The offering this week is a good one, but Brother Paul resists his temptations. His confession this month will not come under such harsh ridicule as the past few. Now, as the Abbot begins the process of administering the Holy Sacrament, Brother Paul deposits all of the cash into the proper bag. Each check then gets placed into the manila envelope. He takes his place in line and receives the intended graces.


  Last week is over, and this week, the offering is not as good. There’s not even much room for temptation, and all is as it should be.


  It has now been four weeks since Brother Paul’s last incident, and the Abbot has given him praise in the confessional for his strength. This week’s offering is the average expectation for an autumn Sunday. There is a slight chill in the air, and it reaches deep into the Abbey. It is just enough to convince Brother Paul that a small percentage will not be missed, and can be forgiven without even a full confession. With a slightly swollen pocket under his habit, Brother Paul stands in the back to watch the congregation receive its graces. They process, between rows of candles, in 2 lines, stretching from his place in the Abbey to his Lord’s place.


  This week is the time when summer tries to give one last little push into the season, before giving way completely. The stained sunlight making its way through the heavenly images causes Brother Paul to sweat in his wool coverings. Just before the offering, he could be seen stepping out for some fresh air.


  This week’s temptation is too strong to be worth the fight. Brother Paul walks into the Autumn air immediately after his pockets are filled. Upon seeing the need for the leaves to be raked, he heads to the shed to grab the correct tools. His hope is that he can get enough done before mass is out.


  Weeks go by, confessions forgotten, wealth accrued for Brother Paul. The Abbot asks Brother Paul if he still wishes to carry his burdensome, weekly task. Brother Paul smiles a lie to the Abbot and continues collecting the offering.


  It’s a dark winter, but Christmas season brings giving hearts. When Brother Paul is alone in the Abbey, and a parishioner comes with a healthy donation, he accepts it humbly for the Monastery.


  It is now a warm Christmas on a vacation that Paul has no intention of ending.

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