If x = …

Addiction.  Everywhere we look, wherever we turn our gaze, outward or inward, we are apt to find it.  My prayer for 2008 is for people to be set free. Whether we are speaking of heavy, urgent addictions, persistent venial sin, or the clingings and attachments that are part-and-parcel of our human weakness and frailty, let this be the year, the day, the moment, when new lives begin in Christ. 

[Excerpt from:  “The Priest Is Not His Own“, by Archbishop Fulton Sheen]:

“A personal equation must be established between the soul and the Crucifix.  Sins of pride are understood through the crown of thorns; sins of lust, through the torn flesh; sins of avarice, through the poverty of nakedness; and sins of alcoholism, through thirst.  Moreover, sin must be seen as resisting the Spirit of Love (Acts 7:51), as stifling the Spirit of Love (1 Thess 5:19) and as distressing the Spirit of Love (Eph 4:30).

Conscience is always enlightened when sin is seen as hurting someone we love.  No sin can touch one of God’s stars or silence one of His words, but it can cruelly wound His Heart.  Once the penitent understands this truth, he can see why he has such emptiness and desolation in his soul; he has hurt one he loves.

Many who approach a priest still try to conceal their conscience.  They offer spurious reasons to explain their actions.  The priest who remains on a purely psychological level cannot always see through such deceits, and, in consequence, he cannot help the one who has come to him.  It takes a spiritual X ray to penetrate such a mind.”

Direct to YouTube for this video is here.


14 thoughts on “If x = …

  1. One addiction I struggle with that many also do is the addiction to overeating! It is a battle which I , with God’s help, have been gaining the victory over for the past few months. It is a killer..literally.
    Thanks for the video. When I had dial-up I had a terrible time with your videos and missed a lot of nice material, Gabrielle. Now that I got rid of dial-up I am enjoying your files. The lyrics blended perfectly with the film.

  2. We are given an incredible gift in Reconciliation even so, I recognize that there are times when I knowingly pass on the fullness of this gift by concealing or justifying my sins which seems in a way to not be a confession at all.

  3. This is not melodrama (for which I am locally famous–not everyone most compassionately and quite literally rips the mirror off the wall which has been placed [bolted, as it so happens..] between two unstalled lady’s toilets so that each swipe of hair or mascara comb is applied inches from sitting knees), but something massive happened in even the first few minutes of the Passion movie. The moment someone belted Him, I knew it was mine, and that He took it for love of me. Honestly, I think I shrieked NO. The moment they threw a rope around His neck, then again I knew it was mine. I have seen much violence and plenty of blood, but not even the fictional scourging could I watch, nor the crowning, because those shouldn’t have been His, either.

    Like all the rest of us, perhaps, I have never been able to say, “Crucify Him!” very loud, but my religion’s honesty with my deadly imperfection says, “You must say it aloud..if you would be healed of sin.” Because we did indeed crucify Him–only outwardly did it appear to be the fearful Jews and some skeevy Romans. Our sins made His Offering necessary, and only the perfectly-human offering could suffice. And only in the power of the perfectly-Divine could it be consummated. But although an offering of Love, of Love that reaches from within eternity, the cost of His love was not anything that wouldn’t have pierced our own hearts to have witnessed in the flesh. I have the greatest empathy for all the Apostles who failed to risk their presence, for they knew it would likely kill them to see Him wounded, let alone killed.

    I’m thinking today, since it is so hard to recall all our sins, that that moment in which I (or you) owned our sin like never before, and would’ve run to shove Him to safety and take that fist, that rope, those whips–and begged for that of others’ cost — even tho’ it wouldn’t have done any of us any good.. maybe that is what we should call to mind before we enter the confessional.

  4. Fulton Sheen says, “A personal equation must be established between the soul and the Crucifix”, and this can only happen, as far as I know, through meditation on His Passion, which is also, according to many saints and contemplative writers (Teresa of Avila, The Cloud of Unknowing, etc) the surest and safest door through which to enter into contemplation. Meditation on His Passion will also eventually lead to perfect contrition during the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

    Owen, Joanne, C.O., I regretfully neglected to indicate this in my post, but here Sheen is speaking of priestly spiritual direction rather than the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It’s from the chapter called, “The Spirit and Counseling”, and as we know, there is (or should be) a big difference between the way we express our sins to a priest in the confessional versus the way we would need to discuss our struggles with a priest whom we have approached for counseling. I apologize for the wee bit of confusion.

