Have you ever heard laughter from a confessional before? I know it sounds so bizarre but it really did happen.
A few years ago before my son was born my husband and I were new to Delaware and discovered a small white chapel not too far from our home. It's named after the Immaculate Conception and it happened that the feast of the Immaculate Conception had just been celebrated.
It was also time for me to go to confession since it was about a year since my last one. As we walked in we saw that it was very quiet and peaceful just as it should but there was no line. We were the first to arrive. The parish priest was just coming out to greet us. We told him that we had come for confession and he told us he was happy to hear ours. I decided to go first.
I have always preferred face to face confession for some reason. I like to see my confessor's eyes and read facial expressions. I think it helps me to make a good confession too. I feel relieved when it's all over and the priest grants me absolution. It is the one special moment to have with God and He makes everything right again.
I remember Father Roark, an older, kind priest. I started off with my most serious sins and then talked about my venial ones. Well, the one about ice cream really threw him off.
I told father that I was home that same week having some Ben and Jerry's strawberry cheesecake ice cream. It had not been opened yet but I took the whole pint out and started eating. This was really good ice cream. I consciously kept reminding myself to stop halfway so that Martin could enjoy some too. The problem was that I never stopped. I ate it all! And I knew that Martin would feel bad too.
The next day I did my usual routine of walking on the treadmill and watching EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network). Father Mitch Pacwa was saying Mass and then the homily. It was as if he was talking straight at me because he was talking about the gluttonous behavior of finishing a whole pint of ice cream. My mouth dropped. I couldn't believe it! It was also the feast day of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
As I was recalling all of this to Father Roark he just burst out laughing and then laughed even harder. He threw his head up in the air and could not stop laughing! I found myself in an interesting situation and I thought that this certainly does not happen every day -- I started to laugh too. I must say that we had a pretty good laugh together.
Poor Martin was left outside to wonder what was happening. I walked back to pray at the pews to finish my penitence. As he entered the confessional, I completed my prayer and kept smiling to myself.
This was the most lighthearted and surprising confession I've ever had. Not every confession will be as lighthearted as mine, but the feeling of forgiveness, the sense of relief, and the gratitude of being reconciled with our Lord will always be experienced.
If you ask me if I still eat ice cream, I would tell you no. But I'm so wishing to try this refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free ice cream in Venice, California called Kippy's Ice Cream. The reviews and pictures say it all. Umm, Martin, when can we go? :)