My goal in life is to have sins like popcorn. Sounds crazy, I know. But let me explain.
I haven’t always been a Catholic. I entered into the Catholic Church in May of 2008 knowing absolutely very little about the Church as well as my own faith. Full disclosure, I was more anti-Catholic than passive about the Church. Yes, I married a “Catholic” and promised to raise my children Catholic, but my husband was a cradle ‘culture’ Catholic, so little was expected of me in this regard. I had a spiritual experience inside of a self-realization temple a couple years prior and was propelled into this search for Jesus Christ afterwards.
After that spiritual experience I was sure of one thing – it was Jesus the Christ that I had been searching for my whole life. And now that I had experienced Him and His never-ending love for me I was set out to truly find Him and worship Him. I prayed to Him, I asked Him to take me to exactly where He was, where I could experience Him like I did in that pagan temple. He led me to His Catholic Church.
It took many years to learn the faith (and I am still learning) and to truly understand sin. Coming to a fuller understanding of what sin is was extremely important for me. Being a Catholic allowed me to process my own sinfulness within His mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). It was in my First Confession that I experienced Jesus yet again in a truly mystical experience – His grace literally touching me. Let’s just say I walked into the confessional with a hard heart and closed mind and only doing this ‘thing’ so that I could become a Catholic. But I walked out a converted and true believer in the sacrament! The full mercy of God and the love of Jesus Christ is present in His sacraments!
And it has been through Confession that most of my life changing moments, my bearing of soul and sin have happened. My first confession as I have already shared, the confession about my abortion which led to my healing and understanding of my motherhood to my lost child, Esperanza. My confession about my earlier life experiences and the hatred I held in my heart for those who harmed me which propelled me into a years long journey of prayer and trust in God in order to find authentic love and forgiveness for them. All of which allowed me to discover the core of my own identity – my human dignity. These all happened through the life changing graces of God that I received through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Which leads me to popcorn. I know, sounds crazy. Here is the connection…
Archbishop Fulton Sheen is known for this quote, “Hearing nun’s confessions is like being stoned to death with popcorn.” I remember when I first came across this quote, I laughed. But I could not forget it. I kept remembering it, it kept coming back to me. Eventually, I realized that it wasn’t just something the good Archbishop said to garner a laugh, but it was a subtle truth being revealed in the wisdom of God he possessed. Their sins were like popcorn. He referenced being “stoned to death” by them. Quite funny, truly. But let’s go deeper.
Which would you rather be stoned to death by – stones or popcorn? Exactly.
Listen, we are all sinners. But, we must analyze and ask ourselves - are my sins more like stones or more like popcorn? I know that when I first started out in this quest to follow Jesus, my sins were absolutely stones, more like boulders that required the grace of God to remove. We even used the metaphor to teach our children that our sins are like stones that we keep filling a backpack with, and when we go to confession we empty out the backpack- the weight of our sins is lifted off of us. But if you do not go to confession, if you do not make your sins right with the Lord, then you are continually adding more and more weight to the backpack (journey).
This is also where the beauty of the Church’s teachings can be found – the fullness of understanding about sin. What is sin? This post is not a theology lesson, but I do encourage you to take the time to read what the Church teaches about sin here: https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a8.htm
Simply put, sin is an offense (a stoning of) against God. My sin like a boulder was me stoning God with it. My sin like a stone was me stoning God with it. My sin like popcorn is me stoning God with it. For me, I have found that the more I trust in Him, the more I commit to prayer and the sacraments, the less weight and brutal my sins have become. Now, I am in no one saying I am sinless, or even that my sins are all like popcorn all the time.
Like I said in the beginning of this post - my goal in life is to have sins like popcorn.
But now you get it, right?