Failed resistance to infidelity on a balcony.
That is when it happened for me. Without warning or expectation, the passion of Christ filled me.
And His passion spilled out my swollen member onto the waiting face of the angel below.
My suffering. My sorrow. My fear. My doubt.
Eventually, Maria swallowed it all.
And I had my answer. I was healed. So was Maria, my precious child of God. There was no sin to forgive.
We both ended with the sign of the cross.
"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good."
"For His mercy endures forever."
The next week, I offered Maria the Sacrament of Penance in my office. It was a nice change. The confessional booth was already being use by a "walk-in" and one of my ordained brothers, and sitting in the pews was just too darn public.
Maria didn't seem to mind. She knelt humbly on the prayer bench below the holy crucifix and began her Reconciliation with a pure and open heart. I smiled at the beautiful, young, Latino woman offering herself to the Lord God Our Savior for judgement and consideration.
"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned."
I couldn't help but notice something had changed in my young parishioner. There was a fresh, rosy glow to her cheeks, and her smile conveyed the quiet peace of one who had come face to face with the Divine and lived to talk about it.
But there was something more. In addition to the vibrant life radiating from this woman of God, she was wearing a new wardrobe, one that accentuated the womanly curves and bumps and natural beauty that the Almighty had chosen to bless her with.
"In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. My last confession was one week ago."
The short, pleated skirt; the nylon stockings with the black lace at the top of her thin, tan thighs; the high heels; the luscious hair pulled back into a pony tail so her face was open and exposed; the tight t-shirt with no bra that hugged her small, boyish chest but prominently featured her large, swollen nipples - all of those adjustments were not an arrogant display of hubris or pride. They were not an advertisement for sin and debauchery.
They were a celebration of God's wondrous work.
I stood behind my parishioner and took comfort in her steadfast obedience to God and her devout commitment to serving His people. I had been looking forward to her confession all week, and for the first time, seeing her pray to our father on her knees in front of me, I appreciated how the Lord had sculpted Maria's bottom in perfect form of a simple heart.
I smiled and thanked God. I greeted Maria in my professional capacity as a man of the cloth.
"Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself. 1 Corinthians 6:19."
Then I greeted her as a friend.
"How have you been, my child? I have spent many hours thinking and praying about you since our last meeting."
Maria spoke without turning her head. Her eyes were fixed on the broken body of Christ nailed to the cross above her.
"It has certainly been a week full of miracles and ministry, but the truth is, I have been struggling, Father. I have been questioning. I have been doubting. I have done my best to answer my calling and follow the will of God, but I think I'm messing it all up."
I comforted the young woman with a hand on her shoulder. I caressed it lovingly.
"The path of the chosen is never easy, Maria. Tell me what's going on. Let's figure it out together... with God's love."
Maria continued her confession.
"After our last meeting, Father, I was blessed with a clarity of vision. I understood what God was asking of me, and I was eager to submit to his will."
"It was a spiritual awakening for both of us, my child. The Lord has chosen to bless us both with hard, unusual callings."
"I didn't see it that way, at first. When I left the confessional last week, I felt fresh and new. I was ready to change the world."
"So, what happened?"
"At first, the path was clear, on my way