Thursday, June 16, 2011

Raised a Roman... Catholic that is... (Part 1)

When I was growing up, I was taught about God through the eyes of my Grandmother, Bessie and my father and of course, church every Sunday and Catechism every Tuesday... I was baptized, was given my first communion, first confession and even confirmed in grade 9... I went on further to baptize my son when he was three.  What does that even mean?  Apparently, it means that he won't go to hell if anything happens to him... I still don't quite understand what all the hubbub at church was about and if you asked me anything about the Catholic religion or the bible... I would tell you this story:

My Dad's parents were Roman Catholics who prayed everyday together and went to Mass every Sunday, may they both rest in peace, I hope their spirits are in their heaven with their God and they are smiling down on us today :)  Naturally, my Dad thought (or so I think he thought) that it was best for us to learn about God too, just as he was taught when he was growing up... I believe that he felt it was his duty to teach us and then when we were old enough to decide what belief system or faith we wanted to be part of then, at least he had introduced us to his and his parent's faith.  Ok... fair enough... if my Dad believed in God and Dad was my hero as a little girl then I was going to believe in God too and believed that if I committed sins that I would go to hell or pay for my sins for a very long time in something called Purgatory.  This is very scary for a young girl to feel like "someone" was always watching and judging my behavior.  As if this wasn't scary enough, my Dad  was killed in a car accident when I was 14 years old... and with him, died my belief in God.

I was angry at God for taking my Dad away and it was when I started to question whether there was a God at all... the beginning of this misadventure was at his funeral in Roman Catholic fashion.  First there was a "wake" where my father's lifeless wax like body was put on display for everyone and their dogs to see for the afternoon and evening before his funeral, as if this wasn't bad enough for a 14 year old girl who just lost the most important man in her life, we were also put on display so that everyone who came to pay their respects to the deceased and his family could see how sad and broken we were.  My Dad was a pretty popular fellow and had many friends over the many years of his life so it felt like we were standing beside his open casket for days... and if I walked away for a break, somebody found me and sent me back... it was one of the worst experiences a little girl could ever have in her life.  The next day was his funeral and wasn't near as terrible as the wake but it was still very sad.  My Dad was gone, my Mom was broken and though us kids were broken too, we were staying strong for Mom just like I was told, you know what else I was told?  That my Dad wasn't in heaven, he was in Purgatory paying for his sins.  You tell me what a 14 year old is supposed to think about that... be continued...

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