I grew up in a faithful family where we attended Catholic Mass every weekend. I never really ever wanted to go but my parents always made me. After graduating from high school, I moved away from home and started my independent life which included no Mass on Sundays. Years went by and one Sunday my roommate, Leann (who also happened to be Catholic), and I decided to go to Church. So we did. I remembered most of the prayers we Catholics memorize (it’s like riding a bike, you don’t ever really forget). It came time for communion so I got in line behind Leann to walk up to the altar. I put my hands out to receive the consecrated host, the priest held up the host and said “the Body of Christ.” I hesitated and looked at him. I forgot what I was supposed to say so I said “Thank you.” He gave me a funny look, and then placed the consecrated host in my hands. I’ll never forget the feelings that overcame me as I walked back to my pew. I was ashamed, embarrassed, and full of overwhelming guilt because I’d forgotten that the proper response was “Amen.” I knelt down in the pew next to Leann. She leans over and whispers, “Did you just say Thank you?” I looked at her out of the corner of my eye and subtly nodded yes. She gave me a smirk and a slight shake of her head.
This may not seem like a big deal, but I’ve never forgotten my feelings of shame and guilt. It seemed like it was God’s way of telling me I needed to make some changes in my life-one of them was to go to church regularly. So since that subtle incident, I’ve practiced my faith regularly.
This all happened about 27 years ago. My husband and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and we have three awesome kids who are turning into wonderful young adults.
As parents, one of our greatest responsibilities is to lay a firm foundation of faith for our kids. That means praying and attending church on a regular basis, even if they complain. So a big thank you goes out to my parents for “forcing” me to go to church in my younger years. I may have left the church for a while, but like so many, I came back.