Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Catholicism for Five Year Olds

When I was five, I enjoyed a lot of time with my Catholic grandmother. I had conflicting feelings about the religion. I wanted to believe, but it didn't make sense to pray in Latin to this God who was up in Heaven waiting for us to commit sins. He'd be counting up our bad points and send us to this hell. Isn't life about learning? Isn't it ok to make mistakes and learn from them and grow as a person? I was mean to my friend Ann, but I felt badly about it, and told her sorry the next day, but was God still gonna count that against me? If he was all mighty, and wanted us to be good, couldn't he just take away the bad actions in the first place? And what about the bad things that happened to good people? And why did we have to sit, stand, kneel? Why would we really learn if they gave sermons in Latin? All the adults were just pretending to get something out of that! I sat in my pew, nicely dressed next to my grandma, counting the blue heads of hair, the purple heads of hair, vs natural grey heads, and pondered this religion.

I wanted to be good, and at least follow my beloved grandmother's wishes that I say prayers before bed. I struggled to find one of the holy people to say my nightly messages and questions to, but I just couldn't relate to that terrible suffering Jesus image. So scary for a child.

Mary was so white, so unreal, and I started thinking of her as Mary on Little House on the Prairie, who always did everything perfectly while Laura did NOT. I couldn't tell her my prayers and five year old struggles!

What about this "Holy Ghost" character? Maybe he was like Casper the Friendly Ghost only wearing a priest's collar? I decided not only to start addressing my prayers to him at night, but to invite him to play during the day. I kept it a secret though, fearing disapproval. I told everyone I was playing with Casper the Friendly Ghost. I pushed him on the swing, which he liked very much, and he sat by me for meals. He wasn't a loud moralizer like Jimminy Cricket. He didn't roll like that, he quietly effected me with his goodness. We were pretty close friends for about two years!

Am I good enough now?

1 comment:

ah said...

It's really hard to believe in anything. But I believe that God loves people no matter how good they are.