Monday, December 31, 2007

The Suffering of Meanness

The sun is pleasant today. I am trying to ponder how Jesus managed people who didn't like Him. At one point He says to take back your peace and move on to the next town. Obviously, I cannot move from one who erupted in envy and meanness. But, does it mean to stay out of her way, to move on within my soul, to remain recollected and be as if moved on to the next town in spirit? In other places, He seems to have been rather oblivious, or at least put on the appearance of total recollectedness, of being one-Minded in focus, and remained in goodness as He is perfect.

Today I am going to write about the suffering of meanness. It is a suffering for those who are the recipients but also very much a suffering of the mean soul itself. What causes meanness? It is some kind of lack, like any sickness. Something inside is not at peace and suffers, and the vices then fester like infections.

It isn't the way the words were spoken and the actual words (and if the couple had not been walking on and my hearing her say to the person she was speaking with, that they had to leave, I would not have said, "Excuse me..." and then given her the compliement, which now I realize only aggravated the devil all the more in her. Yes, it is the devil who is in these vices and uses the vices to try to disrupt others and to take over the very soul of the person who is struggling with the vice itself. The person perhaps has a personality disorder in the great need to control and to feel important, to try to act so sweet to others and to the priests, yet to snarl like a mean black dog to someone who for whatever reasons, is disliked. It is the essence of others who aggravate. It was Jesus' essence which bothered people, and that is evidently what bothers people today, about other people. It is not a matter of the targeted person being one thing or another as in looks, activities, words, roles: It is essence. Don't you think?

The challenge is to glorify God through this situation, and I tried with a compliment to the mean woman and her quiet but complicit husband, but now I will pray about how to turn a negative into a positive for the Lord, besides Jesus' advice to pray for our enemies. In prayer for the couple, and then to ponder how Jesus existed in millions of encounters (and mine but one small situation!). The pondering of how Jesus acted and responded is a way of glorifying God, for it turns the entire soul toward God which glorifies Him in that effort. Then in pondering God, the soul does not notice the meanness of others but only notices the others who are goodness and whose souls love the Lord and bring light to the world through their love. Yes, I must train my soul to not notice darkness in souls, to be oblivious to dark souls and rather to turn to the light in the many souls who are goodness and light!

Perhaps, mean people are thus very good to us in that they help us to ponder how we can turn evil to good and thus glorify God in that turning to Him Who Is Goodness and Light. The mean person then becomes a gift in a way, and a means of helping the striving soul to seek God and turn from evil.

The meanness is a dark cloak of the devil, and it works against a striving soul when that soul is stunned or gives up what it was doing or how it was being, or hides its very essence of loving the Lord and striving to walk up the holy mountain. The devil would like for the striving soul to stumble back down the mountain or to hide in a cave and not come out. Perhaps one can rest in a cave along the mountain climb, to rest and pray, yes; but then one must step out and keep climbing. In the climb, the soul must train itself by the means of God's graces, of the Word of God, and of the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church. The training is that of remaining recollected within the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to not be wounded by the piercings from the lances of this world, and of mean people who hold those lances and stab any chance the devil opens to them. And it seems the devil opens most often to mean people, the occurrences of simple kindness being offered them. That makes the meanness all the more a suffering, not only for the person receiving the meanness, but truly more so, for the person infected with meanness.

It is truly a suffering, to be mean. Some are mean often or have a nasty disposition. Others, like the soul in the example, are mean selecdtively, and try to be mean in order to get the person who stands in the way of what they want and desire (in the case, what is it--territory, to be important in the eyes of others--especially in the Church?). The meanness then erupts in a way so as to make the suffering person in meanness, to be absolutely ridiculous, particularly if older than two or three years of age! Yes, to go along and not look when kindly greeted, to grimace in anger and huff, to lash out in dark words and snappy tone when given a kind word, to make comments loudly in resentment--can't the mean person see how foolish and visible their meanness is?

No! The devil cloaks his darkness all about the soul suffering from meanness. It veritably suffocates this soul and causes great suffering, even if that soul does not recognize it is suffering sorely from meanness. For to recognize the infection would mean to admit the envy or pride or neediness from its own insecurity, and this demonstrates a lack of holiness which is exactly what the mean person desires, truly, for all souls were created to glorify God and inherently desire the holiness with which to glorify Him.

Seeing the suffering of meanness for what it is, the recipients of a mean person can then have much compassion for the ill person. It is not then an enemy for which one prays, but a person suffering; and the enemy is but the devil, as that truly is the only enemy, when one unswirls the cape from any given negative. Always behind something bad is the devil sneering.

And sneering was the very tone and intent of the person who spoke in such meanness in the aisle of the Cathedral. What a seeming victory for the devil to utilize a most holy environment, and to incite a soul to meanness over envy of ecclesial tasks--small, silent, lay volunteer tasks.

Oh how the recipient of the meanness would love to simply withdraw from the tasks, but the greater glorification of God is not in the tasks but rather in the soul praying for the other but more so learning to remain recollected, to remain as a genderless soul in nothingness, nesting within the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From within His Heart, one learns to view those all about shimmering in the Light; and one learns to walk on to the next town of goodness and love, and away from noticing the souls that are at death's door of darkness.

