I often sang along with the radio in my youth. Never mind that I was a far from engaging vocalist. Never mind that I was shockingly oblivious to lyrics as well.
I remember croaking 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 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
what kind of sorry would I be?
Painting: Alexei Harlamov, in US public domain due to age
This gently re-edited post was originally published on September 6, 2012. I share it here in order to link up with Reconciled To You and Theology Is A Verb, where a great group of Catholic bloggers re-post favorite articles
on “It’s Worth Revisiting” Wednesdays.