Peace of Mind, Distractions, Forgiveness?

Peace of Mind, Distractions, Forgiveness? July 15, 2011

Matt Emerson writes today of Peace of Mind. Why don’t we have it? Do we really need it? What brings it?

Of late, however, I’ve been unsettled less by the headlines and more by the trepidation of friends and family. I’ve sensed a growing unease and a strident wish to know when and by what means the economy gets fixed.

At root, I sense a desire for peace of mind.

But the cure we seek may never come. Gas prices may continue to rise, housing prices may continue to drop, and a second recession might soon be fact.

Which means it’s time to stop clinging. It’s time to stop anticipating saving legislation and despairing when it refuses to arrive. It’s time to stop searching, on the terms of this world, for peace of mind.

We don’t need it.

Let us not forget: Catholics know chaos. We know instability and unpredictability, not simply because of scandal or personal strife, but because of the spiritual heroes of our Tradition.

You’ll want to read the whole thing.

Many Catholics are finding peace of mind illusive because they see division amongst the faithful, all sorts of issues with our priests, dissent from many quarters. There is a primary issue of trust that has broken down and it’s going viral:

Sister Sharon Falconer has a vital lesson to teach. Once overlooked as an earnest, inexperienced supporting player in Gantry’s dramatic story of self-discovery, she becomes the all-important “flip-side” of the story – the effect that adulation can have upon the one being followed. This devout and well-intentioned young woman begins to view herself as more than a simple human instrument. Her followers have come to rely so completely on her spiritual strength that she now sees herself as The Only Instrument by which they can be saved, and her inability to reject her new-found fame for an “ordinary” life will have tragic and lasting consequences.

Is it possible that John Corapi—like the fictional Sister Falconer—has lost the ability to recognize his own un-essentialness, confusing his undeniable gifts and their noteworthy results with the true Cause of his success? Pride is a devastating taskmaster, and one who lurks behind many good and noble intentions.

You’ll want to read all that, too

Part of our dis-ease, I think, is that we fell pulled in many different directions in our concerns, not just within the secular world’s economic, but with the real threat to religion by the world. Our church is being challenged as never before:

But the governmental death blow aimed at the heart of the Church is to destroy the seal of confession. If you think this could never happen, think again. It may be happening right now in Ireland.

The Irish government, including the person no less than the Prime Minister, the Minister for Justice, and the Minister for Children are all backing legislation that would require priests to break the seal of confession to report pedophiles.

This is, of course, not only a monstrous attack the Church and religious liberty, it is also completely useless. Do these Irish geniuses think that all pedophiles are complete morons? If a pedophile knows that the priest will/must rat him out to the coppers, how many pedophiles will be confessing? Yeah, about the same number of Mensa members in the Irish government.

But why stop there? Why not force them to break the seal for the crimes of murder, rape, and spilling your beer? Where would it end? We would still have pedophilia, murder, rape, and spilled beer, but no confession. Aha…

Well, we don’t really need confession, now, do we?

Sr. Mary Ann Walsh explains why Yes, we do:

Confession has many benefits. Here are ten:

1. Confidentiality guaranteed. There’s nothing like confessing your sins to someone guaranteed not to tell anyone else. Sometimes you need to talk in absolute confidence. Even under subpoena, a priest can’t tell anyone what is said to him in confession. He can’t even hint at it. Now that’s confidentiality.
2. Housekeeping for the soul. It feels good to be able to start a clean life all over again. Like going into a sparkling living room in your home, it’s nice when clutter is removed&mash;even if it’s your own.
3. A balm for the desire for revenge. When you have been forgiven you can forgive others. If the perfect Jesus forgives me, who am I to want to avenge the slights in my life. (Think: “Why did they promote him over me?’ or “Mom played favorites!”)

Seven more here

That #3 is a really important one. The desire for revenge, the holding on to our hurts — all the forgiveness that God offers cannot be fully felt and utilized, until we manage to forgive others, as well. Marcy Morrissey tells why:

Forgiving is sometimes a series of decisions to let go again, and again. We have to do this, though, because to hang onto unforgiveness only hurts us. Unforgiveness is like having a boil that needs to be lanced to drain the poison in order to heal.

Forgiving doesn’t necessarily mean that the person who hurt us is going to ask for it, and sometimes we have to walk away from a person or situation. The forgiveness is something we need to do for ourselves.

It’s true: sometimes it can take us a long time to let it completely go, because the consequences of whatever happened are still playing out.

Forgiveness only costs us our grudges and the power we give others over us. If we pay that cost we are rewarded with freedom.

I will be going to confession this weekend, I need it for many reasons. My heart is very heavy about many things, right now, and I feel at odd-ends over many things. I feel like Martha, being pulled in a thousand different directions by so many distractions, and disappointments, and my own poor time-management. But I also feel a spiritual oppression that is unusual. I know what it’s about, and I need to get rid of it.

Meanwhile, I was supposed to take a vacation day today, but these don’t seem to ever work out well for me. Nonetheless, after this post I am going to go find the book my uber-smart son has been asking me to finish reading (because I am not uber-smart, I am still in Chapter 1) and sit under the tree and read it.

And truly, if you could spare a prayer my way, I would be so very grateful.

Pat Gohn is giving a retreat in Michigan. I’m tied up, but it sounds wonderful.

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