Sunday, August 31, 2008


My view of the Rite of Reconciliation and the Blessed Sacrament is inverted from what I so often see practiced. I am eager to make use of the confessional and approach the Eucharist with fear and trembling.

The Divine Mercy is what most strongly shapes my attitude towards confession. If I am repentant, I will be forgiven, and my penance will be a means by which I can gain greater holiness and avoid further sin. I am always grateful for the unburdening of my soul.

The Blessed Sacrament is my Lord and my God! What person of sense does not approach the Almighty with fear and trembling? If I have any doubts that I might receive unworthily, then I will take a blessing and avoid eating and drinking judgement upon myself. It shocks me that Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, and Speaker Pelosi, can sin so grievously for so many years and still claim to be in communion with Him and His Church. I fear and pray for their souls, and all those like them.

Plans and Suffering

God has a plan. Sometimes, His plan is to let us fail. It accounts for those who choose spiritual wilderness and even damnation, though such is not His desire. He just loves us too much to impose His will upon us without our consent.

It was a Protestant preacher I first heard this from (I paraphrase): "The tool with which God shapes us into what He wants us to be is suffering." Look at those who are most thoroughly aware of God's blessings. They have gained that awareness through suffering. I certainly wouldn't be thankful for all the wonderful things in my life if my dad hadn't thrown me out of his house.

Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my favorite writers. This wisdom she put in the mouth of one of her characters (again, I have to paraphrase): "A test is a gift. It isn't so important whether you pass or fail. But if you refuse the test, you refuse the gift."

We don't know everything. We don't know why we suffer. But we ought to know our suffering has a purpose and that God's grace, goodness, and mercy are infinite. Remember who the fools and villains are in the book of Job -- the ones who told him things like "You have brought this on yourself" and "Curse God and die."

God knows what we need for our salvation. One of the challenges of a Christian life is to trust Him when it seems so far removed from our own desires.