Regina’s Writings: Anything Else?

by M. Regina Cram

Even in the midst of the sin, I must have known it was wrong. It wasn’t anything illegal or unethical; it was just ordinary, ugly sin.

God kept nudging my stubborn conscience to acknowledge it, but part of sin is resistance to seeing it for what it is. Still, I knew I had to confess it—soon, out loud, to a priest.

So, I did what any self-respecting Catholic would do. I stalled. I mean, isn’t there a limit to what one needs to confess? Besides, there are worse sins being committed; it’s not as if I’d committed murder. I hadn’t even robbed a bank.

“Confess your sins, and God will forgive you,” my conscience prodded.

“Oh, Lord,” I pleaded, “I don’t think I can spit out the words.”

“Confess your sins, and I will forgive you,” God gently invited.

I was out of excuses and truly sorry, so I relented. Sitting in the pew awaiting my turn for confession reminded me of my first date: my heart raced, my palms were sweaty, and I wondered how I’d gotten myself into this jam. Whatever it was, I promised to never do it again.

In that place of desperation, I asked God to give me the words to express my sin and my sorrow. And I begged God for a compassionate priest.

When my turn came, I was relieved to find myself facing a gentle priest who never asked questions. So I plunged in. I confessed every sin I could think of except the one offense that had drawn me there. For the first time in my brief Catholic life, I actually ran out of sins to confess.

My stalling complete, I took a deep breath, braced myself, and . . . said nothing. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t spit out the sin that weighed so heavily on my heart. Feeling guilty but relieved to be done for the day, I concluded my confession.

The priest waited a moment. Then, with eyes full of compassion, he quietly asked, “Anything else?”

I sat in stunned silence. Did he say, “Anything else?” Wasn’t this the guy who never asked questions?

Ah, but I had begged God for a compassionate priest, and that’s what He had given me. Beaten by my own prayer, I mumbled, “Well, um, as a matter of fact, there is.” And somehow, with God’s grace and a passel of angels sweetly badgering me, I spit out the words I so desperately needed to confess.

And it was over. In a voice rich with kindness, the priest expressed how pleased our heavenly Father is when we come to Him.

My tears flowed freely as God’s forgiveness washed over me, showering me with not only His pardon but His peace.

Surely, God laughed that day. A self-conscious sinner had tried to confess her sins but had exhausted all her courage just walking through the door. That same day, a gentle priest extended God’s healing with a simple question.

“Anything else?”

M. Regina Cram is a published author and parishioner of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish.