Today was our Parish Reconciliation Service. I had tried to go to reconciliation on Friday at Christ the King, but they only have confession for 25 minutes prior to Mass, and there was a long line of people. It got to where I was the very next person to get into the confessional and I was started to really think that I’d get in. Alas, the woman in front of me took a long time and I wasn’t able to go. It’s so disappointing when that happens.
I try very hard to control my emotions, although they want to do things like make a sign right next to the one that says “Confessions will stop 5 minutes prior to Mass” which says, “This means you should confess your sins in number and kind and not try to justify them, for the sake of the people behind you in line who also need to be forgiven of their sins.” It doesn’t take that long to say, “I kicked a puppy three times, smacked my kid brother, was late for Mass every Sunday for the past 3 months and stole a pen from work.” 10 seconds. DONE.
So, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they haven’t been to Confession in a long time or are extremely shy? Maybe they do have a lot things to confess? Suppose something upsetting happened to them and they need extra counseling from the priest? With all that, you can’t be upset at the other people who were in line.
All of this comes and goes in a second. A moment’s irritation and then I am back to myself again. 🙂 But, it does leave me with the question of where I am going to get to go to Reconciliation. I was too sick on Saturday to do much of anything, and I know that Palm Sunday weekend is rather hit-or-miss for being able to catch confession. So, when I saw that we had the Parish Reconciliation Service, I knew that I had to go then.
I was the second person to see my priest. I was in and out quick (you’re welcome!) and my penance was to say a prayer, either from the liturgy aid or from somewhere else. I gathered my things and went from the church to the chapel, where — delightfully — the Eucharist was out for Adoration. I had looked in the bookshelf before entering the chapel for a book of prayers, but didn’t see any. I was going to grab a Bible and pray one of the psalms, but the Bible I was looking for wasn’t on the shelf. I thought that someone might have left it in the chapel and went in. Alas, no Bible in the pews. I sat down and looked through the things in my bag, looking for a prayer. (Doesn’t one usually search for the *answer* to a prayer?)
I came across my “Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa” book and opened to today, Monday of the 5th week of Lent. In the prayer section was, “Dear Lord, help us to find joy in each day no matter what is happening.” This reminded me of this weekend, which was arguably one of the roughest weekends, healthwise, that I have had in a long time.
Saturday started with me waking up screaming in pain from some major muscle cramping. Screaming. It was that bad. After that, I had some muscles in my upper back begin cramping up. They haven’t really subsided, even now. Ouchie. On top of that, I had a headache, dizziness, nausea, and a lot of chest pain. I slept most of the day, only waking up when a friend rang my doorbell for us to go see the play, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” at the seminary (which was *awesome*).
Sunday, I felt just as bad, except my back and shoulder had hurt so much, I hadn’t slept very well. But, it was a gorgeous and warm day, and I didn’t want to miss out on it, so I got ready for the day, packed up a bag with some books and headed out. I stopped at a friend’s house to see if she wanted to accompany me, but she had to work. I dropped her off and made my way to Cranbrook, where I had a lovely time reading among the various flowering trees. I picked her up from work a couple hours later and we spent some time at Manresa. I still felt pretty bad, but thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful, peaceful day that God had granted me. I was able to see, however, just how poorly I was doing, because even a slow meandering around outside was too much for me.
But, I persevered on. Went to Mass and the RCIA meeting where we had some pizza for dinner. Finally, I collapsed into bed, thankful for the wonderful day and the great people He placed in my life.
I think that joy is both a grace and a choice. God gives me joy, but I also choose to be happy. I choose to focus on the beauty and gifts and grace which I have been given. I choose to not get discouraged over my physical problems. I choose to live as best I can every day, even when the pain is great and the temptation to sleep away my days is lulling me to stay in the house. I choose to offer up my pain in the hope and expectation that God will be able to help someone else because of my cooperation. I choose to accept the joy he offers.
And every day, I get the chance to choose joy again.