“Oh please, Dear Lord, release me from the bonds of sin, lift this burden from my soul, for I am such a miserable wretch.”
Father Douay was on his knees using his left hand to press and rub the hair shirt under his robe across his chest to increase his pain, and his right, clutching a short whip, to strike himself across the face and neck.
“Almighty Father, maker of Heaven and Earth, please allow my mortification to atone for my many sins, please provide me with forgiveness, even though I am totally unworthy. Oh dear Lord…”
“Just exactly what do you think you’re doing?”
Father Douay was startled and stopped beating himself in mid-prayer. Looking around his small cell, the room he chose to reside in during his retreat at the monastery, he saw that he was not alone, even though he had locked himself into his room hours ago.
“Who are you?” The Anatolian Priest was astonished, indignant, and more than a little embarrassed that his acts of penitence were being witnessed.
“Let’s just say I’m an interested observer,” the other fellow said. He was reclining on the Priest’s bed, one of the few pieces of furniture in the room, with his back propped up against the wall. He was startlingly attractive, brown eyes, dark hair, dressed in a simple suit, gray shirt unbuttoned to mid-chest, no tie.
“How did you get in here?” Father Douay tried unsuccessfully to hide the whip under the small desk to this left. “What do you want?” The Priest was now standing over his unwelcome guest.
“I already told you what I want. I want to know what you’re doing.” The dark man sat up a bit straighter but continued to give the impression of being completely relaxed and even a bit amused.