Communion

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Like a growing number of Americans, I am a lapsed Catholic. It’s not that I ever lost my basic Christian faith. Rather, I hit an invisible wall of sorts around the time I turned 18. For whatever reason, I could no longer face the sacrament of reconciliation. It’s not that I had cataclysmic sins I needed to confess. I could no longer imagine that there was a priest who could truly listen to my sins. The more time that passed, the more it seemed impossible to do a true inventory of my conscience; the sacrament would not be valid on the grounds that I couldn’t possibly confess all the sins. And without reconciliation and penance, there could be no Communion.

Until today, I’d been stuck in place since the early 90’s. I’d attend Mass very occasionally and think of going to confession so I could take Communion the during the next Mass. From time to time, I’d consider joining a Protestant church to circumvent this issue entirely, but then I wouldn’t go to a different church for fear that I’d be betraying the Catholic church by doing so.

Today I finally attended services at our neighborhood Methodist church. My daughter bought a Bible with her birthday money last month, and she has been reading it almost daily. I decided it would be better for us to attend any Christian church at all rather than remain stuck over the sacraments in the Catholic church.

I had such a positive experience at the Methodist church. The communion service had a portion in which forgiveness of sins was offered to the repentant, and the sacrament itself was “open table” and offered to all baptized believers. This solved my decades-long problem, and it was a relief to feel the grace of that sacrament again.

2 thoughts on “Communion”

    1. Visiting a Methodist church is a notion I considered from time to time for a couple years before I actually went to a service. I’m not sure why my practice of religion proceeds at such a glacial pace. In 2016, I solved the family puzzle of my paternal great grandfather’s identity (i.e. my paternal grandmother’s father). He passed away when my grandma was just seven years old in 1936, and no one could find his extended family. Fast forward to 80 years later . . . I considered that he was not the person he claimed to be. It turned out that he “disappeared” from Minneapolis in 1923 and remade himself as a farm hand in Ohio. He carried very little with him to his new life: his birth date, the first names of himself and his parents, and the Methodist religion. I had wondered what was so compelling about that faith.

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