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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dog Gone Sinners

My comments about my comments seems to have confused people. In order to keep up with the confusion, if you haven't read the last two posts, you'll have to have a gander at them.

It all started with the fictional Mrs. Sheffield blocking everyone's way to get to the parking lot first. My point was that even after you're all set with a plenary indulgence, you may sin again any second and, "poof" we're off to the races again. I imagined that the reader understood the gist of my comments, but I can see that we need a little clarity.

Peanut Gallery Comment One:
Please comment on what constitutes a mortal sin. The questioner stated that he/she rarely gets out of Mass without having a sinful thought about Mrs. Sheffield. If it's just a thought and not something that's nurtured into something bigger, I doubt it's a mortal sin and hence no fear of eternal damnation when that bus rolls into you. Or else we're all in big trouble.

Peanut Gallery Comment Two:
You know, unless you are just wallowing in hatred and maybe planning her demise, entertaining unkind thoughts about old Ms. Sheffield is not a mortal sin. Just having the thoughts pop into your head unbidden is really nothing more than a temptation, and if you refuse to give in to them, it's not a sin at all.

Correct on both counts! I didn't mean to imply that an unkind thought about Mrs. Sheffield would land anyone in Hell. It looks like we need to discuss not only a mortal and venial sin, but sin altogether.

Ever watch that dog whisperer fellow? Sister Mary Fiacre loves watching that man. I think she likes all the dogs. The dog whisperer is a dog trainer who has a TV show where he goes to some one's house who has an incorrigible dog and the second he gets there, the dog behaves for him. Then he has to teach the owners to treat the dog like a dog and not a furry person who eats off the floor.

His motto is that the dog is a dog first, then a specific breed of dog, then your pet. Or something like that. Dogs are pack animals and once the owner understands that he is the pack leader and not the daddy of the dog, things fall into place. Just because a dog is a dog doesn't mean we allow the dog to eat our shoes.

Here is some people whispering for you:

We are human animals. We are also beings who fare better when we live in groups--families, tribes, the Catholic Church, etc.

We are animals first and humans second. We can't help it when certain thoughts and emotions pop into our brains. Sometimes things are happening because of chemical reactions in our bodies.

But that doesn't give us the excuse to eat our shoes.

When an unkind thought pops into your animal brain, it's not a sin.

Unless....you don't pop it right back out again. It's why our saintly fore bearers wore hair shirts and knelt on dried peas, to keep those thoughts at bay.

The added bonus is that the more discipline you have over your pop up thoughts, the less you will even have them. Because you are not a dog. You might even be the pack leader.

That said, if poor Mrs. Sheffield is lumbering out in front of you and you let your thoughts run amok, that is a sin. If you want to kill Mrs. Sheffield, that's a mortal sin. If you actually want to kill her, it's the same sin as if you actually do kill her.

So it is indeed possible to land yourself in Hell on the way out of church behind Mrs. Sheffield. It's highly unlikely, though.

Unless you're the type who also goes home and eats their shoes.


mph said...

Thanks for the answer to my last post Sister. It looks like it was my post that started the confusion. It was really a two part post - the first a question about mortal sin and the second just a general comment about how I'm easily irritated about other mass-goers and usually have at least one uncharitable thought about them (which is quite disheartening as I'm never in a state of grace for long) although I know this isn't a mortal sin. I can see how it confused everyone though.

Jana said...

"Like thieves in the night, unwelcome thoughts can and do seek entrance to our minds. But we do not have to throw open the door, serve them tea and crumpets, and then tell them where the silverware is kept. Throw the rascals out!" -Jeffrey R. Holland

Sanchez said...

Hi Sister,
Is there a patron saint of ice cream? (Or people who love ice cream, or people who make ice cream, or cooks and bakers in general?) Thank you!

Mother Superior said...

well, now, I gave away my Lives of the Saints, but I do have Google, and so, ta-dah - it's Bernadette Soubirous.


What an amazing blog, my Sister. You have taken it to the nth degree. One of my brethren shared your blog with me just today. Hmmmm, like minds . . .

Yours, in the faith,
Mother Superior