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Sunday, October 12, 2014

What I have Learned So Far Today

Servant of God Father John Hardon's online Modern Catholic Dictionary defines sin as:

 "A word, deed or desire in opposition to the eternal law" (St. Augustine). Sin is a deliberate transgression of a law of God, which identifies the four essentials of every sin. A law is involved, implying that there are physical laws that operate with necessity, and moral laws that can be disregarded by human beings. God is offended, so that the divine dimension is never absent from any sin. Sin is a transgression, since Catholicism holds that grace is resistible and the divine will can be disobeyed. And the transgression is deliberate, which means that a sin is committed whenever a person knows that something is contrary to the law of God and then freely does the action anyway. (Etym. Old English synnsyn, sin; Old High German suntasuntea, perhaps to Latin sons, guilty.)

Up until yesterday I have always struggled with the concept of 'offending God'.  I got that God is a loving Father and I even get that He gave His Authority to His Church so that what The Church teaches on earth is bound in heaven.  I get it.  What I struggled with, up until yesterday, was the actual real concept of offending God.

How could someone like me offend He who IS, the Creator, the Alpha and the Omega?  It almost seems as though I would be bragging to think that any action puny old me could take would have that kind of impact on the Great I Am.

Yesterday, it hit me.  And it hit me while sitting in a high school stadium, watching 13 year olds play football.  It hit me while holding my iPhone so I could keep up with the Giants beating St Louis in game 1 of the series.

In other words, I got an inkling - only an inkling - and it came an one of those weird times when I was not focusing on trying to understand God or my religion.

It seems to me that I have been going about this all wrong - I have been compartmentalizing the idea of sin and offending God rather than linking it to Love.

I love a group of people so much that I would take a bullet for them.  No sacrifice is too great.  I have gone places, bought things, sat through stuff and held people in prayer for no other reason than I love them.  I have loved them since they were conceived or since they entered into relationships with my blood relatives.  I loved them no matter what they did or how they did it - no matter how or what or where - I have loved them.

Being separated from them because of hard feelings and misunderstandings takes it toll. It makes me feel almost physically sick and trying to be loving and accepting is tougher than I imagined.

My job is to be a Catholic Out Loud - to ignore the slights and just show up and smile, say hello and not worry.

And I can do that - shoot, I can do anything with the help of Jesus and His Church - but it hurts.

And that is when it hit me - this is what God experiences when someone He loves sins. 

Jesus, the God Man, feels this when I swear, when I lose my temper, when I throw a self centered tantrum, when I demand my rights and to be respected rather than humbly accept what is handed to me and simply ask for grace so I can endure it.  This is what He feels when I decide I know better than His Church.  That ugly feeling in my stomach, the tears in the back of the throat and the urge to grab someone and say, "WHY? WHY WON'T YOU LOVE ME ANYMORE?".  The physical pain that causes headaches and clenched muscles.  

The feeling of loneliness.

This is what God feels when I sin.  He feels this way because He LOVES me, Loves everything about me - my hair, my wrinkly butt and my love for football.  He Loves ME - and accepts me and thinks I am the greatest thing since pockets.  He has loved me so much He has given me a way of life that, should I choose to live it, will do nothing but bring me joy and eventual total communion with Him.  

And what do I do?  I put me first.  I get mad, I get selfish, I get impatient...and I treat others like crap because, after all, they deserve it. 

In other words, ladies and germs, I sin.

The realization that God hurts when I walk away from Him has strengthened my resolve to never leave Him again.  I may end up all alone here in this house with just my cats and my future dog (I think I may have found a new breeder outside of California but it will mean traveling and bringing a baby home on the plane - new experiences!).  It may mean having to depend upon a society through the parish for help in my later years.  I may end up leaving the area some day and becoming a house mother at Franciscan University in Steubenville.  I may end up - oh who knows?  The possibilities are endless!

The bottom line is this:  I don't want to cause My Lord any more pain, but when I do?  I am going to run for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  No one should feel that loneliness.  No one should feel that pain.

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