“I just wish I could make more of a difference.” The woman on the other side of the confessional booth said, “Every day I see so much suffering and pain, but I can’t do more and it tears me up. So many of the children in my school are poor and in need.”
“We all do what we can and nobody expects more than that from us.” He said, “That you feel this remorse truly shows that your heart is in the right place.”
“There has to be something more that I can do.” She sniffed. “I just feel so hopeless.”
“There is something you can do Miss Fitsimmons.” He said, kindness and understanding in his voice. “You can pray.”
“Thank you, Father.” She said, “Coming here always makes me feel better.”
“I’m glad to have been able to take some of the burden from your shoulders.” He said, “You take care now.”
Ralph Henderson walked her to the door and closed it behind her. He knuckled the small of his back with a sigh. When he was walking back to the rectory he saw something in the confessional. It was a small black book with a weathered black cover.
“She must have dropped this.” He muttered, picking it up. “It looks old.”
Ralph carefully opened to the title page. It was a handwritten journal written in Latin and dated the First of May in the year 299. The name gave him shivers. The author was Athanásios Alexandrías, also known as Saint Anthony, the father of monasticism.
Bethany wouldn’t mind him reading it if he was careful. He would call her in the morning and get it back to her. Where had she gotten such a priceless artifact? With shaking hands, he sat in a pew and began to read. All questions vanished as he began to read the ancient words.
It was midnight by the time he’d reached the last page. He closed the book and set it carefully, shocked at what he’d read. Perhaps Bethany couldn’t read Latin; the solution she needed was right here in this very book.
What he discovered was a way to contact a divinity and ask a favor. He assumed that it had to be a divinity, an angel perhaps, as there was no way that a Saint would write about anything else. Wiping a hand over his forehead, Ralph came to his decision.
“I’ll do it. For the children.”