Sunday, October 3, 2010

Vietnamese Church Confession

I was raised as a Catholic.  As far as I remember my parents told me that we have been Catholic for many generations.  I grew up going to church every Sunday and every holy obligation day.  I went to Bible school every Sunday, and know to go confession at LEAST once a year. That's what I learned, but once a year was not what my family did.  According to my parents, I had to go once a month and I guess maybe because of my culture or the way I was raised, I still do whatever my parents said. I didn't argue then and I still do it now.

I remember one time I rode my bike to the church on a Saturday afternoon for my monthly confession with the priest.  It took me about twenty minutes to get there, and it was raining hard, too.  By the time I got to the Church, I was very wet.  The confession line in the Chapel was long.  I got in, kneeled at one of the chairs and did my usual prayers.  After that, I stood in line with the rest of the people and waited for my turn.

My heart was pumping so loud I felt that everybody could hear it.  When it was my turn, the priest told me he was going ask me a few questions about the Bible lessons I learned.  I don't remember what the one question was, but I did not know the answer.  The priest then opened the curtain, peeked his head out and yelled at me in front of everybody that he would not do the confession for me, to go home, study and come back next week.  I left the church with a heavy heart, felt humiliated and the thought of the ride home in the rain made me want to cry.

Nowadays,  I try to get my children to go to the reconciliation at least twice a year, and they still complain. I told them my story and tell them that was why my heart pounded so hard every time I faced the priest.  Today, we call it reconciliation. Just the word itself sounds easier than confession.  I don't understand why  the Vietnamese priest had to make it so scary and terrifying then. After all, we were going to make peace with our God and knew that he would always love us, no matter what we did.  The Catholic church today is more understanding and easier. My children shouldn't feel so terrified to go face God at the reconciliation booth.  Actually, I don't think they are scared. They are just lazy.  I hope my experience will help them see how lucky they are that they don't have to go through what I went through.  I look forward to reconciling with God every time. I feel good about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment