Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Mocking Voices of Doubt and Despair

When I hear the word evil, an image immediately comes to mind of a dark, formless hulking figure intent on destruction.  Sometimes, though, evil doesn't  manifest itself that way. Sometimes, evil comes at you from places where you least expect it and because of this, you could be fooled into thinking that it is you who are evil.

Evil is not always a boogie-man waiting to leap at us from a dark corner.  Sometimes, evil arrives with a smile on its face and a kind word meant to distract while the knife is plunged between your shoulder blades.  The bigger the smile, the harder the force with which the knife is aimed.  Sometimes, that evil even has the nerve to call itself a Catholic, and in the name of defending the "values" of the faith, it will come at you with such force you are left breathless.

At some point in my life, I hope that I learn not to retreat in the face of such attacks. I'm not there yet.  My first reaction is to recoil and go running in shame, wondering how I can have the nerve to think I'm a good person with honest motives rooted in the love of Christ.  Maybe it's part of my over scrupulosity.  I don't know.  But I really need to overcome this because that old demon, despair, is looking to get back in to the clean-swept house, and he'll do anything to gain entry.  Hard to believe that it would be another so-called Catholic who would attempt to afford him entry, but there it is, in so many ways.

Today, it came in the form of a co-worker who is, behind my back, "counseling" one of my problem employees.  He attempted to characterize my struggle to hold this person accountable (lest she find herself unemployed) as decidedly unCatholic.  I asked this person to consider my premise that while we can turn the other cheek, we also have a responsibility not to aid and abet those intent to keep on the wrong path.  It's not fair to the co-workers who have to pick up the slack for this person, who has no desire to change, and we're certainly not demonstrating true Catholic charity by offering the necessary correction.

That demon comes in other forms, too.

1. The priest who tells me to mind my business when I ask him to speak to a brand-new priest who is not purifying the chalice after Holy Communion.

2. The staff member who questions my Christianity because I insist that she carry her fair share of the workload.  Her beleaguered co-workers would beg to differ with her and they expect me, as their superior, to hold her accountable.

3. The unbeliever who twists your words and tries to make you question your worth as a Catholic

4. The priest who questions my Christianity when I voice concern about giving a Catholic award to a person blatantly living in contempt of the church's moral teachings.

I should have seen this coming.  It always happens after a time of intense union with Christ and the inner joy that comes with frequent reception of the sacraments and commitment to prayer.

One of these days, I'll learn.


  1. I was praying for you today--now I know why! I'll keep on--+JMJ+

  2. Thank you! It was a bad day all around in a lot of ways but - it could have been much worse! Keep up the good work and thanks, friend :)

  3. Dear Joyce, you really have been having a rough week! I am so sorry.

    It's so true that this kind of thing so often happens after a retreat, or special novena or extended period of adoration or a pilgrimage (!)

    It seems the devil is determined to try to steal the extra peace and joy we've gained, and throw us into confusion and despair.

    You might try keeping some holy water nearby, or some other sacramentals. St. Teresa of Jesus went through a lot of holy water : )

    Take care, dear Joyce...extra prayers for you tonight.

    Blessings and prayers,

  4. Sometimes after reading about just ONE DAY in your life, Joyce, I want to lay down and take a nap. It seems very exhausting to be you. You must be a very strong person, or maybe Someone is helping you be so.
    Hang in there, sweetie.

  5. Thank you Patricia, you'd think that in Catholic hospital where the Blessed Sacrament is ever present, holy water wouldn't be needed but, there it is. I so appreciate your love and prayers.

    Julie, you are so sweet. I think I have to give some serious thought to whether I can continue to do what I do for very much longer. It is exhausting sometimes and I seem to have a knack for picking out the most challenging jobs. Like my dad used to say and still does, it builds character. And you can bet the only reason I get through is because I call on Jesus constantly and He does not abandon me.

    I love you both

  6. 'Evil is not always a boogie-man waiting to leap at us from a dark corner. Sometimes, evil arrives with a smile on its face and a kind word meant to distract while the knife is plunged between your shoulder blades.'

    This is so true Joyce.. I think this may be the most evil kind of boogie-man..At least the other kind shows his face. This kind is like a Judas
    "betrayed with a kiss' sort.

    Every time I read one of your posts like this I think of how Benedictine you are in 'conversatio'...always moving toward conversion.
    No wonder the Lord loves you so much.

    Blessings and +PAX, C

  7. Thank you Caroline, yours are comforting words after a difficult week. If only I could embrace uninvited guests, I might be a Benedictine. There's always hope, fueled by lots and lots of prayer.

  8. Most upsetting to me to hear about the priests....

  9. Yes, Allison, those priests need a lot of prayers. It's like having a bucket of cold water thrown in your face to hear a priest speak to you like that, especially when he was approached with the utmost respect.


Comments which reflect true Christian charity are always welcome. Comments which attack the Pope, the Church, priests or other bloggers will go in the dustbin, especially if they are anonymous. Thank you and God Bless you!