Monday, March 13, 2006

A Victim Soul Must Be Without Guile

Who will climb the holy mountain? Who shall be admitted to the Lord's tent?

He who walks without guile.
And other things, too. He who acts justly, speaks truth from his heart, does not slander, does not wrong to his brother nor casts slur upon neighbor. He who holds the godless in disdain (yes, think on this one)--but honors those who fear the Lord. He who keeps his pledge come what may, who takes no interest on a loan (oh yea...), and accepts no bribes against the innocent.

Such a victim soul will stand firm forever.

Today's gospel talks about God's mercy and that we should have that kind of mercy. What we measure out will be measured out against us. The first homily I heard got to my gut. It upset me. I am sure I am filled with pride, guile, and all kinds of bad stuff--wrong-doing, slander. Who knows what the truth is about my heart? It is so hard to tell.

A second confession within 18 hours left me with the advice to ask God for wisdom to see my heart clearly, to ask for this in the quiet of prayer.

What is guile? It is "sly or cunning intelligence." The definition refers also to the word "wile." What is wile? It is "devious or cunning strategems employed in manipulating or persuading someone to do what one wants."

The second confessor suggested that what we perceive in others is what we perceive in ourselves. Yes, I am aware of this. We hit upon this in the doctoral psychology classes and in clinical hypnotherapy classes.

The confessor last night told me that if another uses guile (or wile) in dealings with others, the only concern one should have is to deal with it appropriately if it is being done to oneself. In other words, do not allow oneself to be manipulated.

Of course, guile affects more than the person who practices it upon another. The guile kicks back on others secondarily involved. The reaction of the secondary recipients is critical. The secondary recipients must not complain or try to defend themselves. It is hopeless really.

If one person is upset, and upsets another, then that other expresses the upset with yet another; then the third other can blame the first for upsetting the second, regardless of if the second is that upset or not. Who knows? Maybe at the moment there was upset. Or maybe there is guile involved. Or maybe not. But the results go 'round and 'round.

A victim soul must be without guile because all must be very directly hit upon. There can be no cunning, no manipulations of a negative consequence. Truth, unabashed honesty, sincerity--as best one can. It is so hard to know.

I began to weep this morning. It was quite humbling last night, too. I deserve it all. I deserve being misunderstood, doubted, my sincerity questioned, my pride brought into question, my humility brought into question, my motives brought into question, my prudence and actions brought into question. There is no use in trying to explain or defend why one does what one does, for what reasons.

It can appear all kinds of ways, and if one approaches another with any hint of guile, and emotions can hide guile, the mix is messy. Sympathy is evoked where sympathy was culled. It is so difficult to know that one is doing this. Even if I say I am not asking for sympathy, even if I say that I am not weeping for sympathy--the deep recesses might be gilt with a layer of guile. It is so hard to know for sure, or to recognize guile.

If one says up front that one does not want sympathy, and if to the best of one's knowledge no sympathy is wanted, then this is at least an effort against guile. Humility is best in burning off layers of guile.

I am going to try to memorize the Litany of Humility. Additional lines may be added for individual circumstances. For example, I added one about doing more difficult prep work so that others may enjoy the more fun finishing work; Jesus grant me the grace to desire it. Even that can become confused if one begins to love the more difficult prep work.

My daughter pointed out to me that crying isn't bad. No, it isn't the crying, the weeping that is a problem. It is just the reasons for or against weeping, and motives are integral to determining guile's presence or absence.

A victim soul is called to suffer. Being wrongly thought of, being concerned for the presence of guile, knowing that one doesn't know for sure if one is filled with pride and layered in guile, and setting up roadblocks against it which may seem extreme: these are considerations for a victim soul.

One must think it through, pray it through, and develop personalized guards against guile.

Someone asked me if I was saying thoughts about this topic in more general terms was for that person or for me. I thought it was for me. Maybe it wasn't. Or maybe for both. Maybe I was perceiving something in myself that I didn't want to be a trap for the other, or maybe I was perceiving guile that was a reflection of my own. Or, at minimum, a fear that I was acting with guile.

A victim soul must pay close attention to what is within, what are the interior motives of self and address those. The lecture must be given to oneself, as this is the way of a victim soul. A victim soul must embrace criticism, misunderstanding, and rid out guile with veracity and violence. Yes, do violence against guile.


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