nimis cogitatione, verbo et opere:
mea maxima culpa.
(Okay, this starts out like an account of a play scene, but isn’t. If
you’re looking for that you’re going to be disappointed. Fair warning)
Here I’m going to digress just a little bit. I’m Roman Catholic —
have been since birth. My first 13 years of education were in Catholic
schools, mostly taught by nuns. In my own weird way I’m quite
religious. I’m not very spiritual however — in fact I have almost no
faith in God. It’s the ritual that attracts and comforts me. I’ve
been away from the Church for a while — the typical lapsed Catholic.
There are a number of reasons I’ve absented myself — disagreement with
RC politics and my own personal choices (marrying after a divorce and
outside the Church being chief among them). Being away and not
attending Mass or joining my local parish have been my doing and I
mostly don’t feel inclined to return. But right now it’s May and the
roses are blooming. There are alters to Mary all around.
Right now I miss my religion*.
Recently, I was strongly reminded of this. Last week I got a chance to visit a dear friend who was in the area (well, give or take 100 miles or so). We had a great time talking and hanging out. And then I let him know I’d like to do a scene if he wanted.
As both a gentleman and a friend, he could hardly refuse and even made me feel like doing a scene was something he, of course, had wanted to do as well. I even was brave enough to let him know I wanted a heavy-ish scene. ::gulp::
But then, over dinner, he pointed out he needed an offense to punish me for. And it would have to be a serious crime to merit a heavy punishment. I had a moment of panicked floundering. Because, well, for the last few years, Pablo has punished me when I’ve done something wrong, at least on that level of wrong. Yes, I could make something up. But I didn’t want to add acting-guilt to the scene. I didn’t feel I had/have enough experience at role playing to do that well. Looking at him, I started to say explain (obviously he knows about Pablo and me and how things are between us) that there wasn’t anything that I hadn’t already been punished for, especially if we wanted to leave my school work out of it.
And then stopped as my mind spun back. Because, for me, there is always something. It’s just a matter of finding it.
The finding is part of the whole "examining my conscience" thing. I hadn’t felt it in years, but the mental searching sensation was completely familiar. I drifted back to childhood, to the smells of wax and incense. Wooden pew and hard kneeler.
Although I haven’t been in a good few years now, I was trained to make a good confession. Throughout my childhood, from age seven on, I was taken, along with the rest of my class, to confession on the first Friday of every month. Fifteen minutes before we were walked over to the church, our teachers would admonish us to "examine your conscience" so we could make a good confession. We would put our heads down and recite as a group this prayer
Forgive me my sins O My Lord;
Forgive me my sins.
The sins of my youth;
The sins of my age.
The sins of my soul;
The sins of my body.
My idle sins,
My serious voluntary sins.
The sins I know,
The sins I do not know.
The sins I have concealed for so long which are now hidden from my memory.
I am truly sorry for every sin, mortal and venial,
For all the sins of my childhood up to the present hour.
I know my sins have wounded Thy tender heart O My Lord.
Let me be freed from the bonds of evil through the most bitter passion of My Redeemer.
O My Lord, forget and forgive what I have been.
We were then taken over to the Church, knelt in rows of pews and one by one ventured into the confessional, returning to kneel again and do penance.
Reading over the prayer, I recognize that it’s rather abject (and probably not something one should be teaching seven year olds), but it’s also one I’ve always liked, probably most for the last line "forget and forgive what I have been." I found myself reciting it in my head while my friend was "punishing" me for my confessed transgression.
I was too embarrassed to tell him though. He’s an atheist, though not the evangelical sort of my husband is, and might even have liked hearing the prayer, but I wondered what he’d think of my mentally casting him in the role of confessor and inflicter of penance and stayed silent.
As I’ve thought about it since, I’ve realized the degree to which my versions of the fetish — the sort of scenes that really work for me — are influenced by the sacrament of penance (note I’m using the old term rather than the newer one of "reconciliation"). The recognition of wrong doing, the humiliation of another person hearing me admit to it, them having the power to assign penance and also forgive. My feeling the desire to and promising to do better.
The punishment / penance being performed as the last gesture to make things right. As it said in our grade school catechisms, "if the roots of Penance are bitter,its fruit is sweet indeed."
In all their forms — punishment, discipline and play, these are the scenes and rituals that have worked for me.
I’m not one to claim connection with spiritualism through the kink — what I tend to feel is a profound connection with another — with the other person in the scene. But I do now see a connection between my fetish and a ritual of my religion.
Sacrament or sacralidge? Perhaps my desire to do a confession scene with a partner in a RC collar and me in a school uniforms speaks volumes as to howmy expression should be judged. Yet, to those of you who believe more deeply, I honestly mean no offense.
ex toto corde poenitet me omnium meorum peccatorum, eaque detestor,
quia peccando, non solum poenas a Te iuste statutas promeritus sum, s
ed praesertim quia offendi Te, summum bonum,
ac dignum qui super omnia diligaris.
Ideo firmiter propono, adiuvante gratia Tua,
de cetero me non peccaturum peccandique occasiones proximas fugiturum.