16 July 2020

Separation: We're not the only ones who experience the pain of that chasm!

Separation.  This word came to me loud and clear Saturday evening during Holy Communion.  Last week was rough.  My dog was attacked by another dog and I’ve been a wreck trying to process it all.  My dog is okay, thankfully, he’s got a puncture wound in the back of his neck just above his shoulders, but my friend and I took him to the vet Saturday morning who cleaned out that wound and put him on some strong antibiotics and pain meds.  He’s currently dozing next to me on his bed as I write this.  My reaction to this whole situation wasn’t the kindest, and I’ve felt absolutely terrible about it, so I knew that I needed to go to Confession before I was able to be comfortable with receiving Holy Communion.  So, when our Lord was being administered to those of us in attendance, I quietly shook my head as one of the Eucharistic Ministers walked by where I was sitting, letting this person know I’m not receiving our Beloved Lord.  I needed to talk to Him first to apologize to Him for my actions.  As I was sitting there in my seat, I was crying and apologizing to my Jesus for how disgusting my response was to my dog’s attack and how I’d allowed my rage to take over rather than hand it to Him.



Now, it’s no secret that I do have a temper.  This situation that happened Thursday morning has me quite resentful of the entire situation. 

Tears on my pillow: Less tears if you are a thyroid patient ...As I sat there, praying and sobbing in the pew, I felt the compulsion to look up.  When I did, I saw the picture of the Crucifix in front of the altar.  My priest has this gorgeous painting sitting there at the front of the Church, in the sanctuary.  I love this painting because it shows our Beloved Lord in all His Pain, Suffering, and Death.  It’s a difficult painting to look at, but I sat there and looked at it carefully.  It was then and there I realized something big:  It isn’t just we who feel the separation from our Beloved Lord when we sin.  It’s He Who feels that separation from us, too, and it hurts Him more than we can ever fully understand.

I heard the word, ‘Separation’  in my mind so loud, so strong, and so… deeply heartbreaking.  I won’t sit here and tell you I heard His Voice.  I just heard the word ‘separation.’  That’s all.  But I knew what it was conveying:  In my resentment, I was separating myself from Him.  I was shoving Him violently from me in one of the most traumatic experiences I’ve ever faced.  Rather than running to Him, I was distancing myself from Him.  I was hurting Him by this action.

The painting in the Sanctuary at my parish
in front of the altar
I remember thinking, ‘My Jesus, You feel it, too, don’t You?  I’m so sorry!  I’m so sorry!’  I just kept apologizing to Him over and over again.  After Mass had ended, Father came up to me to let me know he was able to hear my confession.  As I was walking to the confessional, he had to go address something, so he told me he’d be right back and to go ahead and wait for him in there.  He’d be in shortly.  While I was standing there in that tiny room waiting, I looked around at all the pictures and little statues all around me.  I said, ‘Lord, I can’t help but feel like I’ve been sent to my room to think about what I’ve done while You’re taking care of things with the other family members, before You and I can sit down and talk about my actions and discuss what to do from here.’  I knew I wasn’t the only one in that room.  I knew He was there, too, He was listening to me, and He was not at all angry, just hurting because of everything that had transpired, leading up to that moment.

Let's Spend Some Time Together: Jesus Hold Me
When Father came into the room, he smiled and said, ‘Have a seat.’  I knew it was my Beloved Jesus inviting me to sit down and talk to Him.  I couldn’t look up.  I just poured my heart out, I could barely speak above a near whisper.  I felt awful.  As the conversation flowed, I felt a little better, even smiled somewhat.  Not once did I feel like I was going to be screamed at, not once did I feel like I was in any danger of being kicked out of the Family I’d so desperately wanted to be welcomed into and finally had been last year.  If anything, I felt like a weight was being lifted, little by little, with each infraction I confessed.  When I was done, Father and I discussed everything, and he shared about St Maximilian Kolbe and what he’d done in the concentration camps with his fellow prisoners to encourage them to not lose hope.  He – Father – shared with me encouraging words of how to go forward, doled out my penance, and prayed with me. 

