Something amusing happened to me recently. I've been condemned.
I went to confession (yes, confession!). It's part of my cleansing ritual, so to speak. Some people do meditation. Others do charity work. Some get themselves crucified. I confess. Hehe!
Anyway, after enumerating my offenses to the Big Guy, the priest took note of one particular offense and started saying all these things. "That's disgusting. You've committed a terrible sin. As a priest, I'm finding it very hard to forgive you."
This was the first time that a priest really condemned me. It was rather amusing.What was more amusing was instead of feeling worse or getting angry, I found myself smiling. I thought, "Ah, there lies your fault, Father. I didn't come here to ask for YOUR forgiveness. I came here to get HIS forgiveness because I was taught he forgives through you. So just give me my penance, and I don't really care if you forgive me because it is not you I have offended."
Ten Our Fathers. One Act of Contrition. Woohoo! I thought he was going to make me say a novena.
I go to church. I go to Mass. I receive communion. I know all 15 mysteries of the Rosary by heart. I'm a fan of Our Lady. Several friends find this a bit absurd because we all know what the Vatican says about us. I don't really listen to everything the Vatican says. What is important to me is the presence of a spiritual life.
I guess when you've attended seven years of Catholic education, when you've been an altar boy for five years, and when you've attended Center formation for three years, you learn to go beyond what the Church on earth teaches and find a way to maintain that relationship with the Big Guy up there.
And it works for me. Always does. During the darkest hour (and there have been a number I have to say), I always find peace and light when I communicate with the Big Guy. And even if I do try to run away, I always find myself coming back.
The prodigal son did return anyway, didn't he?