The Good News

Welcome to The Good News Blogspot! The Good News is real and alive in my own life. Jesus has fulfilled in my life His promise of fuller and more abundant life (John 15), a quality of life I could not have created for myself. I invite you to share experiences with me so we can all grow into the life He offers us all.

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Catholic by call, Jesuit by nature, a preacher/spiritual conversation partner by choice. Learning about getting older, learning to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Learning to let go and laugh.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Good Sister and the Jesuit


Dear Sister Mary Martha,

Thank you so much for your wonderful post Reverse Lent. But I want to disagree.

You cite a portion of the list from the diocesan paper:

“Fast from emphasis on differences;
Fast from pessimism;
Fast from complaining
Fast from negatives
Fast from bitterness”

Then you comment,

“Aren't these all just ways to describe the same thing? Suck it up. Walk it off.”

Yes, these are all the same thing. They are the temptations of the wounded soul still tainted with self-centered ego.

We need to fast from these temptations. More importantly, we need to be healed of these wounds and to reorient ourselves away from a focus on our wounded selves to a focus on the Lord, who was wounded for us so that we could be healed. This focus on the Lord and his wounding is precisely the work of Lent, as you note. But if we just “suck it up,” we won’t be forgiven and healed, and we won’t be able to shift our focus from ourselves to the Lord.

Our fasting, healing and reorientation need to take two forms:

First, when I suffer innocently from other people’s sinfulness, I am already suffering as Jesus suffered. I suffer innocently when people oppose my attempts to speak the truth, to stand against injustice, to proclaim the Word – all the things Jesus did. My own innocent suffering allows me to identify with Jesus in his suffering.

So, my Lenten task is not to “suck it up” and trudge on, trying to be brave in the face of my wounds. My Lenten task is to ask him in my daily prayer and in the Eucharist to grant me the grace to endure this suffering for his sake, for the sake of the building of His Kingdom. And my Lenten task is to avoid the temptations of pessimism, complaining, and so on, and to transform this suffering into love for him, thus healing me.

Second, my own sinfulness and the ego-taints in my soul are products of thwarted ego: my plans don’t work out, so I complain; my idealism is wounded, so I become pessimistic. My sinfulness, the ego-taints of my soul, and my thwarted ego need forgiveness and healing. Neither will happen by my sucking “it” up, as you propose, where “it” is the personal sinfulness that has thwarted and wounded my ego.

My Lenten task is to give over daily to the Lord my own sinfulness and the ego-taints of my soul and ask for his forgiveness, healing, and love. St Ignatius of Loyola provides us the words in the most powerful prayer I have experienced, except perhaps for the Rosary:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will, all I have and possess. You have given all to me. Now I return it. Dispose of it wholly according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace. They’re enough for me.

So, thank you, Sister, for your energetic and humorous post. May the Lord’s richest blessings be yours, now and forever.

2 Comments:

Blogger forget me not said...

Wow.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've often wondered if "Sister" is actually Christopher Hitchens writing to divert himself by slamming the Church and all who breathe with her lungs. I avoid that blog like the plague. If I want my faith ridiculed, I can mention it at work to one fallen-away Catholic or another. If I wnnt to hear everyone slammed, I can visit certain venues online, like those I've left for their whited sepulchreness.

If this "Sister" is a Religious, she needs a dictionary to look up both "religious" and "Religious."

I'm tired of people misrepresenting His bride.

Littlestorms

8:04 AM  

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