Catholicism became, for me, a maze. A dark maze, with walls that shifted whenever they were found. At the exit of the maze was either heaven or hell. Which one? I didn’t know. Again, no one seemed to know what would get a person to Heaven, though it was generally agreed that Mother Theresa was what gamblers call “a sure thing”.
All this caused me a great deal of anxiety. What I couldn’t understand is why no one else seemed to be in the maze with me. Hadn’t they been listening in catechism class?
(Those last two sentences are what we writerly types call “foreshadowing”)
Things reached a boiling point around eighth grade, when I discovered what all boys discover around that age. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m not going to spell it out for you.
Life was good...except, you will recall me saying that ANY form of sex outside of marriage was a mortal sin. One day, sitting in catechism, it was revealed to me that what I had been doing, was regrettably, a form of sex outside of marriage.
This presented a dilemma. I didn’t have a driver’s license, so I couldn’t get to confession myself. And I didn't think that confession was offered as frequently as I was going to need it. What if I died in between? Then I’d be in a real pickle.
Well, if it was a mortal sin, I’d just stop doing it.
I’ll pause a moment until you stop laughing.
No, really. Stop it.
I asked my mother to take me to Confession. She was very confused, since we had just been last week. But she took me, and that was that. Phew!
Or so I thought.