Love them to health through prayer and through the essence of peace and joy, but not with contact. Do not speak to the devil in them; the devil only bites back. Do not in pride think you can please them either by giving what they want (your very annihilation!) or in correcting them or in jollying them into better spirit. Pray and fast for them and all who suffer in meanness. Rejoice for those who suffer from meanness of others, for this is a beatitude of union with the Sacred Heart. In silent love, let the essence of Christ's peace and joy and Light permeate your own soul, and remain meek and humble of heart within His Heart Who Is Love.


Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

I have suffered such and have doled it out to others, too. Mostly my husband gets the brunt of me when I'm most unkind or even "mean" in short, irritableness. Why is it that his idiosyncracies bother me so much at times and others not? Why are we (or me) more kind and gentle to others, and not so kind to ones we love? Is it because they are just around us all the time? Does familiarity breed contempt at times? I don't want to be a hypocrite and I don't like it when I sound mean or am unkind or impatient with him. He's suffered me for 32 years now. When will I become more like the person I long to be for God? I feel like I fail so much. But I keep going to Mass and praying...and hope that grace and the Eucharist and confession will one day prove positive results in me, for his sake at least.

PAX and Blessed New Year.

3:08 PM  
Blogger zenith said...

Dear Joyful, I am going to really pray tonight about what you express, for you bring up rich thoughts and questions that relate to all us suffering sinners striving for holiness! And why do we strive for holiness? It is to glorify God, for when we are more holy, that all the more better glorifies God.

Today I found out that my neighbor put a horrendous story in the newspaper, identifying all but my name, and expressing a heart-rending tale of my having hanged their cat. Well, there is more, but I have written mostly about the issues on the complete hermit blog. But it relates, for we must learn (and be trained) to immediately examine ourselves and ask, "In what way can I glorify God through this situation or person?" Even if it is a negative, God has allowed it as part of creation in order to assist us to glorify Him. All that God creates which includes experiences, people, weather, animals, words, thoughts, actions--all are created in order to assist us to glorify Him better and better. This means that your relationship in marriage is created, and all the experiences and words and thoughts and idiosyncracies are created so as to assist you in glorifying God. When your soul glorifies God, then the love that consumes like a burning fire, helps perfect your soul--and your more perfect soul glorifies God all the more and then more love....

I guess I am writing a kind of reflection or response now. Anyway, you ARE now becoming more the person you long to be for God! And you will all the more when you start to train yourself in every incident, every word, every thought, and even in every irritability, to use it all to glorify God. I am finding that much of it is done through prayer. Praying for souls does bring glory to God for you are bringing a soul to God, and that in itself glorifies Him. You are bringing that soul before Him in your heart, and you are also bringing your own soul to Him at the same time.

We must bring our mean-time souls, too. And just noting when we are mean allows us to alter our voices, soften our thoughts, and resolve to use other words or glances. The other night when trying to resolve a consumer complaint and issue, I found my voice sounding rather tight, and then and there softened it, even though I knew I was having to accept what was not accurate. So then I asked how I could glorify God in this situation, and it was to use the books that I was not being charged quite properly for, and to simply let them be shipped, and to gift them as I had intended anonymously for our seminarians. The thoughts of these young men maybe reading even a page or two of the excellent books made me think God might be glorified; and if they don't read them, then someone else might, and God would be glorified. The phone rep relaxed loads when I changed my tone of voice and simply gave in over what is not catastrophic--as God can be glorified by the books even if not charged quite right monetarily.

I am praying very much for my neighbors, as this issue has been on-going, and now another neighbor (unidentified)left a hate note on the porch with the notice in the newspaper. So now I can glorify God by praying for this unknown person but a soul, and in prayer we can become so intimately involved with other souls, without their knowing, but still present them to God in love, which glorifies God. The good it does for our souls is that it turns all negatives to good and also glorifies God. The fruit seems to be peace, joy, longanimity--equanimity in the midst of trials and suffering, plus all the othe fruit of the spirit. I am just working on this, in training, and I tell you it is rather miraculous! Try it! Please help me glorify God by praying for my neighbors and this other neighbor who read the libelous article, and I will glorify God the best I can by praying for you and your shortness with your husband, and will bring both of you to God to glorify Him!

7:35 PM  
Blogger Chez Moi said...

Thank you for sharing this. I suffered an attack by someone last night and then woke up this morning and read your writing. The prayers and thoughts that you shared help settle my spirit and bring me much comfort.

Again, I thank you and I will be praying for you and your neighbors.

4:50 AM  
Blogger zenith said...

Dear Chez Moi, Dear God in Heaven! Sometimes it feels like it is just ourselves who have these attacks--or that maybe we are imagining things. But, as my confessor said last night in passing when I told him that God was sending the penances He knew best for me, and that the neighbor situation had now involved others--he said, "It is just the world, just the world, and that is how the world is."

When I was rather laughing at the situation, for there is somehow joy in an odd way--the joy that there is still peace inside me because the focus now is on figuring out how to glorify God with my own faults but also in negative or positive circumstances with others--I realized that perhaps prayers are more glorifying to God, also, when not consumed with the sad and pathetic aspects of how people can be so mean, but rather with the hope and the confidence that our bringing all to God as a valid means of glorifying Him.

In the solitude here, I am blessed with knowing you are out there, and that we are all in this together, learning, growing, and striving to glorify God in and through sufferings of all kinds. Not only does it unite us with Christ, but in Him, with each other. I will be praying for you at 11 a.m. Mass and also for the person who attacked you. Thanks for your prayers!

6:27 AM  

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