The Confessional

It was Six-thirty in the evening – the beautiful Saturday began to sing its farewells. The sun had begun its final journey down the West, illuminating the earth in the seduction of a red bulb. Peter got distracted by its soft, beautiful rays. He dropped his phone on his bed and pushed back on his pillow. Over his window, the large yellow sun, moving over the palm trees and colouring each leaf in different shades, greeted his sight. He stared at the setting sun and smiled profoundly!

Many a time, this was a regular sight. His bedroom was positioned against the West.  And, habitually, as his smiles began to broaden, his mind began to probe into the magnificence of God and all His creatures.

In the beauty of the setting sun, Peter saw God. In all the natural phenomena that formed his environment, Peter spent his time trying to understand how a single Being would order the massive universe and all its contents into existence. The outcome of his wonder would be in the simple words, ‘thank you, Jesus’. In those three words, Peter often found satisfaction, though temporarily!

But, often, Peter concluded his admirations and wonder with a broken heart. He would bow his head and take in a deep breath. Great fear would surge up in his mind, sometimes, tears would follow. He would begin to pray, but right in his mind, he never believed in the words of those prayers. The burden he carried in his heart was so great, that often, when he tried to reach out to God: in the simple alms he loved giving or in the beauty of nature that he found always around him, the burden would weigh him down and he would go back to the only thing that gave him consolation – transient, but satisfactory consolation!

This very Saturday was exceptional. The next day was Divine Mercy Sunday, in the Catholic Faith he practised. As a Catholic, he knew what Sundays meant for him, let alone, the one designated as a special Solemnity.  But he never gave it a special thought and never dreamt of attending Mass – always one funny excuse from the other. But, on his bed, he kept whispering to himself, with awe, the magnitude of that Sunday. Gripped by fear and a broken conscience, he would whisper: God, you know I love you, you can see all things, so you see that in my mind, I love you!

As his eyes stared at the sun and the beauty continued to marvel him, he felt like kneeling before God, like confessing to Him from his heart of hearts!  But he waved those thoughts away, physically, shaking his head in the process. He took back his eyes from the setting sun, turned away from his window and went to his phone. His conscience rang the bell in his mind: tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday; it means something very great! He dropped his phone on his bed and the burden began to torment him.

He stretched on his bed; cleaned his face with his right palm; fought over the burden and went back to his phone. Though his fingers still felt heavy, he double-tapped on the Full HD screen and the light came on. The screen of Infinix-Note-Two was a fun to tap – a wide six inches gorilla screen with crystal clear pictures. He held up the phone close to his face and touched the play button. The video he paused came alive and he took a deep breath.

The moan began to intoxicate him. He contracted his thighs and his right hand went down into his boxers. He held his rising penis, pressed it hard and focused his attention on the actions on his phone. As the actors and actresses intensified their escapade, his penis got more strength and stiffened. He held it hard and began to jerk. Within seconds, the spasm was electric. He emptied himself, along with all the breath he had held up in his lungs. His phone dropped off his left hand!

He lay there on his bed, fagged out! His muscles began to relax. As the blood began to drain and the heavy breathing started to normalise, the relief came with drowsiness and he closed his eyes. The usual satisfaction submerged him! The ventilation system in his room romanced his body and his mind blacked out.

But, quite surprisingly, the sleep did not develop any further. Rather, the big, reddish, beautiful, setting sun returned to his mind and his conscience began the battle once more. Again, he remembered what the next day was, but waved it away. However, this time, it refused to get off his mind. It stayed there and shone its rays into his guilty mind. Then, gradually, the picture of the setting sun gave way and the picture of the church building came on. His conscience repeated the message: tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday. The whip of his conscience began to trash his saintly being.

God, I will not do this again, this is the last time. I’m dead serious. He picked back his phone and looked at it with remorse. God! What type of life is this! Ok! With his right thumb, he pressed the right side of his phone and the light came on. He ran his thumb on the keypad and passed the security. The video resumed from where it paused. He frowned at it, stopped the video, with speed and deleted it. The fury and the quest to live a new life led him beyond that. He went to his browsing history and deleted the links.

Then, Peter began to feel holy and confident again. He remembered the next day, with assertiveness and pride. But, the Devil had more confidence than Peter. He fastened Peter in his chains and with his sophistic ideas, the Devil made a meal out of Peter’s brains. He approached Peter in the air that Peter breathes and sank down the heresy into his lungs: This is the twentieth time you have deleted your browsing history this year, forget about this Catholic Theology. Masturbation is natural, Pornography is part of man. You will go there again, so far you are a man.

