories and a lot of jokes.  I asked if he was ever going to get braces.  I asked him all kinds of crazy shit.  (I used to ask my Catholic grandmother if I was reincarnated and maybe I were a rock in another life)

*
Jimmy and I went to St. Mary’s Church together as well.  So I am sure that I yapped about CCD too.  I liked our time together.  Me, Jimmy, and the teacher aide.

*
Jimmy had been out from school for a few weeks and one morning I came into school and the Mrs. Drapeau said that Jimmy wouldn’t be coming back.  That he was in heaven.

*
Her words hung in the air like a garrote, choking the love in my little heart.
*****
Jimmy as I would later learn had Cystic Fibrosis.  I spent a good deal of time in my teens doing the Stair Climb, an annual event during the early 1990’s at the Prudential Center in Boston to raise money for my favorite childhood friend that I lost to death.

*
Every year my dad would drive me to Boston and I would get people to sponsor me for each floor that I could walk up. I always made it to the top of it’s 52 floors. Course my legs felt like rubber when I got done. I have asthma, and  sometimes it was a struggle and I would get winded.  It would occur to me as I walked, how Jimmy struggled day after day. How winded he must have been.  That I get relief with an inhaler…. that he suffocated.  I cried as I climbed.

*
Since 1965, the term “65 Roses” has been used by children of all ages to describe their disease because it’s easier to pronounce.

*
*****
After Jimmy’s funeral, his mother sent me a card.  It read, “Thank you Lexi for being there for my son.  You were his only friend.”  Her words gripped me and I will never forget them. To this day I never realized that all the other kids, were frolicking around, never talked to him, never stopped to get to know him.  Strange, how because of the hell I lived and the horror of what happened in my house, God brought Jimmy and I together.
*****
2 weeks ago, I received a text from my mom which made me ecstatic! It read, “there is a new treatment for Cystic Fibrosis!”  So I ran over and googled it. Sure enough, there is.  It is a brand new FDA approved drug called  “Kalydeco.”

*
It reminded me of Jimmy and I smiled, then cried.  Some 35 years later, the love for my friend still lives in my heart.

*
~miss you Jimmy~ xoxox
…. … …


Confiteor

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti,

et vobis fratres,

quia peccavi nimis

cogitatione, verboo

pere et omissione:

mea culpa, mea culpa,

mea maxima culpa.

Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem,

omnes angelos et Sanctos,

et vobis fratres,

orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

Amen.

~*~  ~*~  ~*~

I confess to almighty God,

 and to you, my brothers and sisters,

that I have sinned, through my own fault,

in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,

and I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,

all the Angels and Saints,

and you, my brothers and sisters,

to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Amen.

I don’t like change.

I’ve said this for the last 30 years.  So long now I can say this in my sleep.  Next week the Church is going to fuck with this prayer and change the words to make it “new” version of the Roman Missal.  Where was the voting process? Pfffft.  Yeah right.  There wasn’t one.  I think this is bullshit.  I’m not sure what I”m going to do.  I think I’m going to still utter the old prayers and responses while everyone else babbles on with the other shit.

This particular prayer has special meaning for me right now.

I am feeling particularly large amounts of shame and failure in my life.

So this prayer just can’t be fucked with.  It needs to remain intact.

I’ve been sleeping with my Rosary Beads at night.  They were my grandmother’s.  She prayed on them every morning.   They are almost 80 years old.  She even has a relic on there of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina .  He is a canonized Saint who had suffered stigmata.  They bring me comfort.  Knowing that her hands touched them, she was the most holy person I ever knew.  Never said a swear her whole life.  Went to Mass every day.  She was a good, good person.  Always had a smile for everyone.

My soul is in great turmoil.

At a friend’s suggestion, I am going to try take a trip for a 90 days.  I need a hiatus.  A sabbatical.

I’m nervous about this trip.   I’m going to travel light.  I will bring my Bible, I need to start reading that again.  It has been years since I have read it.  My heart has become hardened.   Stubbornly refusing to go God’s way and instead going my own willful way.  Repentance is on the forefront of my mind.  To turn away from sin, change my mind, change my direction, turn towards God…..


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