Truth speaks to the heart…it has a way of penetrating the heart so deeply that it transforms you…
People are not just hungry…they are STARVING for the truth. Sometimes hearing truth can be painful, but there is a freedom when truth is known and loved. I once heard about a priest who gave a homily and I am sure that those who heard it will never forget it. He read the Gospel at Mass and paused for a minute… Everyone was eager to know what he was going to say. Then the priest said… “When are you going to start being honest with yourself? You are hiding something aren’t you? You know what it is…maybe it is sin you have committed, or something you are ashamed to admit. Are you so afraid to mention it in Confession? It is time to cut the nonsense.” Then he sat down. The priest who told us the story said that afterwards there was a big line-up for Confession! It did not necessarily mean that people had serious sins on their soul. But questions like this can penetrate the heart so deeply and speak a truth to us… because we don’t really know ourselves.
At times, it is possible to be afraid of the truth. Sometimes there are things that we are hiding that we are either too embarrassed or too afraid to bring into the light.
We are not really free when we try to hide the truth. We are not free when we try to avoid taking responsibility for our actions. We fear the consequences…we fear being judged…we fear not being loved. We can start to believe this lie: “If they really knew the truth…they won’t love me anymore.”
So what do we do? First, we need to acknowledge our pride and remind ourselves that God never stops loving us. God is Love itself! Are our sins and mistakes so big that God stops loving us? No that is ridiculous! God can never stop loving us! God is love!
Second, we need to accept ourselves and slowly learn how to forgive ourselves…especially for mistakes of the past. This is extremely difficult, especially for someone who is experiencing the memory of betrayals and regrets of the past….and as a result it is possible to get angry.
Sometimes the emotion of anger bubbles over in us and we are not sure how to handle it. We need to decide how we are going to handle our anger. Sometimes we need to take a deep breath and count to 10, or sometimes there are wounds that are so deep that it takes time and perhaps some additional help from a spiritual director or counsellor to learn how to forgive the mistakes of the past… live in freedom in the present…and accept the events of the future as they come.
It is so easy to see our brokenness and be angry at ourselves. We can enter a certain type of “spiritual anger” where we feel angry that we are not having the consolations in prayer like we used too. We can call this an “immoderate desire for spiritual gratification.” If we only have consolations in prayer, it is possible to get the false impression that we are perfect already and fall away from our desire to love God more. Our founder, Fr. Ryan used to say, “We cannot love God enough…we must want to love God more!”
It is also possible to have an anger that arises because we see the virtues in other people. Yes, we can become bitter that someone else is growing in virtue. We see the virtue in another person and right away it is possible to get angry and seek out something that they are lacking in order to relieve our own emotional anger and make us feel better about ourselves. How do we combat this? Be thankful for the virtue you see in the other. Give a prayer of thanksgiving to God for that person in your life!
As much as we hate to admit it, it is easy to be angry with the fact that we are not perfect! We lack patience with ourselves and so this is a display of our own pride. We make resolutions and commitments and it seems that the more resolutions we have, the more we break them. We need to pray for meekness and gentleness of heart for ourselves and others. We need to be more compassionate to ourselves! God knows our brokenness, mistakes and failures, yet He still wants a relationship with us! Take courage because some of the greatest sinners turned into the greatest saints: St. Augustine, St. Mary Magdalene and the list goes on. How did they become saints…after their lives of sin? They repented and came back to God. We can go to Jesus too, through the Sacrament of Confession. It is easy to go to Confession angry and embarrassed because we are not perfect. We need to go to Confession with a disposition of sorrow, and humility and try our best to be open and honest.
Do not let anger over the past damage the love that you can bring in the present! You have so much to give…so much love to give. That kind word you gave to that person who annoys you…that listening ear to that person who really needed a shoulder to cry on…choosing to look at people’s virtues as a gift from God are little ways that we can give glory to God.
So, stay cool everybody!!