The star of the movie, A Bronx Tale, is a kid who says early on, “The best thing about being Catholic is you go to confession every week and then you start all over.” It did feel like that when I was his age. I thought the secret to living well and getting into heaven was to go to confession regularly. Barring that, in an emergency a quick Hail Mary would work. Trapped in a crashing plane? No problem! I could fully enunciate the prayer in five seconds.
So what did many Catholic kids like me learn? Grace, apparently, decays rapidly after confession, and the only seconds of our lives that count toward salvation are the last five. We have just that much time to convince God to ignore all the preceding seconds, minutes, hours, and days.
Yes, I know. We should figure out how to make every moment count. Too often, though, we develop bulimia in our souls, stuffing more prayers at a time down our throats than our destinies can digest. Or maybe we’re like the goldfish rising to a pond’s surface to gulp a bubble of air–a gas it cannot respire but which offers temporary equilibrium. Perhaps if fish could pray and tell time, they would be like us, and thus be saved.
Dec. 25, 2012