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One fine Spring Sunday morning, a Priest was gazing out of a rectory window at a nearby Trout Stream. "Today would be a good day to sneak off and go fishing", he thought. The weather was perfect, his fly rod had new string, he had very recently heard reports of a good Trout run, and the Associate Priest was more than ready to handle the Mass. So, within minutes, the Mass was underway and the Priest was quietly sneaking out the backdoor, rod, net and creel in hand, heading upstream.

But he didn’t go unobserved. An Angel was watching his every move and went straight to God. "The Priest lied so he could sneak away and go fishing", the Angel reported to God.

Smiling, God said, "So he finally gave in to temptation."

The Angel nodded, "Should I alert the congregation, Sir, and allow him to be caught?"

"No, give him complete privacy," God said.

"Should I command the fishes to avoid him, so he gets skunked and catches nothing?", the Angel asked.

"No", God said, calmly, "We want the Priest to catch something. In fact, command the largest Trout in the stream to take the bait and give the Priest the fight of his life."

Confused, but loyal, the Angel did as God instructed and within minutes, the Priest had hooked a massive Trout. The fight was spectacular. The Priest was using every trick in the book to successfully land the fish. He loosened the drag so the giant fish could run and not snap the line. He slowly walked the bank, up one end and down the other, allowing the huge fish freedom and time to tire out. Finally, after an exhausting ten-minute ordeal, the massive Trout cruised into the shore and the Priest proudly scooped him up in the waiting net.

The Angel quickly turned to God, "Should I make a hole in the net so the fish is released?"

"No", God said, calmly, "The Priest will release the fish."

"What?" the Angel said, shocked, "The Priest lands the biggest fish in the stream, by far the biggest catch of his life and, forgive me God, but you actually expect him to release it?"

Smiling knowingly, God assures the Angel, "The Priest is supposed to be in Church. He can’t carry the giant fish into Mass and he certainly can’t talk about it to anyone."

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