Mea culpa – no more

I don’t like to blame. It seems so passe. But more than that, it never gets me anywhere. I just end up chasing my own tail. But at times, I like to correct, or face, or neutralize some things that have made their way under my skin. Swimming all these years in my sub-consciousness.

I was born in Poland in 1973 into the Roman Catholic faith as most people there were. I remember my Catechism class. I was most impressed by angels. And the devil. The images. It was a feeling of anxiety and fear for me. I was also a sleepwalker. God, angels, and the devil. And the nearly naked man nailed to the cross in church.

A huge cross front and center. A limp body. Rather slim, with a cloth wrapped around his waist to cover his private parts. His head hanging to the side. And that crown of thorns. And nails driven through the hands and feet. All metal. A morbid scene. I don’t know how much of it I understood at all. But I knew I didn’t want to be anywhere near that cross. I preferred Mother Mary.

But let me get back to blame. As a child, I learned various prayers and rituals for becoming a proper Catholic on Sundays. I knew sometimes you stand up, and other times you kneel. And there comes a time during the 45 minute service for mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. You say this three times while holding your right hand closed and knocking it against your heart. My fault. My fault. My very grave fault.

Fault is a light word in English. Like, oops my fault. It’s not like that. Culpa means culpability. A feeling of wrongdoing and guilt rolled into one. For your sins. Except I could never figure out what my sins were. But yet every Sunday I had to do like others do. ‘Beat’ my chest and admit wrongdoing.

Like I said, I don’t like to blame. Not myself. Nor anyone else. Not anymore. I don’t like rituals either. They give me the creeps. But I revisit some things that I find lingering underneath my skin to clear them out. And I say – it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault, and it never has been. I release myself from the burdens of this world. I am not a sinner. I am not of sin. I am.

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