Peter looked back at his phone and began addressing it: ‘God, when will you liberate me from this very sin. He lay back on his bed and took in a deep breath. He looked at this phone again and went to Facebook App.  But, his mind was still restless. He closed his eyes. He conscience came back again: tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday! He opened his eyes, held back his phone and went back to Facebook. His conscience did not relent: tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday, you can go for Confession today in your parish!

Immediately, Peter remembered the word ‘Confession’. It did not sound impressive in his ears. He could not remember the last time he went for Confession. If he were to rack his mind, it would be up to twenty years, if not more than. In fact, two or three times after his first Holy Communion in 1994. For the past twenty-four years, going to Confession has never been part of his itinerary.

He believed very well on the churches’ teachings on Confession, but Peter did not find it funny, at all, confessing one kind of sin for decades. He believed he would go to Confession on the last day, and ‘sin no more’ – not every Saturday! His favourite prayer was for ‘Grace at the hour of my death’. That ‘Grace’ for Peter meant an opportunity for him to see a priest beside his deathbed, and to go for Confession before his final breath.

Lying on that bed, the last thought in Peter’s mind was Confession. In fact, he could not explain why he even had to remember that. Going to tell Father that I committed masturbation and viewed pornography then, tonight I do it again? No common, God is not a joke. With that, Peter resumed his Facebook. He ran his fingers through the screen, reading through every post and picture.

He happened upon a video clip and paused. Gossip Mill Nigeria had decided to upload a video of a young girl dancing shaku-shaku with the tag: ‘What a dance?’. Peter innocently touched the play button, hoping to watch the dance he knew very well. But, the name was only used as a cover for a very sensual twerking by this young girl. Peter looked at the dance steadily. The girl not only swung her buttocks provocatively, revealing all that the eyes of a decent person would avoid, she turned to the camera and started massaging her breast. Peter’s penis began to rise again. He reached out for his penis and fondled it strongly.

In the excitement that began to surge up, Peter remembered the promise he made to God a few minutes ago. He left the grip of his penis and stretched on his bed. His heart began to beat harder. Will this thing ever stop?  He went back to his phone, scrolled past the video and went on. A little while, he paused. With the frenzy of a man determined, at the moment, to turn a new leaf, he closed his Facebook application, went back to the display screen and deleted the app. In the same speed and fury, he turned to Opera Mini and Chrome browsers on his phone and deleted them.

The air of achievement went through his arteries and he felt like a saint. Then, his conscience resumed: Those apps are not the problem, no. Not even the videos are! The problem is you!  Peter began to wonder if he would ever reinstall those apps. In the conviction of the present hour, he was certain, he had overcome the habit. No! Overcoming the habit is not about deleting the apps. It is about seeing the pornographic videos and pictures online and scrolling past it without any feelings attached. Go to Confession. His conscience reminded him again.

“Confession!” He said it loud in his room. He stood up immediately, looked at the time: it was fifteen minutes to six. “I may not make it to CKC before six o’clock.” Yes, forget about it. It’s late. Try it next time. The Devil encouraged him. Immediately, Peter remembered the worst picture he had seen during the diocesan fasting, early in the year: he had seen his parish priest reading Punch Newspaper in the Confessional, behind the Seminary Chapel. How do you go and confess your sins to a man, who does not even know the meaning, the importance and the sacredness of the Confessional? The Devil reignited his anger and Peter went back to his bed. The Devil won!

On his bed, the picture became so vivid again and the anger that rose in his heart then, came alive. That’s right; you are right! His conscience resumed. But you can also go to Cardinal Ekandem Seminary. Fr. Nworgu is hearing confessions to students now, you can join! That one, even if you are late, you can call him. He will come out, even if he was having his supper. In fact, with him, you are never late.

Peter’s mind remembered the seminary. “Yes, I can go there!” He said it loud to himself. With that, he stood up again from his bed and went to his wardrobe.

