Confession to me used to be a once in six months routine. If I had a choice, I would choose not to return to the same priest. And I’d never look him in the eye while confessing. I felt too guilty.
Until one day, a close friend asked me to come along for confession. That day, I was introduced to a priest in whom I found something different. He was old and I worried about the age gap. He had this warm smile on this face which I was afraid would change once I started confessing. But the smile never left his calm, serene face.
At one point I hesitated, which he sensed and quickly reassured me that I could share anything without worry. My more shameful sins immediately came out to the open. Shocked at my own daring I quickly looked down to avoid eye contact. But the priest was unshaken. He remained calm, with his comforting smile never leaving his face. He spoke to me like he was proud I let go of my baggage. After that confession I felt renewed! Like never before. So light, free, and strangely eager to come back.
A week later the feeling faded, but this friend insisted I go back. I thought the idea was crazy, but I gathered up all my courage and went. A thousand thoughts flooded my head about what the priest would think of me – one week and so many repeated sins!– “I deserve the punishment“, I thought to myself and so I went.
During the confession, as usual my head was bowed. I avoided eye contact but the priest listened intently. Curious to see his expression, I looked at him. And to my surprise, he sat there calmly smiling at me as if to say “Its okay my child“. I smiled back feeling accepted again. At that moment I promised myself, “The next time I won’t repeat these sins! This priest really likes me despite my wrong doings. I must make him proud.” So the following week, with great-and I mean great effort-I consciously avoided every sin. It was so hard but I actually succeeded! It felt like the best achievement. A feeling I’ve never felt before. And not having to go to confession again that week made me feel happy.