September 9, 2014

Best Penance Ever

On my way home from an appointment this morning I stopped by the Lateran Basilica to visit the Italian-English-Irish confessor, a gentle old friar. (How many penitents does he get who confess in Irish?) I really appreciated the penance he gave me:

"Pray the Veni Creator Spiritus for yourself, five Hail Marys for the people of the parish, and few more for the person you hurt."


Sophie said...

I wonder what penance your friar would give to me for having (by giving birth) inflicted such agony on my beloved daughter who again tonight is distraught, suicidal, and despairingly, frantically, tearfully begging God, her father, and me to assist her out of her misery? Perhaps it is God who should be penanced? It was we who brought her into the world, but it is He who has abandoned us.

Sophie said...

I apologize. I am bitter. I suppose I cannot blame God for shrugging His shoulders and turning away? How can He know what this is like for us? After all His beloved child was in agony merely for days.

I wish I could sit in a quiet room somewhere in Rome and be joyfully grateful to God.

Brother Charles said...

The Lord is with you, suffering with you on the Cross. That the Lord Jesus knows, from the Cross, exactly how we feel when we feel abandoned by God is the good news of our faith.

And you are stronger than you feel.

Sophie said...

Perhaps that's true, Brother Charles - I'm not sure I can even summon enough interest in what Jesus does or doesn't know to care - because does it calm and comfort my daughter? No. The Lord Jesus is looking down at us helplessly from Heaven and He remembers what this was like way back when He felt this way and...whelp, He'd help her if He could.... If I could find the right words? If I could convince Him she's lovely and kindhearted and worthy of succor?

Her life has fallen apart over her mental illness. My family has fallen apart over her mental illness. My husband left us and then came back, and I had to take him back because...Sacrament of Marriage.

I haven't been to mass since I wrote to you during Lent, that God, Jesus, Mary, and the saints had ignored me for so long that I hadn't even thought to say a prayer during a stormy night or in the desolate days following, and you suggested that I offer God my silence.

Sophie said...

Upon rereading your comment I was struck by your words "the good news of our faith" this afternoon and realized that you and I no longer share a common faith. (I went to Mass this morning, or tried to go to Mass - in the end I could not go inside.) Therefore it seems inappropriate for me to post here again. Thank you for your kindness to a woman whom you have never met and will never meet. I am certain you will include my daughter in your prayers. Her name is Alicia. Her current diagnosis is severe treatment-resistant depression, GAD, and mild BPD with excessive empathy.

Brother Charles said...

Thanks for the invitation to pray. As far as the faith goes, I might say that it is the same without regard to our relative success or failure to hold on to it. The Lord is faithful even when we are not, and that is often enough as any of us knows.

Paul A. Zalonski said...

I think we have the things in life that will move our heart and mind to conversion --breaking open the heart to love -- to have compassion first for ourself (not in an egotism) but a genuine concern for destiny in Christ, and then to a deep love for the other person. Many days this is a hard reality. Reality never fails us.

Mental illness and addiction can cause significant stress and tiredness.