Why are you disturbing yourself? Even if you confess now, you will return to your normal sins again. Relax! Why are you offending God by confessing and going back to the same sin again? The Devil resumed his war with passion. Peter remembered his weakness, but he still went on to wear his clothes. You are wearing your cloth; you can sit out at Discovery Park, you know? The Devil continued. Peter felt his stomach turned. He felt weak and very discouraged. “I am not going again, it’s dark!” He said loudly to himself. “Let me just sit out close by. Maybe, a bottle of beer.”

He stepped out and locked his door. As he walked down the street, he stopped, turned to give way to a car that followed closely behind him.

“Ah, where are you coming from? You don’t live around here!” Peter was visibly surprised to see his friend and classmate, Vincent.

“Peter, the rock!” Vincent exclaimed with joy. “I came to see my Landlord. There are issues we needed to agree on. Where are you going to? Can I give you a ride?”

“Yeah, I’m going to Olympic Sit Out!”

“Enjoyment man…! Na you bikooo!”

“Hmmm, let me just get out of my house.”

“Ok ooo, I will drop you, and I turn around.”

“Where are you going...?”

“Cardinal Ekandem Seminary, I want to see the Rector.”

Peter did not hear the other part of the sentence again. He bowed his head. My son, follow him, don’t stop by. Go, go, go!!!  He lifted his head, turned his face away from his friend and whispers his famous three worded prayer: ‘Thank you, Jesus.’

“Vincent, I will go with you to the Seminary; I needed to see Fr. Nworgu!” 

***   
Darkness had finally descended, enough to obscure the environment. Vincent pulled over by the Seminary Chapel and deemed his headlight. He felt uncomfortable though, not enough for any alarm, only that all through the ten minutes’ drive, Peter was not concentrating. His (Peter) responses were inordinate and very reluctant.

“Thank you for the ride.” The appreciation came on, expressionlessly, as he stepped out of the car. Vincent smiled and responded just like that. He knew a lot was bothering him, but he never tried to inquire. As Peter stood beside the car, he turned his head around and scanned the environment. Darkness made everything invisible. The Seminary was dead silent. He waved at Vincent and moved towards the Seminary Chapel.

Energy bulbs lit up the interior and the fans were in full blare. The red bulb behind the Tabernacle, indicating the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, pierced through the white rays and its reflections formed a reddish halo around the Tabernacle. It caught Peter’s attention and he went on his knees. He looked up and stared at the light. Jesus, that is you, Jesus, I am sorry, Jesus, oh Jesus. He felt his heart skip and tears began to cloud on his eyes. Jesus, I need your saving grace. He stood up from the floor, rubbed his eyes, walked to the first pew in the chapel and sat there.

A little boy, possibly in JS1, stood up from the pew and moved into the Confessional. He was the last in line, leaving Peter to himself. As the boy moved passionately down the aisle and opened the doors to Confessional, Peter remembered how long it took for him to come out and how simple it was for a JS1 kid to move, with such confidence, into the Confessional. He bowed his head on the pew and began to cry. Jesus, don’t let me come back here to confess this same sin again, let me come and confess a new type of sin, please. Within four minutes, the young boy came out, walked down to the altar rails and knelt before the Blessed Sacrament.

Peter’s stomach rumbled. He was the next in line and obviously the last person in the roll. As he stood up, his breath increased, and his feet felt heavy. Obviously, he was afraid. He managed to walk down the aisles and to the doors, but his hands felt too numb to open the doors. He wanted to knock, but the reluctance was so great that he could not even touch the door. For a second, he felt like walking away.

“Open those doors into a new life, Peter!” He turned around. Nobody was there, not even the child by the altar rails. The young boy had left, peacefully, after his penance. But Peter was sure he heard the loud male voice and understood his commands. “Open those doors!” The voice came again, louder and more real. Peter managed to lift his hands, held the two giant handles and pushed it, but it was locked, stiffly locked!

“No, it is not locked, it can’t be locked, how? Why?” Peter asked himself in total surprise and frustration, and the tears began to cloud in his eyes again. He literally felt his heart melting and he felt weak, defenceless and useless. “Oh, my God, why have you forsaken me? You know that I love you from the bottom of my heart, despite my sins. Why have you locked your doors against me? Fr. Vic?” He shouted the name, but, unimaginably his mouth mumbled without the slightest of sound coming out.
“Go home, young man. You are too educated to behave like this. How can you confess your sins to an ordinary man like you? Are you stupid? If you want to confess, confess your sins to God directly, not to a man. Be sensible for once!” The very familiar voice barked at him. “The Bible says, ‘nobody has the power to forgive sins except God.’ Leave that door and go home; go home and pray to God!”  Surprisingly, Peter did not look around to see who was talking. He simply knew the voice very well because the voice had been with him for years. It was the familiar voice that had prevented him from going to Confession for the past years – it was the Devil, an expert in loud specious arguments. Peter ignored the voice completely and flattened by the door post!

