An Irresponsible Youth

Lent is an annual season within the Church’s calendar to review our life and restore our relationship with God and with one another.

Some years ago I received the following letter signed, “An Irresponsible Youth”.  It is a good example of reviewing our life and wherever possible seeking to set things straight.

Dear Bishop,

A short time ago my wife heard on the T.V. that some men had stolen some bottles of wine from a restaurant when there was a black-out (electrical) here.  My wife said “How awful!”

Her remark called to mind an incident in my life some 70 years ago, I had never given it thought.

I was in Hobart for a sporting event.  We were strolling through the Town.  In what seemed to be a public corridor, saw on a door a notice written on a piece of wood (about 12 inches long) painted white and on the wood written in black paint (by hand) the words “Bishop of Tasmania”.

We were in a happy mood.  I said “What a souvenir!”  I screwed it off and took it. (Not of great value)  I remember feeling proud of such a souvenir, “What pride!” I thought now, I didn’t think of the wrong I did, then No, now Yes.  It probably was a depot for merit for some purpose.  I say now after such a long time.  In essence it was, depravation of the property of another and inconvenience to him.

Feeling regret I enclose $50.00. Pay it into the funds of your church, or give it to a poor person, or do with it what you will.  I am sorry to have done such a foolish thing and to have forgotten it.

God Bless You,

Yours sincerely

An Irresponsible Youth.

I forwarded the money involved in this act of penance and prayed for the man. As there was no name or address I was unable to respond personally to thank this “Irresponsible Youth” who was making restitution and peacemaking.

I am blessed by this letter and act which includes the powerful words: “I am sorry to have …”

May God give me the clarity and courage to say, “I am sorry to have …” and to thus seek reconciliation with people and God.

See also, A Beautiful Letter.

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