Some Christmas Eve Day Reading

First of all, I feel terrible that I left Hyperbole and a Half’s story of her attempt to stage a nativity play at the age of six (“The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas“) off of my Christmas traditions list.  Hie thee hence and read this wonderful story/comic.  Here’s how she handles her own Mary costume:

I felt that the struggles of my character, Mary, needed to be emphasized. The audience really needed to understand that she was suffering. I constructed my costume accordingly.
By the time I was done reinventing her, Mary carried a cane, walked with an exaggerated limp and was completely covered in BandAids.

Ok, now that you’re back, and have had a few deep breaths to stop laughing quite so hard…

Yesterday, at Mass, the priest’s homily was mostly focused on trying to encourage parishoners to go to confession before Christmas, so they could receive the Eucharist at Christmas.  Advent is a season of preparation, and, now that we’re finally presented with the chance to welcome Christ, we want to be able to greet his coming wholeheartedly, with nothing warping or obscuring out relationship.  The neighborhood church is running seven straight hours of confession today, to make sure everyone will have the time they need.

So, it seems like a good time to share a very affecting piece by Fr. Mike Schmitz (“My Side of the Confessional: What is it like for a priest?“).  Here’s an excerpt:

But why is Confession a scary place for a priest? It is frightening because of the way in which Jesus trusts me to be a living sign of His mercy.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen once told priests that we scarcely realize what is happening when we extend our hands over someone’s head in absolution. We don’t realize, he said, that the very Blood of Christ is dripping from our fingers onto their heads, washing the penitent clean.

I was lucky enough to have this article sent to me shortly after my reception into the Church, before I made my first confession, and it helped me long for this sacrament.  I was confused when some of the teachers in RCIA talked about how much they loved the sacrament of reconciliation – fessing up to what you’ve done wrong sounds like just an uncomfortable duty — but this article, and the experience of preparing for and receiving the sacrament myself changed my mind.

By the time I go to confession, I’ve already done something wrong.  Telling the priest isn’t reenacting the sin or making it more real (though speaking things out loud sometimes makes me notice them more sharply).  The damage is already done.  When I go to confession, I’m acknowledging my sins so that they can be healed.  The sins and the wounds they cause me and the people I love are with me from the moment I commit them.  Confession is the opportunity to accept mercy for them.

 

And finally, over here at Patheos, Deacon Greg Kandra has posted a beautiful reflection on the best advice he ever got about serving the Christmas Mass.

About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011. She works as an Editorial Assistant at The American Conservative by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked. She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

  • Pedro Paulo Jr

    Merry Christmas. It’s your first as a catholic, enjoy it!

    By the way: I liked your tip about beeminder

  • Pingback: Some Christmas Eve Day Reading | cathlick.com

  • Joe

    The year Kenny Loggins ruined Christmas is really funny, thanks for suggesting it.

    I hope you and everyone else who reads this has a wonderful Christmas.

  • Anna

    That is my favorite post on the entire Hyperbole and a Half site; my husband and I about died laughing, especially since that’s about how life with our oldest goes. “I win the Kenny Loggins Parenting Award” is now a phrase we use with some frequency…

  • jenesaispas

    Merry Christmas one and all!
    :D


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