Monday, September 5, 2016

Repetitive Sin

Stop it!

That is all!

Admittedly, I kept refreshing the browser to find substance of the article before I realized that was all it said!

Sometimes that's easier said than done but let us face it: we have the tools, which no doubt was Father's point!

So often we talk about Church teaching without really ever getting into the challenges of its practice in our daily lives.

For a few weeks, I've been visiting a local parish I hadn't been to in a while. The priest's homilies goes over the main spiritual points in the Gospel and literally says, how do we put this into practice in our daily lives and gives concrete examples of challenges and remedies. So helpful during the week when we are faced with thoughts and temptations in daily life.

Real spiritual food for your journey.

You forget what you're missing when you settle into a parish selling mediocrity, or worse, putting yourself into the near occasion of sin.

Ironically, I left the same parish several years back because it was a near occasion of sin. It actually had two doctrinally-sound priests but then a retired priest joined the rotation of the Sacred Liturgy whose shtick was just way too distracting from the journey of mystical prayer.

The priests homilies were not just terrible, they were spiritually misleading. With my children grown, this isn't the emergency it used to be so I tried to dance around it by checking the schedule of scheduled celebrants and when it wasn't posted and I got stuck with Father Woodstock, I would tune him out and pray the Rosary. When he looked around for affirmation of his foolishness, I would catch his eye and shake my head no.

What really got under my skin was the way he disrespectfully mishandled the Divinity of Christ. After Christ is nailed to the Cross, during elevation, he would roughly lift Christ three inches from the table and within seconds would literally throw Him back onto the Altar. You could literally see Christ flying in the air back onto the Altar. When all the drab and dizzy dames surrounded the Altar as 'Eucharistic Ministers', he would dip his own hand into the ciborium like he was reaching into a bowl of goldfish at a superbowl party, and roughly put Christ into empty ciboriums.

When it came time for reception of the Eucharist, he would huff and puff and snort with disgust when people tried to receive Christ without subjecting His Divinity to pieces falling on the floor. He would pretend he couldn't lift his arm to get Christ onto your tongue. I held my ground through his antics, forcing him into an ugly showdown if he wanted it, but he would finally concede. I mentioned it to the good shepherd of the parish and tried to avoid him as much as I could. They don't always post the schedule, so I would occasonally have the misfortune of suffering through it.

One day while giving out Communion, he ran out of Hosts and went over to the the woman standing beside him, roughly grabbed a fistful from her ciborium and plunked some in his own. About three fell onto the floor. I was sitting a few feet away on the aisle up front, I jumped off of my knees, reached for Christ on the floor to consume Him and gave the priest the stink-eye.

I heard Christ calling on my way home: You're all done with this circus baby!

It turned an hour of mystical prayer into the near occasion of sin.

I'm a big fan of anticipating near occasions of sin to avoid repetitive sin.

Avoiding near occasion of sin and controlling thoughts are two of the best weapons when our flaws and weaknesses spin us into situations we can't manage.

The mind really tells us a lot about our spiritual state. Concupiscence is so easy to detect and yet we sometimes let our mind wander like a runaway train into the wild west. If you're living a life that strives to keep your soul in a state of Grace to keep concupiscence sealed, it is rarely big sins we are fighting, but rather the gradual slide into things that affect the efficacy of sanctifying grace. Selfishness, pride, anger, gossip, sins of omission.

The rants in our head when our family, people we love, colleagues, acquaintances, vendors, merchants, strangers, bloggers, commenters, priests, bishops, cardinals, pope are doing harmful things. Letting bad habits lead us away from holiness.

I was reminded how I entertain myself with rants in my head during a few challenging situations this week at work and in my family. With the help of the best and most effective tools we have to stop repetitive sin, the Sacraments and Rosary, I was able to recognize what I was doing and stop it within 60 seconds. Had a good laugh.

There's always plenty of material to make us laugh at myself. LOL.

Having Mother Teresa's quotes around this week was a huge help too.

I think this is my very favorite:

Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right there where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.

and this:

We are at Jesus' disposal. If he wants you to be sick in bed, if he wants you to proclaim His work in the street, if he wants you to clean the toilets all day, that's all right, everything is all right. We must say, "I belong to you. You can do whatever you like." And this is our strength, and this is the joy of the Lord

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

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