Saturday, February 6, 2016

First Confession for Mary

Mary Genevieve participated in the sacrament of her First Confession on Saturday morning, praised be God!

Before her First Confession

Now, I think the devil was after us yesterday and that he really didn't want Mary to receive this Sacrament or for our family to have a peaceful, joy-filled day.

I was, frankly, clueless about how this first sacrament is celebrated. I am an adult-convert, so my first confession was not done in a class full of children. Also, when John had his first confession three years ago, I was four days postpartum with a baby who couldn't nurse and whose weight was plummeting into the 5-pounds, Chris took our son to his sacrament on our behalf, and I was in such a fog that I didn't even mention it on my blog (and you know that's bizarre!).

Mary has been doing her catechesis at home with us, instead of in the inconveniently timed Faith Formation classes at church, and, while I know her catechesis is very good, this means I miss out on pragmatic details like what to expect at First Confession with all her classmates from church.

Devouring her new book back at home

The devil first poked a stick into the wasps' nest in a dramatic way: we woke up Friday without heat downstairs. Just a few weeks ago, our upstairs heater breathed its last, we patched it together, and now the downstairs has failed. These are old units, and we are experiencing temps down into the 20s, so we scheduled a company to give us a consultation as soon as possible . . . in fact, the next morning, right during Mary's First Confession.

No problem, right? Chris would stay home and deal with the repair man, I would take Mary to church . . . with the baby, as always . . . 'and, hey, would you also take Margaret with you?' (who is currently our most cantankerous child and the one we try to separate out from the gang often). I figured I was dropping off Mary for this sacrament, so I could use the time to have some one-on-one time with Margaret, which always helps her be sweeter. Win-win.

The girls bickered badly the entire drive to the church, and I was so deflated from being entirely impotent to stop fighting among my children for so long (and I know mothers who currently have large families of littles know exactly what I mean), that I just prayed my rosary, loudly, and cried while I drove. I'd given up and just figured God had to handle it at this point.

We arrived at church and I checked in Mary, asked when I should be back to get her. The nun and teachers were so nice about it all, assuring me that they would especially watch out for her, and so forth, leaving me kind of confused. Why especially look out for her? Aren't they looking out for all the 50-odd children being dropped off?

I was literally walking out the door when I saw inside the church that every other child had at least one parent, and often both parents plus all siblings, sitting with him or her in the pews! This was a Wonderful Family Event, with everyone dressed as if for Mass, being supportive, making fond memories.

I was mortified at my total ignorance and failing. I had already sent in Mary alone, and she was kneeling dutifully, starting her Holy Hour, her little veiled head alone in the pew.

Consultations ensued, I called home to Chris, and then I dragged my crawling baby and 4-year-old-who-never-stops-speaking-or-making-weird-noises into the church to sit with Mary and Be Supportive.

That lasted about ten minutes.

Then I took my loud little ones out to the narthex (a church lobby, for any readers who don't know church lingo) to wait for an hour. We could not use either cry room because both are adjacent with thin walls to the Confessionals themselves, and we could not wait outside because of temps barely out of the 30s. It was an awkward hour out in the narthex, still trying to keep my baby from repeatedly crawling to the lit prayer candles and pulling up on the candle stand and my 4-year-old to please, please!!! stop squeaking so loudly and treating the tiles like hopscotch.

Doesn't she look like a more mature Catholic?

Of course, the devil didn't entirely win: Mary had her sacrament. She came out smiling so shyly and told me all about how it went, in gushing words from my Big Girl Catholic.

The day continued to be 'off,' though . . . I tried to combine needed errands with having a girls' morning out: We went shopping for shoes at the consignment store (big emotions there), and we tried to buy craft supplies to make St. Valentine's Day cards--but there was no red construction paper in the whole store and the girls actually got into a physical brawl in the aisles--and I tried to take them to lunch at a fun soda shoppe to celebrate Mary's First Confession, but there was standing room only, so we settled for drive-through fast food.

And, really, the rest of my day went about the same . . .

So, I failed at having peace all day, but Mary got her sacrament! Ha, so there, Satan! One more Catholic on her way to a life of Confession and the Eucharist. Sometimes the battle doesn't look pretty--this didn't look like a picture perfect family day of a first sacrament--but a win is a win in the end.


  1. "Keep your eye on the prize"....

    And so Mama did!! A serious sacramental life is a sanctified life. Mary steps into the power of the sacraments! Pretty shoes aside, Mary may come to shine in the donning of the finest outfit, the Galatians 6 Garment, putting on the whole armor of God.

    Day by day, living a deeply conscious sacramental life, she will be draped in humility, robed in righteousness, crowned in the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. I see by her picture that she is well on her way. Deo Gratias.

    How soon, with upcoming first communion, she will come to know day-by-day that greater is He that is in her than he that is in the world.

    It is positively no wonder at the pitiful efforts that day of the enemy who strives with all the power granted him (without which he sits on the sidelines)to throw roadblocks into Mary's path towards the God Who loves her so.

    Such a happy day for Mary and the Lauer family and the entire body of Christ.

  2. OOOPS!!! Wrong book!! I meant "Ephesians 6"....

  3. This time last year, our second daughter made her First Reconciliation and we also catechize at home. We did know to stay and we dressed up and planned a celebratory lunch afterwards. However, just before Father came out to begin Holy Hour, our youngest decided to dart up and do a little dance on the steps in front of the altar. Everyone except me found this very amusing. I could only just catch him, genuflect and wrestle him (screaming) into the cry room. So embarrassed, I breathed a sigh of relief only to have a priest I did not know open the door to the confessional into the cry room and ask us to leave immediately! Completely mortified I stood outside the church with our youngest and thought unholy thoughts about this day and my vocation. Providentially, my husband came out and took our two boys to run around in the cold and I went back in to Holy Hour and the day was saved. Our daughter had a wonderful experience and that's all that is really important. I will never forget it either!