Have Patience With Me, Lord
By Rev. Robert J. Hermley

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The priest had been sitting in the confessional all evening.  He had heard and absolved the sins of many penitents.  He encouraged some to continue on with hope in God's love.  He reminded others of the love they really owed to God, quoting the Words of St. Paul that God was good and would never permit us to be tempted beyond our strength.

He said to each the words he thought Christ Himself would say if He were sitting there.  He brought a spirit of joy to the saddened soul who had, perhaps, forgotten that Christ really meant what He had said about the Prodigal Son.  He reminded hose who needed reminding of their debt to Christ for His constant forgiveness.

Finally, after the long line of penitents had come and gone, and had been born again into God's grace and love through absolution, the priest noted that it was almost time to leave.  Just as this thought had crossed his mind, he heard one more penitent enter on the right side of the confessional.

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned," the penitent began, "I know it's late and you must be tired, but please, Father, have patience with me; it has been such a long time and I have wanted so many times to come back.  If you could only feel the deep sorrow I have in my heart for all the hurt I have cause Christ by my sins, you would indeed have patience.  I came to you because I have heard from others that you truly understand sorrow."

The priest took his time and listened to the troubled penitent.  He had patience, and encouraged him to come back often if necessary - God's love is everlasting.  Finally, he gave the man absolution, sending him on his way in peace with a renewed hope.

When, at length, the penitent had left, the priest locked the church doors turned out the lights and knelt momentarily before the Tabernacle, before his Eucharistic Lord.  A look of reverence crossed his face in the light of he sanctuary lamp and he smiled a tender smile.

"Thanks for letting me help you, Lord," he said aloud; "I am far from perfect, but I am trying.  Yet, it is true, I am a knower of sorrow.  Yes, I try to bring Your love and forgiveness to all who come to me.  In my suffering, I have come to know how others feel.  Use me, Lord, to bring Your hopeful message to all who feel despair, sorrow and grief.  You have forgiven me, Lord, so many, many times -

Have patience with me, Lord, and I will repay Thee all!"