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Fun With Penance…

Fun With Penance… March 20, 2013

… Sometimes you are just so rotten that your poor, patient confessor is forced to come up with administering a penance more challenging than the typical Hail Mary/Our Father combo of prayers.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I tend to be on the sarcastic side. My second grade teacher warned me once that I was going to spend all my life talking myself out of situations my mouth got me into. Never mind that it seems to have actually worked in my favor, getting paid to talk and write, but being a bit of a smart ass is not without its drawbacks. The result of a cynical mind is an inability to be charitable… to any one; family, friends, co-workers, ex’s, and children.

After awhile you just start to feel cranky, like all the time. Then all your kindness and patience slowly starts to drain away. By the time you’ve made it through your morning commute you’ve cursed and damned more people to hell than you can count. True story; to counter this infliction of road rage it was suggested I use my time sitting in traffic to pray the rosary.

Yeah….

Cut me off? I got your Hail Mary right here, jack ass!

This, of course, was not having the effect on my holiness that my friend had hoped. But don’t mistake me; I really do desire more for myself. Everyone longs to be a better version of their current selves. My desire is to be good, kind, and patient. The virtue my confessor suggested I pray for was magnanimity and he pointed me in the direction of St. Catherine of Sienna, who is known for her magnanimous soul.

As my penance I’m to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, give St. Catherine a ring, pray the novena to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, and perform acts of charity and kindness every day for an entire week. These acts of kindness are to be directed to the people who drive me the most insane.

Good lawd, that’s a lot of penance! But good lawd, I’m a big ole sinner.

Daunting, yes, but not without it’s humor. Imagine if you will, me, not notoriously known for my generosity and patience, suddenly showing up one day and smiling broadly for no damn good reason. Making coffee. Offering to pick up dinner. Let me get the door for you. Do you need help with that? No please, Mr. Talking-On-Your-Cell-Phone-While-You’re-Driving-Oblivious-To-Others-Around-You, you can merge into my lane and slam on your breaks. I’m a regular model of magnanimity. An ocean of calm and peaceful serenity.

Naturally everyone in my life is positively terrified of me right now. They don’t know if I’ve gone mad or am about to go postal. Or a little of both. Even people at work have started avoiding me. I should have done this years ago.

I know. I probably shouldn’t be enjoying penance this much. I definately shouldn’t delight in others suspicions of my motives. But it is really, truly hard to be in a bad mood with a grin plastered across your face.

I dare say I’m feeling a bit warm and fuzzy at the moment.
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