and looking forward to the serious....
Great reflections, Lina! Making a conscious effort in knowing our blind spots and doing reparations can break the bad ripple cycle. For most, it is easier said than done because pride and ego get in the way. My gentle parents used to remind us siblings not to be impulsive in our actions and words. As we were growing up, I can remember the countless times we failed them miserably. Some of us had to learn the hard way. I, for one, had to hit rock bottom just to realize my mistakes. But it was rock bottom that became the foundation which I built my new life. And of course, I am forever grateful to my parents for their undying prayers for God to grant me the grace for redemption. I believe it all boils down to humility. Realizing our smallness, we begin to think that the world isn’t about me. We begin to think before we act or do things. We try to put ourselves in the other’s shoes to know and feel their souls.
This topic also reminds me of what’s in store for all of us during the Last General Judgment where all men, both good and bad, according to the Athanasian Creed, will appear in the judgment to give an account of their deeds IN PUBLIC…
“The judgment will embrace all works, good or bad, forgiven as well as unforgiven sins, every idle word (Matthew 12:36), every secret thought (1 Corinthians 4:5). With the exception of Peter Lombard, theologians teach that even the secret sins of the just will be made manifest, in order that judgment may be made complete and that the justice and mercy of God may be glorified. This will not pain or embarrass the saints, but add to their glory, just as the repentance of St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalene is to these saints a source of joy and honour.”
Thus, during the General Judgment, everything that we do on earth will be accounted for, all secrets revealed, all good and bad interactions, in front of all people. Why so? Roman Catechism explains :
"The first reason is founded on the circumstances that most augment the rewards or aggravate the punishments of the dead. Those who depart this life sometimes leave behind them children who imitate the conduct of their parents, descendants, followers; and others who adhere to and advocate the example, the language, the conduct of those on whom they depend, and whose example they follow; and as the good or bad influence or example, affecting as it does the conduct of many, is to terminate only with this world; justice demands that, in order to form a proper estimate of the good or bad actions of all, a general judgment should take place. . . . Finally, it was important to prove, that in prosperity and adversity, which are sometimes the promiscuous lot of the good and of the bad, everything is ordered by an all-wise, all-just, and all-ruling Providence: it was therefore necessary not only that rewards and punishments should await us in the next life but that they should be awarded by a public and general judgment."
How wonderful to live in such a way that we have little or no regrets that we loved too little or too late. Why postpone the loving, forgiving and giving? Walking the road of humility is the road less travelled as they say. But it is the only path where everything falls into its place, even our salvation.
Mothers really know best. Her voice keeps reverberating in my heart…” Be gentle with your words and actions”…
The Council of Trent teaches: since all men had lost their innocence in Adam's sin, being made unclean and by nature children of wrath, they were servants of sin and under the power of the devil and death to such an extent that neither the Gentiles by the power of nature nor the Jews through the letter of the Mosaic Law could liberate themselves or rise from it.
In his Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle St Paul teaches that all men, Jews and heathens, stand under the curse of sin, and that they are justified by a free gift of the Divine love in virtue of the Redemption.
The Patristic teaching is expressed in the words of St Augustine: "They can sell themselves but cannot redeem themselves."
The intrinsic reason for the absolute necessity of Redemption for fallen man lies, on the one hand, in the infinity of man's guilt, and on the other hand, in the absolute supernaturalness of the state of grace. As a deed of a creature, sin is indeed finite, but as insult to the Infinite God, it is infinite, and accordingly demands an atonement of infinite value. But a mere man cannot supply such an atonement.
I read that passage this morning during my hour in Adoration. It's from "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" by Dr. Ludwig Ott. While there is a thread in another Room dedicated to the book and what our understandings from it are, I wanted to share the inspiration I received from it with a wider audience than that thread receives, and thought this might be the place for it. I wish for comments and reactions.
The thought that struck me so deeply was that our actions have a greater ripple effect, a greater impact, than most of us often are conscious of. If I don't listen to or criticize the office receptionist and it hurts her, no doubt her hurt (which in her turns to anger) will influence how she treats guests who come to the office or call on the phone; they, in turn, can carry on whatever negative feelings created by her treatment to other places (snap at the kids, or talk badly about our business), and those people can react to those hurts by spreading ill on to other places....
In another thread last night, John posted a link to a video from a psychoanalyst discussing (as best as I can recall it without revisiting the link) how a mom was distressed over her infant's apparent rejection of her. It was discovered that Mom's actions with baby Cecil resulted from how Mom's mom acted with her, which was a negative way. Cecil's mom did not recognize the connection between the two behaviors until it was pointed out to her. Once she changed her behavior toward Cecil and made it something more positive, it had a positive effect on the infant, and he stopped rejecting his mother.
