“Good Morning, father.”
She quickly made the sign of the cross before saying, “Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been five months since my last confession. These are my sins.”
Father Culpepper listened as she confessed her sins briefly and clearly.
“Father, I’m truly sorry for all of my sins. I know that it’s wrong to strike out at someone in anger or to envy and to covet. I’m a single woman and I teach at a primary school. I love my job but I’m afraid that I could lose it.”
“Why do you think that you could lose your job?” Father Culpepper asked.
“I’ve developed feelings for one of the teachers but he’s married with two children. One of them is in my class. It’s hard for me to be professional around him and I can’t prevent the adulterous thoughts I have about him. What should I do, Father? Leave my job?”
“What do you think would happen if you didn’t leave your job?”
“I don’t know. There are times when I think that he might be attracted to me too. And while a part of me is thrilled about that, I don’t want him to cheat on his wife with me. I couldn’t live with myself if that were to happen. Adultery is a mortal sin and I don’t want to commit it but I’m afraid I will be tempted to if I don’t do something to prevent it.”
“The Bible teaches that, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.“
“Are you saying that God may provide a way of this for me?”
“Yes, He will. Sometimes, the safest way out of a temptation is to run from it as Joseph did even though he ended up in prison but God was with him all the time he was there.”
“I hope God’s way out wouldn’t mean that I have to leave my job but if that’s the only way, then, it’s what I will have to do. In the end, leaving my job is a price I’m willing to pay if it will save me from sinning against God and the teacher’s wife.”
“God will give you victory over this and every temptation you face. Here are some strategies which can help you to overcome temptation. Be reconciled to God by turning to Him in repentance and faith. Daily meditate on His Word and it will transform you. Don’t let your flesh, you desires and lusts control you, you control them. Remember temptation isn’t a sin until it is acted on. As God told Cain, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it. Avoid situations which could lead to temptation such as making sure that you and the teacher are never alone. Recognize as Joseph did that sin is directed against God. Talk openly and honestly to Him about your sin and your temptations. Ask Him to help you to resist temptation and to have victory over it, not only in action but in thought. We know that sin is conceived in the mind before it is followed by action. Remember that you are accountable to God. You may be able to hide your sins from others but God knows and sees everything. Choose eternal rewards over temporal pleasure which will only take you outside of God’s plan and will for your life.”
“Thank you, Father.”
Father Culpepper gave her the penance to do fasting and praying. Then, he had her make an Act of Contrition.
Closing her eyes, she said, “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.”
When she was finished, Father Culpepper offered the prayer of absolution. “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
She made the sign of the cross and said, “Amen.” She got up from her knees and left the confessional box. Instead of leaving the church, she made her way to the middle pew and knelt down to do her penance, saying the particular prayer she was given. Father Culpepper returned to the church office where he spent the rest of the afternoon.