This was the third book I did in the Monastery. It is available on Amazon either as a Paperback or Kindle. All paperback sales go to support the monastery while the Sisters have graciously allowed Kindle sales to go to me.

What Are You Doing Here?

by Fr. Edward R. Wolanski, CP  – Shelter Island Heights, New York

I hope this sharing of my experience is helpful, especially to my brother priests and those who prepare people for the sacrament of reconciliation.

I have been a priest for thirty-three years and a preacher of parish missions and retreats. During my first year of priestly ministry, I was sent to a small rural parish to preach a mission. On Saturday afternoon, I went to the church to “hear confessions” as we used to say back then. The church was empty, and I sat in the small, dark confessional wondering why no one was coming. I opened my breviary and began to pray. A long time passed without anyone coming into the confessional.

I was a little disappointed that no one seemed to want to “go to confession” when suddenly I heard a voice: “What are you doing here?”

The voice was so clear that I thought someone was outside my confessional talking to me. I pulled the curtain aside but found no one there. The church was completely empty. I sat back once again and the voice came a second time: “What are you doing here? You have no right to hear what you are about hear. Only I have a right to hear what is said in this place.”

I suddenly realized Who was speaking to me. “They are coming to Me, not you. Only I can forgive their sins. You are given a great privilege to share in the most intimate moments between Me and My people.”

A great peace came over me and a deep sense of awe. I realized in that moment that celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation was not a job a priest did, but an awesome responsibility and privilege.

Since that day, I have always loved to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation. I find that my knowledge of God deepens through being His instrument. I am amazed at the ways God uses me during the sacrament of reconciliation, and the blessing it is to those who approach the sacrament in faith and hope.