Friday, March 19, 2010

Turning the tables on sin and its source

To anyone who knows me, the fact that I'm a sinner should come as no surprise. Through the grace of God, I believe I'm at least discovering a way to turn the tables on sin...and to grasp God's mercy with gratitude and ambition.

Last Wednesday I went to confession.

And proceeded to commit sin maybe a couple of hours later! Sheesh. It was silly, really. I was with a group of people, conversing—or so I thought—of spiritual matters, when I decided I was insulted by a group member. And so? I left.

And on my way home, found myself fighting—unsuccessfully—against anger.

At least three times I either behaved rudely to passers-by, thought irritatedly against short, I was a mess. And frustrated. Where were these thoughts, this behavior, coming from?

Then I remembered some things I'd learned from a book called Discernment of the Spirits by Father Tim Gallagher, OMV. And later that evening, while drinking a glass of water, the words of Saint Peter's canticle (which we chant at Sunday Vespers during Lent) blasted into my mind:

"Christ died for you and left you an example, that you might follow in His footsteps.

"He did no wrong, no deceit was found in his mouth, when He was insulted, He returned no insult."

I was overcome with joy. Odd reaction for a sinner, but there you are. Because I realized that my subsequent behavior upon a relatively minor insult was not only not from was un-Christ like.

"When He was insulted, He returned no insult."

Aware. Understanding. Action.

Father Gallagher's book, which is subtitled "an Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living," talks about the need to be aware of thoughts, understanding where they come from, and the need to take action about them.

In this case, God gave me a break.

Yes, I was aware of the thoughts. I understood, if feebly, that these thoughts did not come from God. But I was at sea about what action to take...until the inspired words of Saint Peter came to mind while I was absently sipping a glass of water.
Bulleted List
Christ's example:
"When He was insulted, He returned no insult."
I know now that the mild "insult" I supposedly "suffered" was nothing! What I should have done was accept it, immediately forgive—and forget!—and continue to converse with my friends about holy things. What an opportunity I missed—what a gift I received from God for realizing it!

By His wounds, we were healed.