I had been spending too much time in prayer to the detriment of my human relations. These pious efforts were mostly brought about a desire to avoid CL. You know him, right? He is a son of yours. Well, I had wrongly assumed that by avoiding him by spending more time in prayer and thus being physically away from him, I would succeed avoiding occasions of sin and subsequently, foster greater and deeper faith, hope, and charity. Instead, I had given the impression to family and friends that I was avoiding them instead. While in my mind I was doing something good (it must have been, for the time in prayer indeed gave me peace and led me to this recognition of a fault), I came across to others as distant and bizarre, gloomy and unattractive.
“Do not tell everyone your story. You will only end up feeling more rejected. People cannot give you what you long for in your heart. The more you expect from people’s response to your experience of abandonment, the more you will feel exposed to ridicule.”
It is easy to be upset by sin after all. And in this world, sin abounds. A man may despise failure but without faith in God and hope in his Mercy, his misery is useless. How can there be contrition if it does not lead to conversion and reconciliation? St. Paul writes, “where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more.” Dear C, how hard it is to see this overflowing fountain of grace when there is so much self-love staining the soul. How hard to see Jesus behind tears of self-pity! How hard to love when blinded by pride.
We come home to our families: a nagging mother, an ill-tempered father, an accusatory brother, an unbelieving sister, a stubborn niece or nephew, a dishonest helper. The house is full of marks from these people: their sentiments and affections, our quarrels with them, their mistakes towards us; spilled secrets, deeply rooted resentments; attachments and dependencies; him and her, me, I, us, we – occasions of sin and occasions of reparation – grazing on our skin, grating at our egos.