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Fear to Mercy

This morning my mom read a paragraph about the peace that is felt when people go to the Sacrament of Confession. It reminded me of the story the priest told at church this past Sunday. The deacon that the priest invited to celebrate Mass with him this week worked in prison ministry. The priest said that the deacon sent an email to all the priests in the area asking if they would consider going to the prison to allow some of those incarcerated to go to Confession. The priest said that was not something that he thought he would be able to do, so he did not reply. The next week, another email was received still asking for priests to go to the prison as the deacon did not get any volunteers. The priest felt the tug on his heart to go, but was not comfortable going. He thought maybe some other priests would feel guilty too and respond, so he did not. The next week another email came through. This time the priest knew that God wanted him to go and he had to respond – which he did. He said he was afraid to go to the prison, which surprised me because he is a big man. He had his own ideas of what it would look like and feel like inside and became more and more nervous as they entered the facility. But when he met the men and was able to hear their confessions, his fear subsided. He said he felt blessed to be an instrument of God’s grace and mercy, to be able to lift burdens off their shoulders. It was funny when he told the story as he was so nervous about going and kept trying to push away the nudge of God. He called himself a “big scardey-cat”.The priest continues to go to the prison on a regular basis to talk with the men and offer the Sacrament of Confession. And in the end, he and the inmates were both very blessed.

I Found God today in the story of a priest and how he and those incarcerated found God in the Sacrament of Confession.

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