Confession

“Father, I have sinned. Though I am a priest myself, I have not been to confession in eight months since my brother was murdered.”

 

“I understand. Tell me about your sins.”

 

“I have been plagued with thoughts of vengeance and murder, Father. I even bought a gun, not for my own protection, but to kill the men who took my brother’s life… it hasn’t been easy for me. I know my brother was not a man of faith. He was a drug dealer and an addict himself. Still, I feel more comfortable with the idea of sending those men to Hell than of going to Heaven myself. I know my brother will not be waiting there anyway. I… I… I tried so hard to save him. Now he’ll never have that chance. They took it. They took his chance of salvation from him.”

 

“You know this is a grievous sin you speak of…”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Thoughts of murder are as bad as murder itself. The Devil is trying to tempt you and you are losing, Father.”

 

“I understand, but…”

 

“Your brother’s soul is in God’s hands. It always has been. You are a man of faith, are you not…? Have some faith, then.”

 

“Father, there’s more.”

 

“Yes?”

 

“I’ve found out where they lived, driven by their homes. I saw one man with his brother, too, and I thought, ‘Why should he get to have a brother? Shouldn’t he share my pain?’”

 

“That’s not for you to decide.”

 

“…so I loaded my gun and drove by his house again, but this time it was after school and I saw children playing in front of the building. I’m not sure what I would have done if they were not there.”

 

“…Father, I want you to listen to me. If you do this, you won’t be ridding the world of a murderer. You will simply be replacing one with another. Trust in God and pray for His forgiveness. You said you wanted to find salvation for your brother. Can these men not also be saved?”

 

“No.”

 

“No?”

 

“Never!”

 

“Don’t be an idiot. You may be a shepherd yourself, but it’s not such a good thing to lie to your confessor. You and I both know that penance and confession can absolve the hearts of the faithful.”

 

“These are not faithful men.”

 

“Maybe so, but I’m sure they have a priest that can guide them as well. Isn’t there some scrap of hope you can find?”

 

“…there…”

 

“Yes?”

 

“There was one man who claimed to not be involved with the murder, though he stood by and watched. I thought he was just a liar, but I could see the genuine shame in his eyes. I think I could, someday, forgive that man. I think… maybe he does need guidance toward the Lord.”

 

“Talk to him.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“Visit him. Talk to him. You’re a priest, aren’t you, man? Let him know what he can do repent and find God.”

 

“…that sounds… I don’t know.”

 

“Yes. You do. God can’t forgive you if you can’t even have the faith that others can be forgiven… please visit more often, Paul. I’m worried about you. We all are.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XX

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