Monday, March 29, 2021

My Mother Forced Me to Go to Confession

The priest was waiting for the next person to confess. He saw a young boy, about fifteen, walking in hesitantly. He welcomed him and motioned for him to sit in the chair opposite him.

The Crucified One on the small table with the small oil lamp looked at them affectionately and protectively. The atmosphere smelled of incense from the vespers that had just preceded.

The young boy with his head down did not speak. The priest also waited, offering a short prayer, as he did for all the faithful who found the courage to come to the mystery of repentance.

"Father," said the lad at one point, "I don't want to confess. My mother, who is waiting outside, brought me practically by force. She is a woman of the Church and always nags at me to confess. She is a good woman and that's why I don't want to upset her. So I obeyed for her sake and that's why I'm here. But I don't feel ready for something like this."

The priest was in no hurry to answer. He mentally raised his gaze to the Crucified One and prayed more intensely for the young child.

"My child," he said affectionately, "as you know, confession is a mystery of our Church and presupposes the free will of man. Only he who comes freely, only he who has felt the need to open his heart to Christ, can confess. If the Lord Himself said "whoever wants to come after Me", then no one can forcibly follow Him or fulfill any of His words. Freedom, my child, is the oxygen of the Church. Without it, whatever happens, even if it looks good, is not good in the end. God does not accept it."

"Yes, Father," said the child, as he raised his head a little feeling discouraged. "I'm glad to hear you say that, and I wish my mother understood. But, I told you, she is a good woman, alone in life - my father is dead - and that's why I don't want to hurt her as much as I can."

"Well," said the priest, feeling an immense tenderness for this kind-hearted young man who showed great maturity with his attitude, "you do not need to confess now. Sit for a few more minutes for your mother to believe that you are confessing, and then leave and go with God's blessing. Until then, tell me your name, the grade at the school you attend, whatever else you think we can say to cover the time."

After a while the child got up to leave. The priest hugged him and wished him the best for his life. His mother was outside and seemed happy for her "confessed" son. The priest, however, was sure that it was only a matter of time before the child came again, but this time alone. "Such children, with such a good heart, are never lost," the priest murmured as he moved aside for the next believer to pass. "The Lord never forsakes them, and they seem to be among His favorites."

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.