13. April 2013 · Comments Off on Confirmation · Categories: D. 5 to 8 years · Tags:

I am seven.  The nuns say it is the age of reason and time for my confirmation in the faith.  I like my catechism book because it is all questions and answers.   The questions are like those jostling around in my head that other kids think are weird except when talking with nuns.   Questions like the very first one: why are we in this world?  The answer in the catechism book is: we are in this world to know, love and serve God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  It sounds okay.

Outside of catechism class, no one wants to talk about this stuff.

I keep it inside my head.  There are questions in my head that are not in the book, particularly the questions that ask themselves.  Like the one that kept pushing me when I was hiding from Uncle Pedro among the date trees.

Why is there something?  And what was there before there was anything?  I know that the answer is not: nothing.  But the answer is not in words I can say.  It is just a feeling that is so wonderful I try to make it last.

They give us a word for things we can’t explain in words: mystery.  What I feel could be a mystery.  It is a better word than nothing.

My mom cannot come to my confirmation.  She has to go on a trip.  I will go alone to sleep at my grandmother’s house, and the next morning my aunt Titi will go with me to the Cathedral.

In the suitcase that my mom packed I find a gift box full of little soaps and perfumes, bath salts, bath powder and some pretty trinkets. They make me feel pampered and grown up.  There is a smaller box.  It is a rosary made of crystal beads.

The next day, Titi gives me a long white organdy dress to wear.  All the other girls at the cathedral are dressed in white like me.  The boys are in white suits.  I guess we have to look pure and dazzling today, even though we have original sin that can’t be forgiven at confession.  When we first heard that, we thought it was grossly unfair to be saddled with sin before we even did anything bad.

Before our first confession, which we must do to prepare us for our first communion, the nuns teach us how to examine our conscience to find sins.  There are mortal sins and venial sins.   Mortal sins are killing someone or bearing false witness that sends someone to die, or starting a war.  You can’t miss those.  If you die before you confess and repent a mortal sin, you will go to hell forever.

Venial sins are all the little sins, even the ones you think about doing but don’t do.   When you don’t do something you should, like returning something you stole, you are just adding the sin of omission to the sin of commission.   When they said not doing your best is also a sin, there was no question that we are all sinners even when we look like angels.

The Bishop confirms and gives each of us communion.  All the church bells ring.

We have a small party at my grandmother’s house, but I have so many cousins that even small parties turn out to be not really small.

My grandmother’s home is the place that I can always go to, and they will always know me there.  I wish I could just stay there all the time.