Sunday, May 03, 2009
Forgive me Father
"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It’s been many years since my last confession”
Seamus had hovered at the door of the church unsure whether or not to enter the uninviting grey stone building which towered into an even greyer sky. He had often glanced at the signs placed outside the gate to the churchyard. He’d even cracked a smile now and again at the witty messages displayed to tempt people in.
But today, the sign made him stop and think. ‘No God, No peace. Know God, Know Peace’.
He half hoped he’d find the huge oak door locked, but when he pushed it, it opened with a creak and a groan as if to say ‘What took you so long Seamus?’
He stood and looked around the vast gloomy edifice. A few candles flickered here and there. A woman, kneeling at prayer a few feet from where he stood, put God on hold for a moment as she stared at the stranger who stared back at her.
His immediate thought was to turn and flee this grotesque unwelcoming place, but something deep down inside him said that now was the time to face his maker. Now was the time to make his confession.
As he approached the confessional he saw Father McGuire slip inside. The priest, more used to forgiving trivial transgressions had no idea what he was about to hear. As he listened to Seamus he gasped. Then silence. Father McGuire was speechless. What he heard stunned him, and for the first time in his career he felt unable to forgive a sinner his sins.
A few muttered ‘Hail Mary’s’ seemed insufficient to absolve the transgression he’d just listened to.
He composed himself. ‘Give thanks to the Lord for he is good’ he whispered.
Seamus failed to respond. Instead, he flung open the door of the confessional and rushed through the church, out of the door and into the graveyard.
The sense of relief was almost unbearable. Strange as it seems, it actually hurt. This sudden out flowing of things previously hidden sent him reeling into a state of euphoria. He had faced the monster inside him. He was released. He was forgiven.
He was forgiven in the eyes of the church, but the eyes of someone hidden and watching were unable to forgive.