Some confessionals

have seats,

a place for the

penitent to


to confess.

Here, though,

there is a kneeler,

and a place to rest my hands.

And an

indentation in the wall,

not quite as

deep as a bookshelf.

The two small doors sit closed,

hiding the screen.

I wait for the

priest to finish

confessing the penitent

on his other


The darkness

smothers me.

I feel the

familiar tightness in my

chest, the old thought of

What if the doors do not open,

what if

I stay here




I clasp my hand tighter

open my eyes wider

trying to see.

All of a sudden the doors open.

They whisper softly,


telling me nothing here

shall ever

be repeated.

A bit of golden

light comes in

to my booth through the screen.

I can breathe.

Perfectly practiced words cross my lips.

"Bless me, Father, for

I have sinned. It has

been…three months since

my last confession. These are


I lied, I stole, I disrespected my

grandparents. Um, I swore,

I took the name of

Jesus Christ

in vain. I missed

Mass seven times

for no good reason,

I had impure thoughts, I watched

impure acts on television…"

I pause.

For a moment

a short moment

I felt the way you should

in confession.

As if you speak


to God,

and in His

eternal mercy,

you are freed

from sin.

Through the

priest, acting

in persona Christi,

in the person of Christ,

you are forgiven.

Through His one, holy,

Catholic and apostolic

Church, you