Monday, November 18, 2002


Sometimes I have a very hard time letting things go. A while back I had commented on how the in parish I had been attending prior to my divorce, a rumor had begun to spread that the reason behind my divorce was that I was having an affair.

I was equally upset over the fact that only one of my "friends" came to me for clarification on the subject. To this date he continues to be the only person to contact me about it.

Well, this past weekend I attended my old parish. I don't know why I went, maybe it was because I wanted to get an early start on my Sunday but the 8am Mass at the parish I had been attending was a bit too early for me. Maybe the Holy Spirit was telling me to go to the parish where I had initially felt the tug to resume my Christian walk when I first arrived in Oklahoma City.

Nevertheless, regardless of the reasons why I went there, it was hard to sit there and examine the faces of people I had known for 5 or more years and wonder if they had participated in this slander of my character. I was bitter, I was resentful, I was full of anger. This lasted throughout the entire Mass and dominated my thoughts for an hour or so afterwards. After Mass let out I beat a hasty departure, not stopping to say hello (or good-bye) to any of the people I had struck up friendships with over the years.

With that said, there has to come a time when you put the past behind you. Oddly enough, I was watching Star Wars, Episode I last night and in one of the deleted scenes Anakin Skywalker (as a child) is fighting with Greedo (also depicted as a child). The fight is over the fact that Greedo accused Anakin of cheating (which Anakin denies). Qui Gon Jinn simply states (to paraphrase him) "You know the truth and his [Greedo's] opinion should not matter to you. Fighting also will not resolve the situation".

Add to that the fact that I then came across the following in Thomas A. Kempis' Imitation of Christ (Book 3, Chapter 19), and I'm beginning to think that the Holy Spirit has a message for me somewhere:

WHAT are you saying, My child? Think of My suffering and that of the saints, and cease complaining. You have not yet resisted to the shedding of blood. What you suffer is very little compared with the great things they suffered who were so strongly tempted, so severely troubled, so tried and tormented in many ways. Well may you remember, therefore, the very painful woes of others, that you may bear your own little ones the more easily. And if they do not seem so small to you, examine if perhaps your impatience is not the cause of their apparent greatness; and whether they are great or small, try to bear them all patiently. The better you dispose yourself to suffer, the more wisely you act and the greater is the reward promised you. Thus you will suffer more easily if your mind and habits are diligently trained to it.

Do not say: "I cannot bear this from such a man, nor should I suffer things of this kind, for he has done me a great wrong. He has accused me of many things of which I never thought. However, from someone else I will gladly suffer as much as I think I should."

Such a thought is foolish, for it does not consider the virtue of patience or the One Who will reward it, but rather weighs the person and the offense committed. The man who will suffer only as much as seems good to him, who will accept suffering only from those from whom he is pleased to accept it, is not truly patient. For the truly patient man does not consider from whom the suffering comes, whether from a superior, an equal, or an inferior, whether from a good and holy person or from a perverse and unworthy one; but no matter how great an adversity befalls him, no matter how often it comes or from whom it comes, he accepts it gratefully from the hand of God, and counts it a great gain. For with God nothing that is suffered for His sake, no matter how small, can pass without reward. Be prepared for the fight, then, if you wish to gain the victory. Without struggle you cannot obtain the crown of patience, and if you refuse to suffer you are refusing the crown. But if you desire to be crowned, fight bravely and bear up patiently. Without labor there is no rest, and without fighting, no victory.

I need to work on my patience and the submission of my will to that of God's. I've known that it matters not what other people think about me, at least not to God nor does it have an impact on how I live my own life (especially when I know I'm attempting to live as righteously as I can), yet it is hard to not feel hurt, depressed and dejected about the things that are said.

Instead of feel hatred (and paranoia) about what people have said about me, I simply need to offer up these injustices as suffering that must be endured. That others (the souls in purgatory) may benefit by this suffering should serve as a further impetus to bear injustice patiently.

O Lord, let that which seems naturally impossible to me become possible through Your grace. You know that I can suffer very little, and that I am quickly discouraged when any small adversity arises. Let the torment of tribulation suffered for Your name be pleasant and desirable to me, since to suffer and be troubled for Your sake is very beneficial for my soul.

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