As I prayed the Act of Contrition, I couldn’t help but feel like I was being washed clean.  All those awful things being stripped away, one by one.  I knew it wasn’t Father I was having that conversation with, but my Beloved Jesus Who was telling me behind each statement that Father made, ‘I love you.  I forgive you.  Remember, My child, even though those people hurt you with their inaction, you must remember that they are My children, too.  Don’t hold onto resentment.  Those are not of Me.  I don’t like this chasm between you and Me.  I don’t like it when we’re separated.  Come back to Me, and when you’re facing ugliness again, lean on Me, and let Me take care of you.  Let Me handle it.

I don’t like being separated from the Love of my life.  I know that He hurts worse than I do, and I know that my resentment and rage are not something He wants me to respond with.

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says "aLs LORD JESUS ENLIGHTEN what's dark in me, STRENGTHEN what's weak in me, MEND what' broken in me, BIND what's bruised in me, HEAL what' sick in me. And lastly, REVIVE whatever peace and love has died me. me. in me. me. Amen. @junevreyes"As I type this, I am heartbroken because I have broken my Beloved Lord’s Most Sacred Heart, and it feels like a knife is being twisted in my own fractured heart.  Yesterday wasn’t any better.  I went to Confession because of the tremendous anger – my default emotion – consumed me once again.  Last night, I w as reminded, ‘That’s not okay.’  To ask our Beloved Lord to take that away is unrealistic.  It’s honestly rather demanding.  We’re not in any position to demand anything of our Lord!  We need to, instead, ask Him for the grace to navigate through each situation and ask Him to send His Holy Spirit to help us avert our eyes and our minds away from those default behaviours that keep us from truly embracing a relationship with the Most Holy Trinity.

Today, I’ve decided to take a step back and work through all of these horrible emotions that I can’t figure out how to deviate away from.  Not on my own am I going to be able to work this out.  Not on my own am I going to be able to develop more patience, more charity, more love for my brothers and sisters.  How can I, as a practicing Catholic, claim to love Christ, Who Is the Embodiment of Love itself, expect to be taken seriously if I do not ask Him for the grace to do as He commands:  ‘turn the other cheek’?  A statement made in a homily I recently listened to – and enjoyed a great deal – that really struck me where I am: 

Flourish In Purpose - Blog‘The yes we give to God when times are good, while it is in fact a yes, is still just barely a whisper – completely inaudible to the world around us, drowned out by the humdrum and business and sarcasm and negativity.  The whispered yes is not good enough.  The world is watching.  The youth are watching.  They aren’t looking to your example when times are good.  They’re looking to see what happens when the rubber meets the road.  And so are we, in our own selves.  Complacency is the enemy of sanctity.’  

He goes on to say,

‘When you lose your job, and things aren’t going well, it is your faith that will preserve you and keep you whole.  And your kids, and your neighbours, and friends are all watching, and it is your lived faith, your radical yes in the face of a body of reasons to say no, to give in to despair, which will preserve them and keep them whole… When nothing in your life makes sense, and you can recongize the one thing that DOES make sense has ALWAYS made sense, and will ALWAYS make sense … is Christ.  That choice - that statement... changes the world.’

Thank You Jesus Quotes. QuotesGramThe first time I ever received my Beloved Jesus, in His Precious Body and Precious Blood, my life changed forever in ways I still have yet to understand and be able to articulate into simple human language.  As I went back to my seat to enjoy the rest of Mass that night, I cried.  I knew then and there everything I understood about my life, and about the world around me, changed.  That I had to change.  It’s been a struggle, I won’t even pretend that it hasn’t been the hardest wrestling match of my entirety.  When I knelt down in the pew and was praying, I told Him, ‘I love You.  I’m done arguing with You.  You’re the one in charge, You’re the one I’m going to follow.  I’m Yours.  All in.  I won’t argue with You if there’s something You want me to do.  I may not necessarily understand – or even like – what’s happening, but You’re the One Who can and will take care of me, I need to let You.  I’m ready, Lord, and I’m all in.  Please help me.’ 

