A piece I wrote back in 2010.
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…” said the young man, broke the silence in the confessional in the Cathedral of Good Shepherd. It was a few minutes after lunch time mass ended but there were only a few people left. There was a group of old women praying the Rosary in front of the tabernacle and a couple of people who were kneeling in the pews. As usual, the lunch time mass was always full of people trying to use their time for lunch and mass and getting back to the office on time.
Jonathan was born in a Catholic family but his parents were just Sunday Catholics, so he didn’t know the Catholic teachings well. However, a few weeks ago, a new teacher showed up in his religion class. His name was Fr. David., a Jesuit Priest from Portugal. He was different than Mr. Peter, the previous religion teacher who only taught what was in the textbook, which was more about Catholic Social Teachings. In other words, boring!
Fr. David taught different things. He talked a lot about Catholic doctrines, dogmas and the real teachings. Suddenly, Jonathan saw his religion from different perspective. He found himself actually listening to the Fr. David during religion class.
Last week, Fr. David taught about Sacrament of Reconciliation and he lent them a book by Scott Hahn; “Lord, Have Mercy.” Jonathan finished reading the book two days ago and it touched him deeply. He knew then that he had to go to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. It was the reason why he had the courage to approach the priest after Mass to do confession.
Jonathan was very nervous when the celebrant priest gave the final blessing because he knew than soon he had to go to that priest for sacrament of reconciliation. A small piece of paper was crumpled in his right right hand. It was the ‘sin list’ that he jotted down after he did Examination of Conscience last night. He waited impatiently near the Blessed Virgin Mary grotto next to the rectory. Suddenly he saw a small figure in white, carrying a small wooden basket, walking slowly towards him. Jonathan quickly approached him and said quietly, “Father, I need to do confession.”
“Hey son, come,” he made his way back to the Cathedral gesturing Jonathan to follow him, while taking something out from his pocket, “When was your last confession?”
“I’m not very sure, Father. I did yearly confession when I was in high school, but it was also because the students were required to do it, I don’t think it was valid. So can you help me?,” Jonathan answered him hastily.
“Yes, yes. I’ll guide you then,” said the priest while unlocking the padlock to the confessional. He opened the door and let Jonathan enter first.
“Thanks” said Jonathan awkwardly.
“Well, I think it’s better if you just sit here,” he stated while pointing to the chair opposite him. After Jonathan sat down, he continued, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Son, you may start whenever you’re ready. Take your time.”
Jonathan could only nodded his head, he was very anxious and his mouth felt dry. He opened the small piece of paper in his hand which already crumpled, then he started, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…”
“That was a good confession, son. You see, the path to holiness isn’t easy, even Jesus didn’t say that it would be easy. The most important thing is that we keep striving for holiness and do not despair easily. From the day of Adam and Eve, our lives is a battle between the good and evil, and if we believe in God, we know that He will help and guide us,” said the confessor gently. Jonathan was sobbing quietly. It was such a good confession indeed.
“From the beginning, God already knew that human would disobey Him greatly but that didn’t stop Him from creating us and even give us the freewill to do what we want. However, we must use our freewill responsibly as our action will affect people around us greatly. For your penance, pray 3 times Our Father, Hail Mary and the Glory be. Now say the act of contrition in your heart, tell God that you are sorry for your sins and that you will not do it again,” The Confessor told him while extending and laying his hand on Jonathan’s head. He then continued with the absolution:
“God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and resurrection of his Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, +
and of the Holy Spirit.”
“Amen,” Jonathan replied promptly.
“Remember that God is always waiting for you in the confessional if you sin again. Now go in peace to love and serve the Lord,” the priest smiled at him.
“Thank you, Father,” Jonathan thanked the confessor joyfully and left the confessional. He felt a heavy burden was lifted off his shoulder. He felt so pure and clean, after all, he just did his first confession in a long time. He walked quietly to the Blessed Sacrament. There were fewer people now praying on their own, mostly old ladies praying the Rosary. He knelt in front of the Blessed Sacrament and prayed. He knew it was God behind all this, so it was Him he should give praise and honor.