Thursday, September 3, 2009

If it's good enough for Grandma...

This laminated holy card portrays Jesus with the sheep on the front and a prayer on the back, The Act of Contrition. The cost is 60 cents. There are several versions of this prayer, but I am only familiar with one of them. I am no longer Catholic. I am just me. I believe in a hybrid of Earth type traditions/practices now, but I still love this prayer. It reminds me of my Grandma, and when I say it, it feels right.

Oh my God I am heartily sorry for having offended thee,
And I detest all my sins because of thy just punishment
But most of all because they've offended thee my God,
Who art all good and deserving of all my love
And I resolve, with the help of thy grace, to sin no more
And to avoid the near occasions of sin

I memorized it when I was 11 or so. Not because I wanted to, but because I was attending Sunday School and church and it was required learning. The reason I was going to Sunday School was for Grandma. She was worried because all my sibs had made their communions and confirmations, etc.. and "why should I be the black sheep?" She was clearly worried not about what color sheep I was, but that my soul would be tarnished and that I may get stuck in purgatory... or worse... God forbid. Our women learned over generations of marrying Italian men that in order to get what you want or need, you had better not tip your hand too soon. I never actually heard my Grandma say she was afraid I'd go to hell, but I didn't have to.

I merely followed her lead. I took this genetic knowledge and made it work for me. For instance, knowing that I didn't believe pretty much anything I was learning about Catholicism, I naturally felt like a hypocrite going through the motions of a believer. At the same time, that Grandma bell couldn't be un-rung... So, to help myself get through it with some shred of self respect while still honoring my grandmother, I prayed to myself. When I recited a prayer, this one in particular, I was saying it not to Jesus, God or the Holy Mother Mary... per se, I was mostly praying to myself, to the highest part of my consciousness. The part that knows when I do wrong. The part that feels badly betrayed by my lapse of consciousness "in the moment" of wrongness, and knows I can do better, really wants to do better and be better. The part that knows all, feels all and is connected to all. The part that knows ultimately, when I act out and/or hurt others, I am also hurting that part of myself, and therefore the rest of me. That is something I can believe in.


Steph said...


Ms. Moon said...

Good one.

Petit fleur said...

Steph and Miss Moon - Sela, aho and amen to youz too.

Dexter Dama said...

I loved the line, "I'm not Catholic. I am just me." It was powerful, and even though the word "just" has a lacking connotation, used here it is perfect, because it doubly suggests you are okay with who you are. Can you put that in a special sauce and mail it over here?
thanks for sharing. I like that the prayer gives you solace.

Petit fleur said...


Was beginning to wonder where you were! Thanks for what you said.

Prayer didn't used to, but there are only certain memorized prayers that I use as sort of a mantra and meditation and a way to remind me to stay mindful, grateful and that I am connected to something bigger... whatever it is.

I also do a more personal type of praying, connecting, inquiring as well. And I talk to the dead. They are especially helpful and they get sad when they are ignored and only talked about or thought about with sadness and longing.

I have to lay off the caffeine today... whew! Thanks for stopping and I like your new cyber name, very Dexy! ha!

Maggie May said...

i'm down with that too.

Petit fleur said...

Thank you Maggie.

I hope your very own petit fleur is having a great weekend after her horrible horrible day.

Dexter Dama said...

Reading your last comment reminds me to lift my awareness to the connectedness thing..feeling connected to the rest of the world/the energy that connects everything. I don't have words for it, but it shifts everything. Thanks for the reminder. And for always being so open in your blog.