  5. teresa, you got stuck in SPAM and I just released you! 🙂 Would it were that easy in “real” life!

    Congratulations on gaining the victory! Day by day, one choice at a time, with the help of the Holy Spirit, may we all break free from whatever is holding us back, weighing us down, preventing our souls from soaring.

    Hey everybody, teresa anawim has come back to the fold (the blogging-fold). 😉

  6. Hey, welcome back, teresa! Good to see you. Overeating is way too easy to do. Very frustrating. I’m so glad you’re winning over what truly can be a killer. C’mon, inspire me — I’m so tired of these same ol’ extra pounds. One more year, and I’ll have to start naming them.

    Indeed, souls were indeed meant to soar. Mine quickly does so whenever I see a squirrel sprawled all belly-flat atop the wood of the swingset on a hot day, or whenever the little guy says, “Ohhhh, sank you!” for the littlest doggone things. As for addictions to break, I’m certainly not exempt. I can’t talk to priests outside of the confessional, tho’. I get so nervous, I turn into a pretzel. So does the priest. I come here for straightening out, really.

  7. No matter what I go to confession for, I prefer THE BOX !
    Face to face confessions make me nervous. Even when I am sitting in very make-yourself-at-home overstuffed wing chairs with my spiritual director I have a tough time …although it is getting better with each session. I am sharing issues dealing my very soul. No one other than me and Christ Himself knows
    these inner thoughts and motives.
    Words that come to me as I type are:
    Nakedness of soul

    Foolish, I know, but that is the shy temperament I got through the gene pool and fed over the years.

  8. The last few lines of the excerpt made me call to mind the well documented ablity Padre Pio had to see into men’s souls – he didn’t operate on a mere psychological level, which was why hundreds crowded to his confessional.

  9. Thanks for this. There are many wisdoms in this article. The part at the end about conceal of conscience is so true. Addiction and lies so very often goes hand in hand and this is such a good advice.


  10. Shyness is a curse and a half, teresa. Gosh, I’ll bet it took me 3 years to get up the nerve to say “Hi” to my mother. (And she was smaller than me, even then!) Your
    Nakedness of soul
    leads me to believe we two, also, were separated at birth.

    Indeed, Ann, I thought of Pio, too. Pia is named for him, and her parents spoke with him and received one of his gloves (tho’ you probably knew that already, others may not). I recall some posts about that over at Beyond the Horizon.

    Joakim, sometimes it seems we are addicted to addictions.
    :o) Wait.. that didn’t make sense. (Great, now I’m channeling Gracie Allen!) Rather, we seem addicted to anything and everything but God! And there He is, the most delicious warm heart-y bread, the strongest clearest wine with the greatest kick, the fire of mystery rushing through our veins up to our brains to alter thought, His fast grace-full car breaks all limits speeding us to Our destination, He is a lucky strike on every scratch ticket, His indelible Sign is our ink over and over, we find that loving is nothing but a same ol’ horizontal dance without His Holy Spirit, and His piercings are the ones we really want. Ah, addicted to Him, yea, but truly making us free in that– not enslaving us like earthly addictions. What we hunger and thirst for, what every sense and want and need hungers and thirst for, we were made to hunger and thirst for because of Him; nothing satisfies, but Him.

  11. I’d thrown all caution to the wind once when opening up to a priest who seemed to know it all…and I crashed headlong into a brick wall- and now you need a pry bar to get something out of me, but it’s getting better with time.
    I think there should be the right amount of prudence (on both parts). I now think of shyness as a quality, not a fault sometimes.

    Yes, my parents met and spoke at length with Pio, my namesake. My dad met him 3 times and my mom once, but one other time in the form of a strong fragrance of violets the night before she had her hysterectomy. He’s always been a constant presence in our family, although his capacity to see so deeply into souls gets me a bit edgy. If he were alive, I don’t think I’d go to see him…and I think I’ll be sleeping with the lights on tonight!

  12. Thanks everyone for all these great comments while I’ve been a tad busy at home and work – and JustMe, for keeping things rolling along! You made me laugh out loud, JustMe, when you said you came here to get straightened out!

    Two secrets (well, not anymore, I guess):

    – I’ve never gone to confession face-to-face with a priest; I’m a box-addict too.

    – I’ve prayed to Padré Pio precisely two times in my life. Both times I was in the family room, alone in the house, and all of a sudden there were horrendous noises upstairs. No more praying to Padré Pio until I have nerves of steel. 🙂

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