Austin, United States

I have spent most of my career as a French professor and a research librarian, and have been reinventing myself as a writer. I’m...

Be Kind, Please Rewind

DISCLAIMER: First of all, SHEESH! I forget how some of you think! Anyway, I had to add this addendum to my Friday meditation in the previous entry. I also add things to my comments for those who feel they DO have serious sins. We all make mistakes and God understands this, even if He does expect us to repent and make atonement of some kind or other. This is why the Lord appeared to St. Faustina, so that everyone would know about His great mercy, and how the greatest sinner has the greatest right to His mercy. So not one need fear being lost if they turn back to God and repent of whatever the hey they’ve done in life. God’s love for us is immense and infinite. Fear not, beloveds.

This is just a Friday meditation. It is not any kind of confession of serious or criminal guilt. I keep forgetting the fables some people love to create. Even the greatest saints had faults and flaws and sins, not serious ones, but they discovered that even their small faults were recorded by God. So i am not making some statement of serious guilt or any thing like that. Some people love gossip. That’s a sin also, often more serious than we imagine. I do my best to stay away from things like that.

Further, I am also not making any statement about men being bad, as in the beginning comments. I just meant that I am not male. I’m female. HAH! You didn’t get that, did you? I consider Fridays a good day to take stock of the week and review any unpleasant remarks I may have made or my failure to make Mass or things like that. I’m not talking about what I’m sure some of you are imagining. My astrological chart has an overall statement of “the misunderstood”, and I’m trying to correct that when and if any misunderstanding dawns upon me. So there you have it. END OF DISCLAIMER. Now on to the actual entry:

“Your inner being must be renewed and you must put on the new man.” from Ephesians 4

Well, I definitely am not inclined to put on the new “man”, but in the sense of mankind, ok, I’ll go for it. So what is it all about anyway? Well, it’s Friday, and on Friday, Jesus died and on Fridays we remember this in the particular fact of our own shortcomings, shall we say? We recite the Miserere, or Psalm 51 in Catholic Bibles and I think Psalm 53 or some such in some Protestant Bibles. It begins with something like, "Have mercy on me, Oh God!’ (Some days we really feel that way, eh?) But it’s a very useful point of meditation.

It’s probably useful to remember that even Jesus suffered. So we know we’re not going to escape it. We always try to get rid of it as fast as possible, for sure, but as long as it lasts, it can be useful. In a little book I have, “Minute Meditations for Each Day”, taken from Scripture, the writer comments, “…our inner self will never grow without the fire of suffering.” And it’s true, isn’t it? We actually DO mature with those miserable things we have to go through from time to time, or sometimes longer. Sometimes even pleasant things which require a great deal of effort also require us to mature. Bit by bit, we become more adult, more responsible citizens than we were when we were teenagers or adolescents. Did you know that adolescence lasts from about age 12 or so to about age 28? Right. That’s a long period of time. We are making new decisions for our lives, pulling up roots and leaving home to make our place in the world as we get out of our teen years (usually), and striking out in our own direction. It’s usually a tumultuous time, but we emerge a new person, a bit more mature, a bit more independent.

If you aren’t very far along in life, you may not be aware of a book by the name of “Passages”, with a subtitle I don’t remember. The author’s name is something like Gail Sheehy. It seems we never stop maturing and growing in understanding and life, no matter how old we live to be.

So what’s it all about, Alfie? Well, St. John of the Cross said, “At the end of life, we will be judged by love.” I think St. Therese of Lisieux had the same idea. Other saints have said similar things.

This makes me think about the problems sin brings. Fr. Paul of Moll, the prolific healer, said that if we could see the “for a single moment the state of [our] souls, [we] would die of fright.” That sure puts the fear of God in ME! I don’t know about YOU, but it hearkens to that hidden world we will all see when we die. It’s the reason every Friday in the Divine Office, the church prays the Miserere, Psalm 51, “Have mercy on me, Oh God!” It’s really a beautiful Psalm, and it makes us think about why we need the Lord’s mercy. (See previous entries about the Divine Mercy apparitions and St. Faustina). I’ll fetch it for you and paste it here. Here’s the link:

But that’s also the reason we need to regularly ask God’s mercy, and resolve to overcome our biggest fault. When we accomplish that, we can overcome the next biggest fault. So I tell myself…. I’ve overcome a few.

Padre Pio, once writing to one of his spiritual children, consoling her for the suffering she was going through, said that he was sad she had to suffer so much, but that it was precisely that suffering which accounted for “the beautiful changes I see in your soul”. Well, I don’t know that all of us would find that flattering, eh? Yet, I suppose it is, even if accomplished under duress. So perhaps we should not complain too much about some sufferings. This does not mean that we should tolerate abuse or injustice. Nevertheless, God works even through these things.

In Medjugorje, Our Lady constantly asks for our daily prayers, especially the prayers of the Rosary (all Scriptural). The Rosary can work miracles in the world, and helps us turn to God every day. If the Mother of God regularly calls us to prayer and fasting and conversion every day, then this is an important message. She was sent by God as a means of calling us back to Him, to conversion. Conversion is a daily effort. Every day we must wake up and turn to God. It is not a chore. It is a delight, a wonderful way to begin our day. This is why I love the Liturgy of the Hours, otherwise known as “The Divine Office”, which is online too. I like having the book. You can buy the six week psalter, which is a one volume work. The complete set is four volumes, but very rich and profound in its readings, and very inspirational.

For other means of easing what we may owe God, there’s almsgiving and other forms of charity. Fr. Paul of Moll, the wonder worker of the 1800’s, said that every act of charity has its degree of recompense in heaven. Awesome, and so easy to do. There’s the kind word, prayer for others, etc.

But as for our sufferings? We don’t know what we gain from them yet, but God does. Maybe they are a period in which God watches to see how we react, to help us with tolerance and patience and love. Some days I wake up, and I feel love toward everyone. Other days I wake up and try to avoid everyone. Ever have one of those? Fortunately, so far, I don’t have too many of the latter. Mostly, I’d say my days are in between. But I still need daily reminders to live my life in a certain way, remembering Our Lord’s words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” So I have to always strive to be more like Him, and that’s a daily effort, sometimes easy, sometimes not. So be kind, please rewind….. (Sometimes I have to rewind often! Sigh!)

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