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Anthony De Mello

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It is the custom among Catholics to confess their sins to a priest and receive absolution from him as a sign of God’s forgiveness. Now all too often there is the danger that penitents will use this as a sort of guarantee, a certificate that will protect them from divine retribution, thereby placing more trust in the absolution of the priest than in the mercy of God. This is what Perugini, an Italian painter of the Middle Ages, was tempted to do when he was dying. He decided that he would not go to confession if, in his fear, he was seeking to save his skin. That would be a sacrilege and an insult to God. His wife, who knew nothing of the man’s inner disposition, once asked him if he did not fear to die unconfessed. Perugini replied: “Look at it this way, my dear: My profession is to paint and I have excelled as a painter. God’s profession is to forgive and if he is good at his profession as I have been at mine, I see no reason to be afraid.” 🙂