Way Back Then

When I wanted
To get it all right
I indulged in
A tediously lengthy
And partially sincere
Catalog of my iniquities.
But then I had a crib sheet
So that no fault would feel left

My confessor,
An aging portly monk,
Had one good ear
And one bad. The joke
Was he listened
With the bad. For him
There was nothing
New under the sun.

And then, with a sigh, after I
Had filed each sin by number
And title, he turned to face me
With my depravity,
Or even with my
Small spirit,
And with the warmest smile,
Looked me straight in the eye,
Charles, you must realize
You are a child of grace.
For your penance
You must learn
The art and joy
Of simple gratitude.

(Previously “Gratitude”)

Charles Preble, OblSB