Here is our story about Penance. Arathiel was the name of a little angel. He was sent from heaven one day and told to bring back the most beautiful teardrop that he could find. He wandered through the streets of earth eager to finish his work and get back to heaven. Along the street came a little boy crying because his pet dog had been run over and killed. Arathiel put one of the tears into his little bottle and flew back to heaven with it.
"No," he was told, "that is beautiful but not beautiful enough." Back to earth he came again and went this time to a saint's deathbed. Here, thought the little angel, he should be able to find the most beautiful teardrop on earth. As the saint died he scooped the last tear of joy into his little phial and hurried back to heaven with it. He was told, "Now you are getting the idea. That is almost the most beautiful teardrop on earth, but there is still one more fair than that." Arathiel was puzzled. A saint's tear should have been just the thing he thought. By this time it was Saturday night and he went to see what he could find in church. In the back of the aisle he heard a man sobbing. He looked, and there he saw a man weeping for his sins. With one of these tears he flew back to heaven and his quest was over. He had found the most beautiful teardrop on earth.
That is just another way of saying something that would be hard to understand unless our Lord had said it for us Himself. "There is more joy in heaven upon one sinner doing penance than on ninety-nine just who need not penance." If we are unfortunate enough to sin, the first thing we must do is to repent. It is a safe rule to make—and you should all make it this morning—never neglect to go to confession. It is one of the easiest things in the world to let confession slide, to put it off for a long time. We hardly notice the time slipping by. Confession is the means which Christ has given us to have our sins forgiven. We should use it.
Arathiel will come on his quest next Saturday. He will be looking for people who are sorry for their sins. Rumor has it that he is coming to (St. Patrick's). Be ready for him.
Source: "Heavenwords," Imprimatur 1941