When I first moved to Minnesota (January 1996), I thought people talked a lot about the weather. Incessantly. To the absolute exclusion of anything else. In fact, other subjects of any existential depth whatsoever were nixed for the current wind chill, the comparison to yesterday's wind chill, much educated guessing about the iceout date (when the lakes see open water in the Spring, of course), yearly Blizzard comparisons, whatever. When I mentioned one time that I found it a little dismissive (as in, you're not important, but today's projected high sure is!), I was reminded with some force that weather kills you in this state. OK, hard to dispute. My individual existence is squat compared to humanity's efforts to survive the whims of the weather gods, interpreted through their priests: the local news meteorologists.
So I keep living in this state, trying to figure out how a person can be a Christian existentialist and survive both the weather and the talk of it. As I stepped outside to catch the bus (and you betcha, it was cold. -12 F and windy. I suppose the wind chill was about -250 or so), it came to me.
This is Confiteor weather.
I know there are people who prefer the Kyrie Eleison in Mass, and often skip the Confiteor. But something about the Confiteor (printed below, if you don't know what I'm talking about) fits in late January on this Midwestern glacier. My sin. Weather that can kill you. Walking to the bus stop as walking through the valley (or weather) of death. Desperate seeking for shelter and warmth. It's all connected somehow.
Personally, I don't think I can say the Confiteor enough. If this weather reminds me of that, well, that's a blessing. So as a Minnesota transplant, I can finally embrace winter. It's High Confiteor season.
Feel free to say it with me:
I confess to Almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my fault, through my fault, through my own greivious fault:
In my thoughts and in my words,
In what I have done,
and what I have failed to do.
And I ask Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.