This isn’t a personal story, but you might get something out of it anyway.

It seems that a Cardinal Archbishop of Paris many years ago told a group of newly ordained priests, this story about three young men, students at the University of Paris, who on a Saturday afternoon were walking by Notre Dame Cathedral and on seeing the line of people queued up to  make their confessions, decide that it would be really fun to get in line and confess to a laundry list of lurid, outrageous sins.  And so they do.  The first young man enters the confessional and does so, exits, and winks at the second young man, who does the same.  The third young man enters the confessional booth and makes his fictitious hair-raising confession.  The priest gives the third young man this penance – to go to the front of the church and look steadily upon the figure of the crucified Christ and say “All this you did for me, and I don’t give a damn.”

 The Cardinal Archbishop then asks the priests how he might know this story to be true, confessions being matters of utmost secrecy.   “Because,” he says, “I was that third young man.”

Ron Hicks

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1 Response to Penance

  1. Anton Vanterpool II says:

    Thanks Ron. Sometimes I realize when we say the Confession of Sin, I leave out more than I take to God. That’s one reason it’s good to sing at church. Gives me a second chance while praying twice.

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