I croaked along merrily with a soft ballad describing "white on white, lace on satin, blue velvet ribbons on purple cake..." I even went so far as to discuss this unusual lyric with a friend.
"Doesn't that sound like the ugliest wedding cake ever?!," I tsk-tsked, never questioning the validity of my perceptions. Either my friend had the same hearing problem as I, or she was too kind to correct me. But we seemed to both envision a towering cake of dark purple, ringed round with turquoise bows. I'm ashamed to admit how old I was before I found out the truth about this, but let's just say that it was my husband who told me. And we were already married. "...it's 'blue velvet ribbons ON HER BOUQUET'," he clarified.
It seems my hearing lapses were not limited to lyrics. I learned the Act of Contrition in first grade, and recited it in Confession at least bi-weekly. I was in fourth grade when the priest on the other side of the dark shadowy veil stopped me just after I'd begun with my usual: "O my God, I am partly sorry for having offended Thee, and I..."
He broke right in.
"Are you only partly sorry?", he asked. I knelt there in panic. Well... well, of course!, said I. That's what the prayer says, that's how I learned it, yes Father I'm sure I must be partly sorry, I'm at least partly sorry and that's a good thing isn't it Father? (am I passing this test?).
Father was kind in his correction. And I've been heartily sorry ever since. Although...
There are times when I think about Father's gentle question. It's not a bad one for an examination of conscience. I mean - how many times do I confess sins and faults for which I'm only partly sorry? If I'm really honest with myself, how much thought do I give to what I have done, to the pain it might have caused someone? To the pain it might bring to Our Lord?
Yes, perhaps I have before me a good point for reflection. If I said the Act of Contrition right here, right now, and if I were really honest with myself... what kind of sorry would I be?
"If we are truly humble our sins will infinitely displease us, because God is offended by them" (St. Francis de Sales)
(Jean Etienne Liotard painting in US public domain)
Oh my gosh...this was too funny to read.ReplyDelete
I am glad you found a lesson...even in that : )
Thank you, Theresa! For YEARS I had to fight automatically saying, when I prayed the Act of Contrition, that I was "partly" sorry. I even have a dim memory of saying "part-i-ly" sorry for awhile after Father's correction. I didn't know what heartily actually meant, so I guess "partly" seemed to make pretty good sense!!Delete
LOL Nancy! My little bro said "hardly sorry". Not so sorry, really. There's a vocab lesson and a lesson about contrition in there!ReplyDelete
I've since heard of others who said "hardly sorry," and THAT one I can actually understand! Thanks so much, Phoenix.Delete
This makes me laugh, but what a deep profundity it reveals!ReplyDelete
Thanks so very much, Kathleen!Delete
"O my God, I am partly sorry for having offended Thee, and I..." Just love it!! Oh how Jesus must have laughed because He understood what you didn't.ReplyDelete
And He still does understand :)!! Thank you, Joann!Delete
This is sweet and funny, Nancy!ReplyDelete
I think priests must hear many things that tickle their funnybone whilst in the confessional box!
Thanks, Trish. I guess kids like I was have been their "comic relief!"Delete
Love this - I often ask myself if I'm really sorry...or do I want to be sorry....or do I want to want to be sorry .... or do I want to want to want to be sorry?? (sometimes I have to get to 5 or 6 wants!!) :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for bringing me a smile... and a sense of recognition as I go "O yeah!"Delete
You are so funny! And I love how your post left us with something important to ponder.
I'm glad I sampled this old post. Off to try another one!!
I'm glad you sampled this too, Sue... after all, your blog was the inspiration to dig out some "oldies!"ReplyDelete
Hilarious post, Nancy! I loved the whole "partly sorry" scenario in the confessional! (Guess it's a tad better than "hardly sorry". Both made me laugh.) But I DO wonder and HAVE wondered many times whether I am heartily sorry.ReplyDelete
Great art choice as well! No, Nancy, not gray tart choice, great ART choice. (So sorry, my friend, you know I can't help myself...)
Oh, please don't help yourself, Mary! Now I'm all inspired to write a blog post about gray tarts....Delete
This is so funny Nancy...I mean the partly part. As a child I always thought the Act of Contrition actually started with the words, "Act of contrition, oh, my God...." I never realized how many times in the confessional I have recited that prayer with the title as the first words. And I never could understand the words of songs either. I always and still do sing out joyously the wrong words!ReplyDelete
I actually have the giggles about what you wrote. You know the kind of giggles you get when you just keep sputtering? I am sputtering. Oh, and I've always had trouble with song lyrics. I remember the Beach Boys had a song about "Fun Fun Fun" (I happily sang that as "Fun Fun Fun till her daddy takes the keeper away").Delete
It was "till her daddy takes the T-Bird away."
I've learned not to sing in the presence of others anymore. :)
Nancy...so funny! I too remember the ribbons on a purple cake. I wasn't sure what they were saying either...and I know I got lyrics to so many of those songs WRONG. :)ReplyDelete
On a serious note, I went to confession while in Rome. The priests I normally confess to are so kind and encouraging that I was in a state of shock when the Italian priest asked me if I was REALLY sorry for these sins. Then he said, "don't tell me, tell God." I was truly shaken when I emerged. I would not want this priest as a regular confessor, but I though a lot about what he said and it was a real wake-up call. Am I sorry for these routine sins I confess over and over again? Am I really sorry....or only "partly" sorry? If I am truly sorry, I should be making some headway with these habitual sins. Thanks for a sobering..yet funny, post. xo
Wow, Patricia! What you said has really made me think. I feel I am TERRIBLE in confession - sometimes I even confess that! I sort of rattle off what feels like a list. I feel like I'm confessing "from the surface." Probably that makes no sense.... but anyway, I think I could benefit from someone like that, at least sometimes.Delete
I, too, enjoyed the humor. Children are so precious when they get these things wrong but are perfectly sincere in heart. Glad you posted this because every time I say the Act of Contrition I try hard within myself to mean what it says, and often doubt if I have a firm enough purpose of amendment of life.ReplyDelete
Me too, Barbara (about the amendment of life). As I told Patrica, above, I feel like I'm rattling off a list. At the age I am now, I wonder if that will ever change. But I know God is looking at the heart, and I hope He finds it more than partly sorry by now!Delete