Half my lifetime ago, I worked in advertising and had a difficult customer. Everyone else in the office groaned when they saw him coming, and quickly got busy doing something else. He was grumpy, scowling, surly, etc. He grunted his words out and tossed his ad copy on the desk abruptly. Despite all this, I saw something in him (was I inspired?). Timid as I was back then (I was horribly shy), I made it my practice to treat him royally. I smiled at him as soon as he came in the door, making sure he knew I smiled because he was there and not because I was a grinning fool already smiling before he entered. I spoke warmly and pleasantly. I even kidded lightly with him. He stayed his surly self for the next several visits, but then, as I maintained my friendliness, I saw him begin to soften. Soon, when he came in to the office (he visited once or twice a week), he was smiling. He started being friendlier in his speech and manner. At first it was limited to his interactions toward me, but then it stretched to others in the office. And, as his advertising needs changed, his account went to another person in the office. So our interactions cut off. But I don't think his pleasant behavior stopped. Do you?
What more am I trying to convey? ...Yes, each of us has free will, to an extent, and we have choice for our long-term feelings and actions. I say "to an extent" because each of us has a personal blind spot (Johari's Window). There are things about ourselves that we can't see by ourselves--someone else has to point them out to us. We may do certain things or feel a certain way but we may not necessarily know WHY we do or feel that way (and, one way or another, the treatment we receive early on in life influences how we are later in life). If we are seeking to grow in holiness, in perfection, whatever you might want to call your journey to God, it behooves us to work on those blind spot issues with someone, as those spots most likely are negative qualities and are causing a ripple effect that we haven't yet realized. And don't we want more love, kindness and goodness in this world? And isn't it up to us to keep trying? Yes, we need God's help with that. More and more, I'm seeing Community built in to this existence. I can't see my blind spot if someone doesn't tell me about it. I have effect on others, good or ill, with just about anything I say or do. (This brings to mind my dead thread on "Idle Words.") Using some CM illustrations: how can a brusque, snide thread post influence CMers--not just the person it was directed to, but all the others who will read it? How can my ignoring someone's personal message affect him/her? While the other party has a choice whether to stay feeling bad if that's the effect, do I not also have the choice to choose my words as best I can to have the least hurtful effect? And I can't do much without God being in my life. ...I mentioned inspiration a couple of times. How often is God inspiring me (us) and I'm not paying attention? How often am I offending Him--either in direct relation to Him or indirectly through my behaviors with His children--that I don't realize?
To behave in the ways of the dimension of the Cross…This is the example our Dear Lord Jesus shows us how to behave, at least shows me. Our Lord was humble even to the point of dying as a criminal. He did also express, during his last dying breath, forgiveness for others. This is so profound to me….asking forgiveness for others who have offended Him….this is very difficult for me by my own accord, but with the grace of God, this is very possible. This is how He showed us to treat and greet others.
The rippling effect as I understand your comments is my reaction given to others and their reaction resulting from mine and subsequently projecting the same results to others. Yes, my reaction certainly plays a major role in the lives of people. I do have a long way to show goodness towards my enemies or to show goodness as a first sign to others. But this is very possible only by the grace of the Lord. Our Lord gave his initial good greetings to the Pharisees, and in return the Pharisees continue to ill treat Him. I would imagine that the Pharisees did not change their attitude nor converted to goodness. Perhaps, on a side perspective, it could be possible that after the death of our Lord, they might have converted. I do not know.
With the blind spot thought, I share your view…I am so blind of my defects and other things which affect my behavior and perceptions of others and of life. I am asking our dear Lord to help me. Many times, however, after the fact, I realized how selfish and prideful I am towards others. Realizing my weakness is a gift from God; and to be aware deeper of my blind spot is a gift from God. Many times in Confession, I repeatedly confessed the same offensives against my neighbor. Realizing how each word or act or omission offends others is a gift from God, to know Him deeper and to see how I offended Him through others. Lord have mercy on me, a poor sinner!!!!
Often times when others judge me, I usually, with a grain of salt, ponder on their judgments…especially if the judgment bears on my character or personality. Many times, also, I see that their judgments are worthy. This helps me to see my blind spot. I am far off towards this end…but my hope is in the Lord who has the power to change me in accordance with His will to make all people come to the image and likeness of Him.
I share your sentiments and appreciate very dearly your thoughts in this thread. May the favor of our dear Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.