About Me

My photo
Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Got Guilt?

I didn't want to spoil your Palm Sunday with my thoughts on Palm Sunday, so I've waited until it ended. Palm Sunday is a relatively happy day, as Jesus rides into town on a donkey, and for a minute there, everyone actually appreciates Him. By Thursday, everyone turns on Him and the rest is history. To say the least.

I love Palm Sunday, because I love Catholic guilt.

I love guilt, period. I know in these touchy feely goody good times we aren't supposed to run around feeling guilty. It isn't "healthy".

I think it is very healthy. If you do something wrong, you should feel bad about it. The worse the thing is that you did, the worse you should feel.

I don't really mind if you run around feeling guilty most of the time. You've probably done enough things or failed to do enough things to merit the guilt. Some people might call it a 'guilt complex'. I call it a "sense of responsibility".

And it's a useful teaching tool.

What does this have to do with Palm Sunday?

Don't you always feel just a little queasy on Palm Sunday? Here we all are, welcoming Jesus to town with our own personal palm fronds that we'll take home and braid and keep all year. And all the while we know that in just a couple of days we will be at our worst, an angry mob calling for blood.

It's an odd feeling. Pre-Guilt. Guilt before the fact.

How Catholic can you get?

Now it's Holy Week. We have a very difficult, guilt filled week ahead. Let's not get too wrapped up finding things to put in our plastic eggs just yet. It's time to stay awake with Jesus.

You should feel very guilty if you fall asleep


Donna. W said...

That guilt doesn't stop with Catholics. Various branches of protestants get it heaped on them, too.

I absolutely love your blog. I'm learning a lot about the Catholic faith that I never knew, and I get a lot of laughs at the same time; you have a delightful sense of humor.

I've mentioned you a couple of times in my blog, and have had people thank me for introducing them to you.

As a relatively new reader, I appreciate your linking to past entries that I'd never get around to reading otherwise.

Keep up the good work, and I'll keep mentioning you from time to time.

Unknown said...

Sister, tsk tsk. Where is the redemption then. Jesus didn't come to suffer and die so we would feel guilty.

Anonymous said...

I always tell my non-Catholic friends who use the phrase "Catholic Guilt" in jest to substitute the word "conscience" for "guilt", and it's a more accurate description!


Anonymous said...

Pre-guilt!!! I love it!!!

Anonymous said...

Funny how things don't change much through out history. Guilt is something that everyone is trying to avoid. No one wants to own up to guilt, always trying to transfer it to someone else, pin it to someone else, they are to blame. Even in this present crisis everyone is trying to find out who is guilty for the world crisis. Jesus was found guilty and hung on a cross and everyone in the crowd felt justified in it....He died for our sins. It is so important to recognize guilt as a way of re-orienting ourselves to what is good and right and not to transfer the guilt to someone else.

Bethany said...

I've always felt the same way on Palm Sunday. Especially when I was very small.

Thank you so much for the reasonable take on guilt. My husband and I always joke that we should get t-shirts that say something like, "Maybe you feel guilty because you are." But then we'd feel guilty about being so self-righteous.

When does being righteous turn into sef-righteous pride? And how can one admonish sinners without falling into that trap?!

Unknown said...

I could be very, very wrong about this--not really such a shock--but I think the majority of folks in church on Palm Sunday and throughout Holy Week believe as they recite their alloted section of the Gospel reading,"Crucify him," that they wouldn't truly have made that horrendous statement. They would not be part of the angry mob. The same people who believe they would never stand by quietly while a lynching took place or the Brown Shirts dragged Jewish families from their homes.
The same people who are afraid to disagree with their managers or a new policy at work for fear of losing their job. Sorry, but it's a peeve of mine. Courage of convictions is a muscle that needs to be flexed frequently to stay strong.
As for guilt, I think there's plenty in this life. The quest is how to keep one's head above its waterline and keep breathing.

Anonymous said...

Pre-guilt is conscience.

Post-guilt is conscience, too, after doing what your pre-action conscience told you was wrong.

Bonnie said...

My goodness where did you find such a picture Sr. Mary Martha! That will be 3 Hail Mary's, one Our Father, and the Act of Contrition! Of course you won't be telling Fr. Tim about the Twilight book under my mattress will you?

Yours in you know who,
Sister Bonstance of the Valley