Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Load of Bricks

Sometimes, the most helpful thing is to know I am normal. I'm normal, you're normal, we're all "normal."

In this case, I'm referring to sin. One morning in Lent, I had an epiphany. I wasn't sleeping well and I woke up around 4:00 AM, so I decided to pray Lauds, the Liturgy of the Hours to be said on rising. As St. Basil the Great said, "It is said in the morning in order that the first stirrings of our mind and will may be consecrated to God and that we may take nothing in hand until we have been gladdened by the thought of God. . . "

On this particular day, I was very gladdened. Somehow in the midst of my readings I came upon an excerpt from the Vatican II documents in which we are reminded that sin is a human problem common to all human beings. The light bulb came on.

So often I beat myself up for my sins. I feel guilty going in to confession saying the same things time and again, "I gossiped. I did not keep my Sunday obligation. I took the Lord's name in vain," etcetera. I think that by now, I should be better than this (read: perfect). It is not so much the nature of my personal sin that bothers me as the repetitiveness of it I feel like a little child who has done something wrong (again) and is waiting for her parent to mete out the punishment she knows is coming. Or the cartoon drawing of the man, sweating, head down, straining forward, with a load of bricks tied to his ankles. Finally my turn comes and instead of the chastising I have set myself up for, I have a trans-formative experience. Again. Never once has the priest said to me, "What? Again? What is the matter with you?"

I know well the passage in Romans 3:23: "All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God." Yet somehow it had not sunk in. I somehow was not getting the "all." The important part of that passage comes next:

Whew. It's a breath of fresh air, isn't it? One more time, I am human. Even better, one more time I am forgiven and ready to go back into service. There is a spring in my step as I prepare to follow the advice of Galatians  6:9:

"Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest if we do not grow weary."

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