Getting Grumpy


I can tell that Lent is starting to bite because I am getting grumpy. Part of it is the fasting. I always get grumpy when I’m hungry.
But there is more to it than that. I’m determined to engage in the spiritual battle. I’m trying to pray more, and I believe when we really try to pray more we start stirring up some of the smelly, mucky stuff that has drifted down to the bottom of the pond that is our life.
The Holy Spirit wants that stuff to get stirred up so it can float to the top and be skimmed off at confession. The process, however, makes us grumpy, irritable, confused and spiritually restless.
Then the devil has his part to play. He doesn’t like the fact that we might be making spiritual progress, so he kicks us about if he can. Maybe we become a little too touchy and defensive. Maybe we feel a little hurt. Our vanity gets wounded and we spark off a spat with someone who has just been itching for a fight anyway.
Or maybe we just get grumpy because the grumpiness was cooking for a long time anyway, and now it all comes out. Then we realize other people we live with and work with might be taking Lent seriously too, and they’re getting grumpy and so we clash.

It’s not easy being a dwarf.

If I am short with people, maybe that’s because I’m, well…short. That’s to say I’m not big enough yet. I’m still one of the little people. I haven’t grown up into the full stature of Christ.

So, if I’m a little grumpy during Lent maybe it’s because I’m just a Little Grumpy.

But I take heart because hobbits were little people too, and look what heroes they turned out to be. Furthermore, it’s the little people who are promised entry into heaven. It’s little children who get in and people who follow the Little Way. If you want to read further along these lines, here is an article I wrote called The Little Way Through Middle Earth. It hooks up Therese of Lisieux with Frodo and Sam.
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  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Fr. Dwight, for this observation. As a “height-challenged” person myself, I can definitely relate! It’s very encouraging to me, and reminds me of my Dad’s remark when I felt negative about my lack of stature. He always used to say that “good things come in small packages”. Warm regards from Canada, Patricia Gonzalez

  • I like a man who can hook up St. Therese with Frodo and Sam. Can you do Sauron, Saruman and Morgoth with some progressives?

  • I never thought of dwarves and hobbits in relation to Lent; thank you! I look forward to reading the article.

  • Schultz

    Bless you, Father Dwight. You managed to hook up my favorite saint with hobbits. 🙂

  • j.

    oh good. i thought i was the only grumpy one around.

  • The process, however, makes us grumpy, irritable, confused and spiritually restlessThanks for this… I was feeling all of that after just three days of Lent… but at least I have company!!

  • Thank you so much for this post, Father. I’ve been feeling especially emotionally exhausted today. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Thanks, Father. After having a day fasting and feeling spiritually bashed it’s good to know I’m not alone. The devil certainly can’t handle faith advancement!!! That must mean I’m doing something right 🙂

  • Thanks, Father. After having a day fasting and feeling spiritually bashed it’s good to know I’m not alone. The devil certainly can’t handle faith advancement!!! That must mean I’m doing something right 🙂

  • Lent also comes at a really crappy time of year–late winter. The crappy grey days make the fasting worse.The disciplines of Lent give me a divine dissatisfaction with myself and the world, which is merely the flipside of the coin of the longing for the perfections of God and His heaven.So, yeah, I turn into God’s Bitch, but then it’s a holy thing to transcend it and practice the Ministry of the Smile (also according to Therese’s Little Way).I’ve been sick the last couple weeks–terrible virus going around, fever and then an unproductive, compulsive cough. But it is an answer to prayer–it gave me the revulsion to smoking that enabled me to quit. Staying sick is getting me past the period of cravings. The cough, medicated, is housecleaning and restoration of health. Even the weeklong fever felt like the refiner’s fire, God’s love, and I offered it up for dying souls so they’d accept Jesus in the final battle for their souls. (Also very Theresian.) This healing, consecrated fever was a prayer, and wow, it’s the most fun fever I’d ever had. Great time to pray. Tears, supplication, fervent desire, and the strength that comes with weakness.Praised be Jesus Christ!Now and forever!

  • Part of the grumpiness is the loud, constant call to conversion.Jesus, I am very comfortable in my rut and you know I have my habits and I am the way I am. Don’t ask me to convert any more, it’s uncomfortable. You’re my buddy, right? Let me buy you a beer.Prayer is dangerous to such casual, cavalier attitudes. We see how miserable we really are. Bitchiness is inevitable, because the world teaches “I’m OK, You’re OK,” and Jesus shows me that I’m a miserable sinner who fails to love radically. I’m not OK. But I’m God’s daughter–that’s the joy of Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, and my reception of the sacraments that applied all these great things to my soul. Got the image, working on the likeness.Saint under construction, please excuse the mess.