I meant it.  I still do.  Like I said before, it hasn’t been easy.  To be fair, though, is anything worth it ever easy?  Our Lord never promised a life of ease!  Our brother, St Peter, even stated in his first letter to the Christians in Asia Minor,

Uncategorized | Martin Goldsmith | Page 2‘Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when His glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.  If you are insulted for the Name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  But let no one among you be made to suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer.  But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the Name.  For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it beings with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the Gospel of God?  “And if the righteous one is barely saved, where will the godless and the sinner appear?”  As a result, those who suffer in accord with God’s will hand their souls over to a faithful Creator as they do good.’  - 1 Peter 4.12-19

Focus on God, not your problems – The Son of GodThe closer we draw to God, the harder the enemy most assuredly will fight to pull us away.  He’s been fighting pretty hard, in my own life, for me to pull away from God.  The attack that happened to my dog Thursday morning and my response in the fallout and aftermath has been a clear example of such a fight.  I’m responsible for – and ashamed of - my actions.  I’m responsible for my own repentance.  My own response in the wake of what happened was not at all of Christ.  I feel awful.  It’s still a very strong struggle for me to work through my rage.  I’ve been to Confession and lay it all out for our Lord to help me sort everything out, but it’s up to me to take the advice given in that conversation and apply it in my actions going forth.  I’m trying, but my efforts have not been the best.  I admit that.  I have always been someone who goes by my knee-jerk reactions to situations, not stopping, taking a step back and asking our Beloved Lord for the grace to see Him and His Hands in this as much as I do when things are going well.  I need to work harder on that, to change my habits and shift my focus over to Christ, where it belongs.

Mother Teresa Quote: “Suffering is nothing by itself. But ...
As a child of God, it is my responsibility to set a proper example to the unbelieving world.  I cannot – and should never dare – claim to be a loving person if my initial response to any situation that I do not like, even the ones that I do not understand that outright terrify me is that of anger, resentment, and meanness towards those who’re failing, too.  This is a beautiful moment for me to step back and say, ‘Jesus, thank You that things did not go much, much worse than they easily could have.  Thank You that my boy and I came out on the other side of that with minimal damage.’  This is also a beautiful opportunity for me to step back and hand it to God, to ask Him for the grace to go forward without resentment towards others.  My reactions to this entire situation have not been charitable or kind.  I am not in control of anyone else but myself.  At the same time, I need to realize that all things, all of them, are not unnoticed by my Beloved.

Learning And Understanding Our Faith: Behold I stand at the door ...My negative reaction to this has given my Jesus a violent shove away from me.  This is not at all alright.  He won’t force Himself into my heart, He certainly won’t force His Presence where I am not welcoming Him in, either.  By going with my initial response to situations that are painful, reacting with anger and nastiness, that isn’t welcoming Jesus into the situation to help.  That’s shoving Him out the door and slamming it shut!  He’s on the outside, gently tapping and saying, ‘I can help you, but you need to let Me in to show you a better way to respond to this.’ 

The Catechism reminds us,

‘God Who created man out of love also calls him to love – the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.’  - CCC 1604

‘...ANGER is a desire for revenge.  “To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,” but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution “to correct vices and maintain justice.”  If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbour, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin.  The Lord says, “Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.”

Control your tongue. Do not say anything contrary to charity ...Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity.  Hatred of the neighbour is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil.  Hatred of the neighbour is a sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm.  “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father Who Is in Heaven.”’ - CCC 2302-2303

That last passage, I have written the word ‘REMEMBER!’ above it and marked it in red.  While no, I do not hate anyone, the situation itself could’ve easily been avoided, and I am angry about it.  I am devastated knowing that I have caused such a chasm between the Love of my life and myself.

With all of my heart and soul, my Beloved Lord, I beg You for the grace to go forward with my focus on You, and You alone, where it belongs.  Come, Holy Spirit, please help me in the way only You can...

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