Thursday, April 1, 2010

My O My

So many people say they are sad, and they cant shake off this sadness. I'm sort of like that too. It's a worry and a trial. I keep reminding myself that as a confirmed Christian I must be strong, but I'm so used to leaning on my church, not having my church lean on me. Am I not also a victim of clerical sexual abuse? That's the tenor of what I read, confessions of distressed Catholics being run in all the papers. They echo my feelings, I thought, glad to find others like me, while I settled once more into the weepy Catholic mainstream. But yesterday, Spy Wednesday, I suddenly thought, for whom is the distress I feel - for the victims of sexual abuse, for the priests and nuns unjustly tarnished, for the Holy Father so viciously attacked by old, old enemies? No, it's for me. For my loss of happiness and my loss of tranquility and the interruption of my progress in Catholicism. MY, MY, O MY. Just like the high priests and the pharisees looked at Jesus and thought only of how he was upsetting their world, I think of these scandals as things visited upon me by others, from outside my beautiful religious space, and so, I contrive to make myself a victim. Boo hoo, make it better. I'm the original Catholic baby.

I have nothing to be sad about. I have the gift of the Holy Spirit. I have the treasures of the Church. I have the unbroken apostolic line to follow back to our Founder, to follow hand over hand, until I come to the precepts handed down by Him. I have everything I need.

Catholics should not be sad. The Pope has called us to penitence, but let it be a penitence undertaken cheerfully, for we know the reward is great. Some people love to get in on the sympathy act. I could be one of them myself. I must guard against it.

Jesus came from Nazareth to upset their world, so they set about getting rid of Him. They didn't want to hear what He had to say, just make Him go away. They must have considered themselves perfect. They had their sects, and their temple, and the division of duties and the division of spoils. Though they didn't always get along with one another, they were united in hating Jesus. I must not be like that. The Church is never perfect. I must listen to what these times have to tell me. But I cant do that while I'm concentrating on my own hurt and my own victimhood. I repeat, I have everything I need.

That's why I'm giving myself a bouquet. I'm officially cheering up. I'm present and ready to help. Word of advice to those who style themselves 'abuse survivors': in my life I've had to cope with some really awful stuff, stuff I survived, though many did not. I could call myself a 'survivor', but what's that? We're all surviving from day to day, until we're not anymore. Don't say you're a survivor: say you're alive.

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