I can't really remember when the crackpot priests began putting guilt through a crucible...was it the 70s?
It took a lot of years of observation to figure out what benefit the Cuenins and the Unnis of the presbyterate and the O'Malleys and Weurls of the wizards in the Episcopal conference were getting from divesting their flocks of God's precious gift of guilt.
Catholics lucky enough to be educated in the tenets of the Catholic Church hold the key to making the sound choices that is the only road to eternal life with Christ - keeping our souls free of sin.
Why would a man waste his time pursuing ordination and the priesthood and then rob people of the divine gift that tells the conscious that we are not in a state of grace?
Maybe they are struggling themselves with sin?
Maybe they are weaklings?
Who knows. If I were running the zoo, any candidate expressing an interest in the priesthood that had the stink of a wimp would never be ordained. They lack critical substance for getting the flock to Heaven, which is the fiat of a priest or bishop.
What I did learn from my observation is the benefits they receive from divesting the flock of guilt: They are the recipients of praise and adoration. Consuming souls is the nutrition for their low self-esteem. It's tough to watch when you can see what they're doing through the eyes of the soul.
Pin guilt on me baby. I want to know, want to be reminded of things that I may lack the sensitivity or understanding to realize are habits or sins I am committing. I want my intellect to smell danger before\as I approach it. I want to avoid and reject sin. Mosey on down the road from any temptation I may be attracted to or am too weak to resist. I want to be on my toes because I never know when I will be face to face with my beloved Christ. I have enough 'splaining to do about the things I already know litter my days of rebellion.
Lent for Catholics, which is drawing to a close, is a period where we are ramping up the discipline for resistance to sin. Giving up chocolate, gluttony, the finer things in life is good company to the period of discipline to resist sin, but most of us do an inventory before Lent of character flaws or things we struggle with and we subtract foibles, add virtues and discipline accordingly. Tomorrow, on Good Friday, we will begin a nine day Divine Mercy Novena and obtain a plenary indulgence for the remission of the punishment of our past sins. A plenary indulgence is a "get out of hell free" card. The restoration of our souls to our day of baptism.
I came across this story of a victory of guilt and wanted to share it to keep all involved in your prayers during our precious Triduum:
After thirteen years of struggling with guilt, a victory. Her father was released from jail.
The courage to step forward and release herself and her father from the living torment of sin is a beautiful kick off to our Sacred Triduum. Keep them in prayer. Keep the poor suckers being robbed of their salvation by priests and bishops living their vocation as a vampire, feeding their self esteem. It will be better for them had not been born. Pray too for their conversion.
I also wanted to share the following meditation from last month's Magnificat, written by Blessed John Henry Newman. It says everything that needs to be said about these three days when we contemplate the price of our salvation.
"You will die in your sins."We must consider the force of habit. Conscience at first warns us against sin; but if we disregard it, it soon ceases to upbraid us; and thus sins, once known, in time become secret sins. It seems then (and it is a startling reflection), that the more guilty we are, the less we know it; for the oftener we sin, the less we are distressed at it. I think many of us may, on reflection, recollect instances, in our experience of ourselves, of our gradually forgetting things to be wrong which once shocked us. Such is the force of habit. By it, (for instance) men contrive to allow themselves in various kinds of dishonesty. They bring themselves to affirm what is untrue, or what they are not sure is true, in their course of business. They overreach and cheat; and still more are they likely to fall into low and selfish ways without their observing it, and all the while to continue in their attendance on the Christian ordinances, and bear about them a form of religion. Or, again, they will live in self-indulgent habits; eat and drink more than is right; display a needless pomp and splendor in their domestic arrangements, without any misgiving; much less do they think of simplicity of manners and abstinence as Christian duties. Now we cannot suppose they always thought their present mode of living to be justifiable, for others are still struck with its impropriety; and what others now feel, doubtless they once felt themselves. But such is the force of habit. So again, to take as a third instance, the duty of stated private prayer; at first it is omitted with compuction, but soon with indifference. But is is not the less a sin because we do not feel it to be such. Habit has made it a secret sin.To think of these things, and to be alarmed, is the first step towards acceptable obedience; to be at ease, is to be unsafe. We must know what the evil of sin is hereafter, if we do not learn it here. God give us all the grace to choose the pain of present repentance before the wrath to come!
Our Savoir is mighty to save. He wills it but it does not happen without repentance, contrition, the remission and release of sins through Sacrament of Penance and the firm commitment to amend our lives. Everything He did was to offer us the chance to accept salvation through His One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
What a gift.
A blessed Triduum to all.