The Good Shepherd (The Love Project – Guest Post by Elizabeth Schmeidler)

After posting “The Priest Who Loved Me” series in The Love Project, a new reader contacted me and asked if she could share her confession story. Enjoy!

Just last year, during Advent, I was determined to make a good confession—I wanted to have my heart completely ready for the coming of baby Jesus. I called up to the friary and asked to speak to a priest who would hear my confession by appointment. Father Canice, a 90-something year old priest agreed to meet with me.

To be honest, after I had made the appointment, I wondered if I should cancel. My goodness…how unfair it would be to unload my hormonally-challenged self on a priest who was long past the age of retirement! Still, Father Canice seemed quite sincere when he said he’d be happy to hear my confession. In fact, I felt a connection to him through the phone line, much like I imagined I would feel if my own beloved father, now gone from me for almost 27 years, would have spoken to me.

I am so glad that I kept my appointment! It was like having my own father back—he even kind of looked like him. His smile was warm and his advice and comfort, soothing. I felt that I had found a friend…an advocate. When I got home that night, I wanted to give back to Father Canice an offering of encouragement for all he had done through his vocation; so I used the best way I know how…through my writing:

The Good Shepherd

On a cold wintry eve
Amidst the blustering wind,
You answered the door,
And let my sorrowed heart in.

With patience and kindness
You listened with care,
And in that space and time,
I knew Jesus was there.

A man of the cloth,
a heart filled with loving grace–
Your faithful service and calling
Make the world a gentler place.

One voice with a kind word,
One loving soul who truly cares,
Can ignite a smoldering fire of faith,
To consume sorrow and despair.

You may never quite know
Of the hearts you have reached
Through the Sacraments, Mass,
And countless homilies you’ve preached.

But each hurting soul you calmed,
Every single tear you dried,
Is known by the One Who called you,
The One Who walks at your side.

One day when you’ve finished
Your appointed race here on earth,
You’ll come into His kingdom–
See through God’s eyes, your worth.

You’ll be welcomed by saints and angels,
Rest in the embrace of the Holy One,
Amidst repentant souls whose sins you forgave
In the Name of the Spirit, the Father, and Son.

Thank you, faithful Priest, for answering the call,
For giving me comfort and peace.
And know that I will never forget
The loving kindness of Father Canice.

Elizabeth Schmeidler
12/21/2011
©2012

Elizabeth Schmeidler is the author of The Good Sinner
schmeidler bk

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