The Power and the Secret of Confessing before God by André Dumas

The Power and the Secret of Confessing before God[1] 

André Dumas

We gladly want to confess before You, Lord, because You will not take advantage of it to humiliate us; nor to grieve us with the generosity of Your mercy. Happily, You are not a God who would satisfy Himself by rewarding those who had the chance to be contented with themselves and pardoning those who had the misfortune to be at odds with themselves. Happily, You are not the God of perfection, but the God of justification, the God who has admitted getting a greater joy when He finds a single sheep that bleats far away than one hundred quiet sheep yawning their heads off in the pasture. Happily, You are not all that people think of by the word ‘God’: the ideal and the utopian, the infinite and the absolute, justice and reason, i.e. perfection—at once dead and killer. Happily, You behave entirely differently from the solemn platitude we have come to call: “the beneficial and virtuous examples of religion.”

For we would have neither the desire nor the need for such a God who would simply send us back to the miserable order of the world where the have’s would want more, i.e. that they would be applauded for their riches, and the have not’s would additionally suffer by being pitied for lacking the same. Happily, You are the God who said “the first shall be last and the last shall be first” because in this strange prophecy we do not savor a revenge but, strange as this may sound, we receive a promise, already valid in the here-and-now.

Because You are this way and not another, we very much want to come and confess before You. We very much want to talk about sin and repentance, forgiveness and conversion. We very much want to utilize these old and used words. They do not irritate our throat; they do not annoy our heart. They provide us the strength that comes from appearing naked and uncovered before You—without the mask of the day, the narcotic of the night. So the uttered words establish the strength and the tranquility of confession where we have nothing to hide or avoid or sublimate but we simply say. And the thing said becomes the power of our common secret.

Because I am not sure, God, that all are like You and that they do not happen to be pleased to know me in my nakedness, in my deficiency—troubled and troubling. I am not sure, O my Lord, that what is secret and confessed may not become a criticism and a disclosure. I am not sure that people resemble You enough so that I can trust them.

If You would, keep my confession in the secret compartment of our hearts so that I can glorify the power of Your forgiveness, without anyone being able to take advantage of the weakness of my fault. Amen

[1] Translated from the French by Youlika Masry (Cent Prières Possibles, Albin Michel, 2000, p. 101)

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