journal entry july 28, 2012
It is a monthly thing, it is all cleansing and renewing like a regular car wash or a foot spa. You came in all dirty, with all the grease and dust. My cuticles protruding and I have thick calluses on the soles of my feet. The cleaning process produces murky, dirty and all ugly wastes. But after the session, will come out something clean and new as ever. It gave a feeling of rebirth, being born again. Oh whoa! What a relief.
Once a month we go to “Balay Pare” not to visit the old priests there and do a program with them, but for a confession. It was time for a little tuning up. I have to admit that at first, I was uncomfortable and hesitant to do my confession there for many different reasons. Most of the priests there were old already and they may not hear anymore what I will be confessing or I will be misheard and misunderstood by them. Although for some they say that I works for them, the more they cannot be heard, the better. I was dumbfounded with my experience confessing with one priest. Being biased and inconsiderate, I did not imagine encountering a very good confessor in ‘Balay’. It was my most interesting confession to date. After shamefully telling him my sins, I wondered if he understood it. ‘Among’, (as how priests are called here in Pampanga) started telling me about his vocation story. What?! OK wait, I told myself. Where did my sins go? In the midst of his story telling, it dawned on me that he was paralleling his life story to that of my sin story. He told me to hold fast to my vocation and persevere, that sin will always be there. He said; the important thing was that, I admitted my sins and that I can go on with my vocation. He closed our confession Ala tete-a-tete with strong words that stuck in my mind. He said that for more than fifty years of being a priest, there was never a day that he regretted. All his assignments, the people that he met and the troubles he encountered were all nothing compared to the blessings he received from the Lord. He said that all was grace.
On the second time we went again for the regular confession, I was looking forward to meeting again and doing my confession with the same old priest. I told myself that confession would by then be easier for me since I know the priest’s formula and rhythm. But our God is a God of surprises, Among cannot attend to us because of dizzy spells.
So, we were assigned to a different priest. He was older and a bit paralyzed. I went to confession the last, since I have to talk to him about his stipend and for the schedule of the PDDM sisters’ confession.
I went in and kissed his hands and started talking. I thought he was not attentively listening and he asked me to repeat my last statement. He asked me if that was all I have to say, I said yes. He gave a big laugh and I wondered what was happening, I asked myself if I went to the wrong place or was I dreaming. I looked around and confirmed to myself that I was still in the room confessing. He laughed and laughed again. He then told me that all my sins were human sin. He continued speaking; soon I felt a certain lightness and easiness. Compassion enveloped me and I felt that God was there with us like that of the laughing Christ painted by Fr. Armand. He was there laughing with Among, He understood me and got me all covered by His Love. God’s goodness and love was overflowing. I found myself in tears.
I love recalling our conversations. He told me that (while he was laughing) all human sin and that I have to love my brothers because the Lord loves them and He wants them to be saved. He even said that my mind and heart should always be there for the mission. I kept it all in my heart.