It would be really awesome if we could all get past that one I mentioned last time... you know... the one about how God is punishing us every time we mess up... the big guy in the big chair with the big stick just waiting to beat on me like my dad did with his belt when I or my brothers displeased him... some day maybe we'll all get there... those wound things take a while to get healed up though.
Then again... look at the examples that were set for us. Back in '51 I displeased Father Grant big time... now my parents are standing next to me in front of the Principal and they are discussing my punishment. Father Grant would just as soon throw me out of school... he really worked that one on my parents... my suspicious nature said that he really did not want to lose a tuition... so he graciously proposed to my parents that he would allow me to remain at St. Ignatius as long as my parents would agree to an appropriate punishment... appropriate?
I would immediately stop all extra curricular activities in the school. Translated... that meant I would no longer be able to sit on the bench at basketball games ... and I would never ever be able to get my big "I" to sew on my jacket... it also meant that I was thrown out of the school play... my first part ever in a play... even if it had only one line... at least I had a part... of course my brother had a major role... and I no longer had even my one line.
Forrest Gump would probably say: "Punishment is as punishment does" ... as if those weren't enough rejection for one day.... those paled by comparison to my punishment of going to "jug" every day after school for the rest of the school year... this was only January! "Jug" was the room where one went after school to pay the penalty for doing bad things. Some call this sort of thing detention... it was like "say one Our Father and three Hail Marys" when you left the confessional to pay for your sin. The penalty usually fit the crime... you got caught chewing gum?... then sit there for an hour in Jug and write "I will not chew gum in school" 500 times.
But that was just one night. My punishment was every night for the rest of the year. I think that was Father Grant's idea of purgatory on earth where I could work off my sins in order to stay in St. Ignatius. You were not allowed to read nor do homework... just whatever inane thing the priest in charge would dream up to write down on paper that would occupy the next hour
Mr parents... instead of telling the Principal to stick it in his ear... and pulling me out of this religious system monstrosity called St. Ignatius... they did in fact agree that that punishment would be appropriate and perhaps Philip, the bad little Catholic boy, would get the message .. turn from his evil ways... and live a Godly life... oh yes... and to further help him to do that... there were a couple things he would also be required to do... in order to atone for his sin, I guess, and get closer to God.
Philip would be required to join the communion mass guild and attend mass at school every morning before going to classes... and receive communion every day... he desperately needs God. I would also be required to join the Sodality which would go to the quadrangle every lunch time to pray to Mary. This all meant I had to leave for school an hour earlier every day and return from school an hour later every day. I did that for the rest of the school year.... I could also bolt down my lunch and have no time to talk to any of the other kids...
Isn't that what religions are all about? The stopping of doing certain things and the starting of doing certain other things... stop doing bad things... start doing good things...
I am so glad that the Lord met me at the fence that day back in 1999 when He said: "Philip... I never asked you to do anything for me... all I ever wanted was a relationship with you.
That was 48 years later.