October 23, 2009

From My Confessor

Some strong words from my confessor on the topic of interior vigilance:

We priests or religious must be very careful of resentment. If we allow it a place in our heart and our thoughts, or--God forbid--nourish it there, we will soon find it emerging in uncharity of speech and our attention will rejoice in those opportunities to be dragged into gossip, detraction, or worse. We must always remember that we chose this life. Yes, we were called by God and our call was confirmed by the Church, but in the end it is we ourselves who consented to accepting this life. We asked for the crosses that come with this life, and so when we are faced with the temptation to see ourselves as victims of the particular sadnesses, anxieities, and interior poverties of our vocation, we must resist these dangerous self-pities with all of the zeal and strength we can. If we do not actively resist these tempations, we will find our resentment and self-pity reemerging from ourselves first as stupid and distracting sensualities, second as impatience and uncharity in speech and ministry, and finally as the toxic boredom that afflicts too many of us already.

Penance: the old 'ten and ten.'


Warren said...

Toxic boredom. That's a great phrase. I have always tended to call that state"accidie", defined after the manner of Thomas Aquinas.

I wonder, do you think your confessor would mean the same thing as Accidie, by that phrase "Toxic Boredom", or are they different subtly, or completely?


Brother Charles said...

I bet he means that exactly.

Lynn said...

Ha! Please add "adult converts to the Faith" to priests and religious :) I really needed to hear this today. I have to remember that I chose to come Home, knowing I would bring all sorts of baggage with me, and it's no fair crying foul now. I made the choice freely. I don't ever regret it, but there are days when being Catholic requires more of me than I am at all sure that I have.

Brother Charles said...

Indeed, Lynn. It was certainly God's mercy that kept me ignorant of challenges to come when I consented to be baptized seventeen years ago. Had I known better I might have chickened out!

Mark D. said...

Good advice, and not just for priests and religious.


Anonymous said...

You must have a wise and perceptive confessor.

I am now faced with the possibility of entering the cloister and sometimes find myself challenged by stirrings of resentment.

Qualis Rex said...

I always thought "accidie" translates exactly to "accidia" in Italian which means "sloth" or "laziness".

My way of looking at is has always been that the deadly sin of sloth (or accidie) is what inspires or manifests itself in things like "toxic boredom", iddleness, depression/despair etc. Meaning the latter are a consequence of the former.

Father Charles, for me, this is one of my biggest sins. I can tell you how often a well-deserved good rest turns into sloth/laziness. And the first signs of it are procrastination, followed by either regret or resentment.

I've often wondered if the church Fathers knew about endorphines and the role they play on one's brain (even though they couldn't put it into those words). When we accomplish things, especially physical activity, our brains release these endorphines and make you feel "happy", and thus prone to good will regarding yourself and those around you. When we are slothful, we never get to experience this. So, it makes you wonder.

Anonymous said...

Thinking out a negative comments when listening to gossips bothers me a lot, trying to avoid being in a group when they start gossiping is my only solution.