Well, this week was the moment we have been working on for the past several months. My son, Peter, made his First Confession on Thursday. Second grade has been an interesting year so far. There have been lots of new milestones in school. Lots of homework, lots of reading, double digit addition and subtraction, even cursive. The most important moments this year, though, have been his preparation to receive two sacraments: Confession and First Eucharist (which will be coming in May).
We started in October. I went to the parent's meeting. I think that is when it hit me-the awesome responsibility that Andy and I agreed to when our sons were baptized: to raise our sons in the Catholic faith. I don't mean to make it sound like they were baptized and we haven't done anything since. We take them to Church every Sunday and on Holy Days, we pray several times a day with them, we talk about right and wrong, but this was different, like big different. I finally understood what my sister was saying all these years. My job isn't to make sure I'm the coolest Mom or that I am best friends with my kids (my Mom wasn't either until I was an adult). My job, along with my husband, is to help my sons become good, strong men who understand and love their Catholic Faith. Ultimately, my responsibility is to help them learn how to live a good life so that they will someday attain Heaven. This year I really understood that, and how vitally important these formative years are.
So, we (Andy and I) worked with Peter. He had new prayers to learn, he had new concepts to learn. It is no longer just about good and bad choices, it is about whether or not the choice we make intentionally hurts others, ourselves, or most importantly, God. There were bumps in the road-like the time Peter told me that he punched his cousin by accident. The closer we came to last Thursday, the more nervous I was. Would he be ready? Had we done enough with him? His teacher recommended to all the parents that we "practice" Confession. This worried me because we were told to let our kids make up their sins for practice. After all, we wouldn't be privy to what they told the priest, would we?
A couple of weeks ago, I let Peter go in the confessional with me to ease his fears. He met Fr. Jack, a visiting priest who wished him well on his upcoming First Confession, and told him that it would be like getting the biggest hug from Jesus. As Peter sat in the pew, I could hear him say That was AWESOME! It did my heart good to know that he was starting to get excited for the big moment.
Last week, I wanted to make sure that Peter understood the difference between our "practice" and the real thing. I was really impressed. He had really given thought to what he would tell the priest. After that conversation, our practice time changed. At the part where he should confess his sins, he would simple tell me that this was the part that was private.
So, Thursday came. We went to Church, and Peter sat between Andy and I during the prayer service. He kept saying he was nervous, and Andy and I reassured him that it would be OK. Then we got in line, and as we were instructed, I went to Confession, Peter went, and then my husband went. When Peter walked out of the confessional, he had a look of pure joy on his face! What he said to me says it all: Mom, do you know what the best part is? Jesus' love! I am so proud of our oldest son!