January 11, 2007

Despair

A long time ago I was taking a walk when I realized, just when I needed to hear it, why despair is a temptation and a sin:

Despair is like self-importance turned inside-out; it implies the belief that God ought to have given us more hope and faith than we have, and that he doesn't know what he's doing. Despair is an indulgence in our frustrated greed for certainty.

I recalled this moment when I found a post-it note in an old breviary that said, "You can be grateful for the grace of poverty of spirit, or you can indulge in self-importance of despair."

6 comments:

Michael Hallman said...

This post reminds me of a sermon a priest gave during the retreat weekend when I finally decided to follow my own vocation. He spoke of Judas' greatest sin not being his betrayal of Jesus, but the fact that he despaired of God's mercy. The priest then went on to tell a story of someone who confessed to him that he was certain God could never forgive him, that his sins were too great. The Father looked at the man and said, "Who do you think you are? Do you really think that you are so powerful and important that you can cause God to stop being God? Are you somehow powerful enough to change the nature of the unchanging God? Who do you think you are, that you are somehow important enough to cause the all powerful God to be unable to forgive you? Who do you think you are?"

That always stuck with me.

Carolina Cannonball said...

nice. I needed to get over myself... I was in bad place for a long time spirtually, frustrated bc I live in a liturgical wasteland.

Charles of New Haven said...

Thanks for the comment and stories, Michael and Carolina. It's true we always exaggerate our own importance and control over God.

You both reminded me of posts I've been meaning to write on:

1. Pretending to be powerful
2. Living in a "liturgical wasteland,' as you put it.

Thanks!

forget me not said...

Oh, yes, please write on those issues!

Br. Chris Gaffrey, ofm said...

Thanks for this post. I needed to hear it today.

Anonymous said...

Good insights.