Friday, February 2, 2007

Some thoughts for Friday

A few months ago, prior to being received into the Order of Catechumens, one of the young women going through RCIA this year wrote to me expressing some of her thoughts that arose from a conversation she and I had about matters spiritual. Of course, it is with her permission that I post her thoughts on this Friday.

"In our one on one meetings a few weeks ago I expressed my hesitation or doubts about religion in general and maybe subconsciously with myself." She goes on to relate, "I realized that a lot of my actions did not reflect a good relationship with God. I was having struggles with valuing myself which of course makes it impossible to value God. Once you begin to have a relationship and make God a central part of your life then everything else falls into place. Once I realized this all my struggles immediately didn't feel as heavy. It makes good decisions seem like such a logical choice that you feel silly having thought any other way. In a recent blog post you quoted from another..."

Then referring to a post in which I quoted Frederica Mathewes-Green, she quotes her:

"sins are not 'bad deeds' that must be made up in order to satisfy justice. They are instead like bad fruit, which indicates a sickness inside the tree the analogy Jesus uses in (Matthew 7:7–8). Sin is infection, not infraction. And God not only forgives freely but also sent his Son to rescue us when we were helpless."

She concludes with this insight,

"I cannot think of a more perfect way metaphorically to describe [the psychology of] sin. We sin because we don't respect ourselves. I had told you that I had felt that maybe I was doing charity work for selfish reasons. I felt this way because for some reason I didn't feel the compassion I felt I should. In further developing a relationship with God true compassion, respect and interest in others and patience are things that almost come naturally. The realization that valuing yourself as God values each and everyone of us is not self absorption and selfish. It actually brings you closer to God and therefore gives you the ability to love others purely."

On a personal note, since this particular Friday marks the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, I am abstaining from meat, but not fasting in honor of this feast of our Lord, Jesus Christ! Let us not neglect praying for those in Central Florida who lost their lives in this morning's storms, their families and survivors, and for those who lost their homes and livelihoods. On this Friday, perhaps our work of charity should, in the spirit of almsgiving, take the form of making a donation to an agency, like the Red Cross, to assist these injured and hurting communities.

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