I am the product of twelve years of Catholic School. I make the sign of the cross every time I pass a cemetery. I know the dates of all the Holy Days of obligation. I know the vestibule of the church is called a nave. I say a prayer of thanks every night before I lay to sleep (a ritual that began the night I found out I was pregnant with my first child).
And that is right about where my “catholic-ness” ends. I barely make it to Mass and rarely make the High Holy days – let alone the Holy Days of obligation. I took “the pill” and it’s safe to say I should not have been wearing white as I walked down the aisle to meet my fiance.
When faith pertained to only myself, I made peace with my way of life. But now I am the parent of two formidable children. After their birth, I had both of the children baptized. When my oldest was old enough for CCD, off she went to the weekly class. However, now my oldest is receiving her First Communion and this religion is no longer my own.
From when the children could distinguish from good and bad, the threat of “Santa is watching” worked wonders. And yet, when my daughter came home her first CCD class she asked if Jesus emailed Santa details of how we behave. I was raising my children to learn right and wrong, good and bad, but was doing so without religion. My daughter could recite the Hail Mary and Our Father only because my mother taught her. When I would announce we were going to Mass, my youngest would fain illness.
Last week, as part of my daughter’s CCD program, the children and their parents were invited to the Church for an introduction and review of the House of God. Along with my daughter, who was required to attend, I brought along my son. As we walked into the nave, my son saw Deacon Dave dressed in his stole and waved, “Hi Jesus!”
Ah yes….my son assumes the only man in the Church dressed in a dress is Jesus. I guess I can’t blame the kid.
At first I was distraught. I should have been taking my children to church often so that this one hour of sitting in silence was not such a foreign concept. I should have shared the story of Baby Jesus along with the story of Santa Claus. I should have been a better Catholic.
I replayed the scene over and over……”Hi Jesus!” “Hi Jesus!” – and then it hit me. My youngest knew enough to realize Jesus wore a dress. All was not lost. In fact, this was the perfect beginning.
I was taught that Jesus is everywhere (and he most certainly follows my blog) and even we stray, we are always welcomed back. “Hi Jesus! It’s me. Chances are you won’t see me every weekend, but you’ll see me here more often than before. These are my children. They are big fans of Santa Claus, but are very open-minded. I am back and I will make a better effort to be a better example of a good Catholic.”
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog by CC Fowler a New Jersey mom. For more on her juggling motherhood and career, catch her on centraljerseyworkings.com