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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Defeating Evil or Circumventing Mental Illness?

500 years ago it was pretty cut and dried. Someone suffering from mental illness was possessed of the devil and needed an exorcism. Sometimes they were tortured or put to death by the State. Sometimes they were revered as a prophet but there was a kind of line that was drawn because people did not understand mental illness.

Today we have this HUGE list of things to choose from - everything from bi-polar to personality disorders - but it has not gotten easier to determine whether you are dealing with someone who is really ill and in need of love and compassion or you are dealing with someone who has flat out given into sin.

For Catholics, the choice is not who to love. We are charged to love everyone. We are taught to hate the sin and not the sinner. Technically, then, this means that it doesn't matter how I am being treated by the person in question I am still supposed to love them.

And this is why I know I am not a saint.

It is also why my prayer discipline is so important. I don't pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet every day because I am some sort of super Catholic. In fact, I do this because I am a lousy Catholic struggling to be a good one. I need to remember to Love, not let my temper or disdain get the best of me and to NOT give into the temptation to blow someone out of the water when they are baiting me.

In other words, I don't get to take the bait.


This stuff is difficult.

The Church teaches that the wound of Original Sin gives us all the tendency towards sin. We believe that the Sacraments of Reconciliation and The Eucharist allows us to receive Sanctifying Grace. This infusion of Grace allows us to resist this need to retaliate when someone like LOM takes the occasional pot shot or swipe at us for no reason.

Or it gives us the ability to forgive the people in our lives who have hurt us in the past but trying to do better.

So that is my eternal struggle. I want, sometimes, to lash out and I think I have a tendency to let things build up inside and feel overwhelmed. That is not good. That is what the 10th Step is get that stuff out every day so it does NOT build up.

The Nephew has been told that he will be going to Afghanistan in three weeks. He doesn't get to come home on leave before being deployed. We are all kind of stunned and sad and scared but we love him and want to support him. So we keep this inside and just keep on truckin'.

This kid is the light of my life. I have been sober for 18 years of his 21 years of life and he is one of the reasons I have stayed sober when I haven't wanted to do so. A child deserves at least one sane person in their life - someone that, no matter what, will put them first and themselves second. I have not been perfect, of course, but he and his siblings have come first. I have lived in a place I have not felt a part of for 12 years so I could be close to him and them. I have let people be abusive and weird and throw me under the bus when they have felt threatened and I did it so someone would be in their lives that they knew would go to the open house even if they are tired, walk the street with them on Halloween even when they ache so bad they want to cry and help them write papers and study spelling.

I told Nephew about a year ago that my moving to Modesto was the biggest mistake I had ever made...and he said, "No, wasn't. We need you. We haven't had anyone else who just cares about us".

That does not mean he does not love his parents. He does. He thinks they are fabulous most of the time....but he knows they are inconsistent and have their own struggles. And no matter what, if the phone rings here it will get answered and no one will yell.

Until the next day...lolololol.

God, keep him safe. Jesus, I trust in You.


De Liliis said...

'I have come to teach you the prayer which I made as a young girl when I was still living in the Temple. I resolutely decided in my heart that I wished to have God as father and I made up my mind to do whatever would please him, so that I might find favour in his sight. I made myself learn his law and all the commandments contained in it. In particular I committed to memory three commandments, being eager to keep them with the greatest care and with all my might. These are: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Love your neighbour as yourself. (Dt 6:5) Love your friend and hate your enemy." (Lv 19:18 and Mt 5:3) For I understood that man and angel were good, and my enemy was the devil and, insofar as he is evil, the evil man. From that love of God and neighbour, and from the fear and hatred of the enemy (that is, of the devil and sin), every fulness of grace and virtue has descended to me. That love cannot take root in the human heart unless there is there hatred of the enemy, that is, of the devil and sin.'

The Blessed Virgin to St. Elizabeth, from 'The Revelations of St. Elizabeth of Toss'

'That your enemies have been created is God's doing; that they hate you and wish to ruin you is their own doing. What should you say about them in your mind? "Lord be merciful to them, forgive them their sins, put the fear of God in them, change them!" You are loving in them not what they are, but what you would have them to become.'

St. Augustine

Leslie K. said...

this is beautiful! thank you so much!