Monday, June 15, 2009

Thoughts of a New Catholic

(Side note: I hesitated with the title "...New Catholic." Just so everyone knows what I mean there, I'm not some sort of quasi-pseudo-Catholic who doesn't see eye-to-eye with the RCC. I was recently baptized, so I am a 'fresh' Catholic. Really fresh. Unspoiled, well, except for that little white lie, the bitten tongue, the angry thoughts, the temptations... darnit, I'm not a week into grace and I'm due for confession!)

My baptism was great. The priest is a funny man, and he made light of me converting from my "pagan ways." The baptism itself was rather funny to me. Father started pouring, "I baptize you in the name of the Father *pour* the Son *pour* and the Holy Spirit." *poooooouuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrr* Water went all over my head and started running down my back inside my shirt. It was really funny when the priest was rubbing the holy oil on my head, smearing my hair from one side to the other, pushing it into my face... all while trying to read the baptismal words from his book. I looked attractive at the end, lemme tell ya!

I also received my first communion that night. I've gone again to Mass and received communion at my regular parish. I must say, not all communion wafers are created equal. My first communion included a sliver of cardboard wafer about a half-millimeter thick. This Sunday, I received Christ as a 1" circle of lightly salted whole grain deliciousness. A little havarti and those things would satisfy for lunch.

Wine isn't my thing. I know I'm supposed to go forth and consume a tiny sip of the precious Blood of Christ, but it's just weird to me still. I don't like the taste of wine at all. Even worse, though, is that everyone drinks out of the same cup. The eucharistic minister has a cloth and wipes off the rim in between... unless that's a bleached rag or alcohol wipe, I am sorry, germs still transfer. I won't even drink after The Boy from a straw or glass, so there's no way I'm going to consume wine after someone else, let alone a hundred. I did it once for my first communion, and the Church (though they recommend both) does not require individuals to consume both, so I'm good now.

My knees haven't become Catholic yet. They're still sitting over on the Anabaptist bench, quietly praying for all the kneeling to be over. Each time I scoot off the pew to kneel, one of my patellas whimpers and shudders as I lower my frame into the kneeler. And genuflecting, forget it. I'll bow. I'll touch my toes bowing, but dropping one knee to the ground while putting all my weight on the other... it's a thing I can only imagine as a horror film. Seriously, the priest would have to step around my prostrate body as he processed (though I would look rather pious, now wouldn't I?). With time, I'm sure my knees will follow my heart in converting.

Probably the one thing I've looked forward to most (other than communion, duh) is actually getting to bless myself with holy water as I enter and exit the church. Totally random, I know, but when you go to church every week and don't get to rightly do the same things other people are doing, it's frustrating. As I had not been baptized, I couldn't rightly use the holy water to remind me of my baptism (it's purpose). Upon exiting the church in Salem last week, I dipped my finger deep into that fountain and gosh darnit, I blessed myself. I had water dripping off my nose. And THAT was a satisfying experience.

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