A Winter Confession II

Forgive me, Father, for I—

Oh, it’s you again!


(Gasp!) You remember me, Father?

How could I not? You’re the one who couldn’t stop

Saying winter’s four-letter word!

As a matter of fact, for a while back there,

You even had me saying it!

Are you having the same problems again?

No, no, Father—it’s more even more serious this time,

I went way past the speed limit—

On the highway?

Nope, on my thermometer: I’ve got a nasty bug

Otherwise known as the FLU.

Oh, is that all?

Huh, excuse me, what do you mean is that all?

Well, that’s hardly the stuff confessions are made of…

You wanna bet?

The minute my temp went to the nether regions otherwise known as 102 degrees,

I began having these weird, not to mention unbelievable flights of fancy

About everything from the top of my burning head to

The bottom of my aching ankled feet (and every aching everywhere in between)

And suddenly in the haze of my flu-afflicted noggin I figured everything out

From how to finally fix Rubik’s Cube

To convening an international conference for world peace

To creating really non-iron dress shirts.

It was frightening!

Coughing, hacking, and the odd sneeze here and there

And my bed hair looked like some outpost from a Wild West movie.

And to top it off, I wondered where was God!

Oh, I see.

You must understand that in the Incarnation—

What’s the Incarnation got to do with anything?

What has it got to do with anything?

It has much to do with everything!

Especially in your condition!

Do you not know that Jesus, (excepting sin) willfully chose

To experience what we humans do, even get sick in order to truly accompany us?

Now it was my turn to get quiet.

Don’t you realize that Jesus sneezed, scratched, and ached

And most probably bruised or broke a bone or two?

Not to mention maybe even had a sinus headache or a migraine,

Felt nauseous sometimes and maybe even had an achy tooth

And, at times, like any other boy in his day

Wanted to hide his head under the covers (even if it was straw)

When he felt it wasn’t his day?

Or maybe even vomited the gruel he ate that mightn’t have agreed with him?

Yes! Even Our Lord got sick!

He was divinely human! And humanly divine!

Now, what do you think of that?

Well, the nuns didn’t teach us that in parochial school, and—

Lay off the nuns now, will you?

They had hard enough a job trying to teach

A bunch like you the rudiments of life, never mind religion.

Besides, what else are you here for?

Well, you see, the flu made me ornery, even angry and out of sorts…

Come now, that’s to be expected, even when you’re ill

Even God in his mercy would understand that.

Oh, I know, but you see, I got angry at the pharmacist

When I was handed my Tamiflu and cough syrup.

And you’re out of sorts because of medicine to make you well?

No, Father, it was the price of the crap

Now, I thought you were giving up four-letter words?

If you only saw how much I had to pay for it, you’d swear a blue streak, too.

Just seeing the price tab, it made me sick, with fresh waves of nausea

All over again.

Seeing the cost, I almost had to take out a loan.

Nah, it couldn’t have been that bad.

Well, how much was it, and for how many pills?

It was five days’ worth, 10 pills, at $123.25.


Father, I thought no swearing?!?

I wasn’t swearing, my son. I was merely expressing righteous anger at the

Totally unjustified advantage taken of a suffering person by the blood-sucking

Corporate giant pharmaceutical companies that look after their bottom lines…


Gee, Father, I thought you were going to talk about Jesus using

The whip cord to cleanse out the Temple of the noxious pill pushers,

Uh, I mean the moneylenders.

Now is not the time to get theological, my son.

For your penance, say a prayer for those who are sick and alone

And suffer in silence with no one to attend to them.

Ask God to be by their pillow to offer surcease and succor

And that human hands may assist them in their time of physical need.

That their illness may be of short duration until the time comes

When they will truly feel the healing effects of love, mercy and care

And become happy and whole again, in spirit as well as in body.

And that when we are well, may we always appreciate

The things—and the people—we often take for granted.


Thank you, Father!

God be with—

Wheeze, sniff, cough, drip!

Oh, Father, don’t tell me?

Yes, it’s true, thank you very much—

I give you God’s blessing

And in return, you give me your bug!

Mon Dieu!

Get me some of that Benedictine brandy from that St. Bernard, on the double!!!

And a Holy Gesundheit to us all!!!

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Bruce Snowden
3 years 10 months ago
Hi Mr. McAuley, Read your captivating “A Winter Confession 11” smiling reflectively, and I liked it. I’ve had a lot of good confessions, a few pretty bad in the sense I wasn’t sure if I was sinning anew while confessing other sins, because a grumpy old man with a violet stole around his neck irritated me by his impatience and rudeness! I remember one instance when I felt like going to his rectory with complaint to the Pastor about his behavior, but decided to do nothing about which I was glad. After all, Father may have been having an acid reflux attack which made him short tempered! Or maybe all that sitting had irritated his hemorrhoids! Or possibly , he was just sick and tired, weary, of listening to so much sin! I mused, if I were in his shoes I would probably been twice as grumpy! About your reflections, I call it a poem, and liked especially the thought that Jesus got sick, maybe with the Flu, or maybe spewed after eating something that wasn’t just right. Maybe Mother Mary blamed herself for not being more careful? Mothers do that you know – Fathers too as I well know. At any rate I wonder did Jesus ever feel a blister on his heel, that rubbing of a sandal strap along the way in weary zap, did cause? And did he ever gladly doff the pain in foot by kicking off the tight and cruel sandal? Is this too much a scandal causing pause? You know we love to talk ‘bout childhood years, 'bout the laughter and the tears, it seems to be the thing to do, to reminisce on how we grew. This makes me wonder when at four did Jesus running ‘cross the floor tumble down and scrape his knee, then rain in tears to his Mom Mary, who hugged him tight and “boo-boo” kissed, not the last on Mommy’s list! Or while playing games and doing tricks, till someone yelled, “Stop throwing sticks!” Did Tweenage Jesus as children do, run from neighbors all askew? Did Joseph teach him of his trade, to learn how door and things are made? Did Teenage Jesus nail in grip with hammer hit his fingertip? Did he react as humans do, relieving pain in shrieks of “blue?” Or did he manage although quite shaken, in a Calvary flash to feel forsaken? Just thought I’d throw in some lines I wrote awhile back, hopefully complimentary to your poetry. But I think I hear you saying, “O.K. Enough already!” So let me get back to the kitchen where I’m preparing with my wife Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner for us and family on this St. Patrick’s Day in the South. Hi ya’all! Want some grits or maybe fried okra? Mmmmmm!
Joseph McAuley
3 years 10 months ago

Dear Mr. Snowden,

Thank  you very much for your kind comments on what I wrote--though I must say I enjoyed your "version" much better! As a matter of fact, I really did have the flu when I wrote it and it was snowing again that day (and unfortunately my Irish-born mother got the flu at the same time I did) and I had joked with the executive editor about writing about the experience; that's how I came up with the idea. Also, by the way, I want also to thank you also for your kind comments about what I wrote last August about Pope John Paul I--I appreciated that very much.  So I'm glad that there is actually someone out there who is really reading these "scribbles" of mine and it is generous of you to take the time to write, especially on St. Patrick's Day! Hope that corned beef and cabbage was delicious! And thank you for being such a dedicated reader of America! Long life and health to you and your family!


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