Sunday, February 24, 2008
The Garden of Gethsemane
Nothing to do with this post but I was talking with my 12 year old son about vocations today. Among others things,I told him that I had read online about a nun who at first became a nun because she thought she was too ugly to get married. (I hope I am remembering that story properly.) He asked me if I meant that "nun with the blog" since he reads your blog over my shoulder sometimes. When I told him yes, he said, "I've seen her picture; she's not ugly."
I believe the work I used was 'homely'. Your poor boy. Have you had his eyes checked?
Last year we also had a question about taking Sundays off from our Lenten sacrifices. This being Sunday, I thought we should tackle this one:
I have a question. If you say you are going to give something up for Lent and then go ahead and do it a few times anyway (i.e. eat a brownie, or watch TV), is that a sin? Or is that just a mess-up and you start over more strongly commited the next day (like on a diet)? Does one need to take it to confession if they knowingly failed in giving something up perfectly? If they made a fully concious choice to give in to the temptation?
I would so love to tell you, "yes, that's a sin."
But it's just not. This is one of those golden moments when a nun could get away with making it up that it is a sin, too! If you were in second grade I would be so tempted!
But it's just not a sin. Sin is when you veer off God's path. When you decide to give up something for Lent, it really doesn't have anything to do with what God wants. It's to help you join in the suffering of Christ. In as much as I'm sure God wants you to join in the suffering of Christ, you are merely volunteering to do so during Lent. It's really about you and working on your spiritual character.
Imagine you made a plan with a friend of yours that you were going to do something nice for her that she liked. Weed her garden, say, or take her to breakfast. And you tell her, "I'm coming over today to week your garden! I'm coming over today to take you to breadfast!"
And then you don't show up.
Does it matter why?
Sure it does! If you found the children trying to make papier mache masks by lathering papier mache onto their faces and that baby's mouth is glued shut and after you get that off you discover that the papier mache has glued the seven year old's eyes shut and nothing will get them open again and you have to take him to the emergency room ande that's why you couldn't get over to your friend's house, that would be okay.
If your mother slipped on an icy patch and sommersaulted or went end over tea kettle or simply filled the air with arms and legs for a moment there before landing in a heap over by the mail box and you had to go check on her, that would be okay.
But if you just over slept and then made a quick phone call and got stuck while your
Aunt Marg yammers at you about your Aunt Rose and her colonoscopy and then you were taken in by something on the tube for a minute there about a kidnapping victim and suddenly it was lunch time and the whole morning was shot...not so much.
I think your friend would be very disappointed. And hungry.
Could you start in again tomorrow and do it?
Sure you could!
Better that than just say to yourself, "Oh well." I'll bet your friend would feel fine about that, too.
When I was a (homely) child I was fascinated with the story of the apostles in a food stupor from their Passover dinner in the Garden of Gethsemane, unable to wait up with Jesus at this crucial time, even though he begged them. "What is WRONG with those people," I thought. "I would never do that!"
Ha! I've done at least that! I've also glued children's eyes shut and had to go check on old ladies who have sommmersaulted down their driveways and gotten distracted by the problems of others and whether or not kidnapping victims have been found. I've fallen asleep while the whole convent prays the rosary. I dozed off standing up with a mop.
The least we can do is make a simple promise and try to keep it for a few weeks and not get distracted and try to stay awake with Jesus. In heaven's name, make a real effort. Pretend you're in the Garden of Gethsemane if you have to! Stay alert!
And get that kid's eyes looked after!