My very close relative, who prefers to remain nameless, admitted her seven-year-old grandson will probably not become a priest. After what she told me about her grandchild’s first confession/first communion, I think most priests might even rethink their choice. It seems the lad, Indiana Jones (not his real name), was nervous before they piled into the car to go to the church for his first confession.
“I don’t know what to say,” he moaned. “I don’t know what to confess.” He paced around the living room.
His mother hoisted an eyebrow. “Well,” she suggested, “you could mention all the times you’ve smashed your brother, or the times you’ve said ‘no’ to me.”
He looked hopeful, but then his shoulders sagged. “No, that won’t work, because you can only confess to things that you are sorry about.”
When it was time, they filed out to the car and drove to the church. Indiana made his way in like a sacrificial lamb. The priest entered the center of the confessional and each child took a turn in the cubbyholes on either side. But something was amiss. A steady stream of children came and went on the priest’s right, but on the left, Indiana disappeared behind the curtain and did not return.
This was not what they had practiced. He didn’t know what to do. Little Indy kneeled in the confessional, trying to think of what penance he might give himself and waiting for the priest to okay it. The priest did not explain that he could leave, so Indy waited, and thought, and waited and thought until he could stand it no longer. When he asked for help, and his father abandoned him, it was more than he could bear.
Glory be and the saints be praised. No wonder the priest had him think up his own penance.
But that wasn’t the end of it. The next day they went to church for his first communion and Indiana realized he had no money to give when they passed the basket around. Not wanting to have to confess that the next time, he begged his mother to give him some coins. She dug in her wallet and handed him some cash which he carefully slipped into the envelope and sealed. But the collection basket had already passed him by. Sweat beaded on his forehead. The mass continued, but the little envelope burned in his hand. By the time mass was over and the priest turned and told everyone to “go in peace”,
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be surprised if poor Indiana became a protestant.