“Ok! God, since you have forsaken me, kill me at once! Send me to hell, since that is what pleases You. But, I will die here in your house, here, before these doors that you have shut against me!”

“Alright! If you are so resolute, stand up, push those doors open with all your life!” The voice came with great unction. Peter stood up from the floor, vigorously. He stepped back like a cobra recoiling to strike. With all his energy and weight, Peter jumped on the doors of the Confessional and shattered them like broken chains.

“Hahahaha, welcome my friend.” Fr. Nworgu took a step forward. “I’m so glad you have made it here. God will forever remain a winner!” Fr. Nworgu’s countenance changed, adding a stellar personality to him. The purple Stole hung like a golden fascia around his neck and his smiles radiated extraterrestrial beauty and splendour.

Unexpectedly, the Confessional brightened on him and opened behind him, an endless tunnel of lights – different interlacing colours of rainbow dancing farther and farther into the endless space, creating a celestial picture, more glorious than the Transfiguration. Peter, frozen like a refrigerated piece of meat, fell on his knees.

“Fr. Vic, is this you? Dearest Jesus! Please, where are we?” Peter was terrified to death.

“You are in the Confessional at Cardinal Ekandem Seminary, Uyo!”

“No Father, I see something else…”

“Yes, you see God; you are kneeling before His Throne of Mercy!”

“Jesus!”

“Call Him as your Saviour, not as an exclamation in English!”

“Oh!” Peter extended his hands, apologetically. “Jesus, I love you, I have seen you today! Oh, thank you, Jesus, for loving an idiot like me!” He placed his hands on his chest and bowed his head in bitterness. When he lifted his head, he saw Fr. Nworgu transform, gradually.

“Jesus! What is this? What…, who am I seeing? Jesus, who… Fr. Vic? Who are you?”

“I am Jesus Christ; I am the Confessional!”

Peter knelt there, simply looking at the image of Jesus before him in an already perplexing environment. He opened his mouth but could not say a word. He looked more intense and stretched his right hand.

“Jesus! Is this you?” He managed to say.

“I am before you, Peter!”

“Jesus!” He babbled. “Oh, my Jesus, where is Fr. Nworgu?”

“He is in me!”

“Oh, Jesus, Jesus, My Lord, you know I love You. You know that my masturbation, my pornography, I cannot help. I’m so sorry. I knew it offended you, please, please forgive me. Please, just do one thing for me?”

“I have forgiven you. Ask anything you wish…”

“I don’t what to sin again!”

“My son, the earth is filled with imperfections caused by the devil, but his time is close. He will soon be taken away and locked in eternal damnation, where he will never be able to corrupt your mind again. But, so long as you live here, my son, even your breath smells of sin.”

“Oh, God help me!” Peter exclaimed with all his strength.

“Look behind me, what do you see?

“God!” His breath increased, and he gasped for more. “I see endless beautiful space.”

“That is how endless my love for you is! That is the beauty I have prepared for you after this life. Hold on to your Faith. Always come for Confession; my Spirit will always be with you!”

Peter bowed his head and began to cry. Jesus extended his hands over him. Bright rays of red and white lights radiated out of his palms and rested on Peter. Jesus began to pray: “God, the Father of mercies, through my death and my resurrection, you reconciled the world to yourself and sent your Spirit among men for the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church, pardon Peter of all his sins and the punishments he deserved. I pray in your Most Holy Name, in my name and in the name of your Spirit.”

The ‘Amen’ that came from Peter resonated. He lifted his head, stood up from the floor and looked up. Jesus was not there again. He looked steadily into the space and saw a countless stunning crowd of angels playing different musical instruments, many which he never knew the names. He smiled and went back on his knees.

“My Jesus, please, don’t leave me! I want to be in this Confessional for the rest of my life!”


IDIONGO EBONG

4 comments:

  1. nice work . i was oncw a victim of this but after reading this book, i live to sin no more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is so great a story
    More of this pls
    Nice post

    ReplyDelete