Restless Hearts

Anger

To be angry with God means to realize at the deepest level, a place that is both physical and emotional at the same time, that the world is broken and not as it should be. Anger at God is protest against suffering. That suffering can be caused by social inequity and structural injustice, but it is also caused by personal losses, physical pain, and the reality of death, our own and that of others—this cruelty built into the human condition. To be angry at God, not in theory or idea, but in the body—the anger that rises up from the solar plexus and out through the arms and legs and mouth—is to pray, for it is to lay bare, in the most intimate way, the wounds of life felt deep in the body itself, to expose them as though open to the sun, to expose the deepest part of the self to God, that unknowable Other who lurks in wheat fields on the sun-baked high plains of Spain.

– Kerry Egan, from Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal of the Camino de Santiago

Love

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for: The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.

– Catechism of the Catholic Church #27

Forgiveness

Pat Gohn:

One little word in The Lord’s Prayer, plus a few paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church,became catalysts for my deeper conversion. By God’s grace, I have found release and have better-learned to let go.

And I’m talking about forgiveness in areas of life-long hurt, as well as the petty annoying trespasses that come our way.

Observe the little word in the line of the Lord’s Prayer that gets to the heart of it all: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

This petition is astonishing. If it consisted only of the first phrase, “And forgive us our trespasses,” it might have been included, implicitly, in the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, since Christ’s sacrifice is “that sins may be forgiven.” But, according to the second phrase, our petition will not be heard unless we have first met a strict requirement. Our petition looks to the future, but our response must come first, for the two parts are joined by the single word “as.”

– Catechism of the Catholic Church #2838

That little word is AS-tonishing! No getting around it. It’s the stickler, the caveat, the tipping point, for the truth of this teaching. How many times have I asked God’s forgiveness for something, when I really had no clue that I was to extend it to others first? Often, I just rattled off the words of prayer, not paying attention to what they meant.

“Some impulses like the desire to love—and pray—are imbedded in the human heart by a higher being.”

– Lorraine V. Murray, from Confessions of an Ex-Feminist

You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your power and your wisdom is without measure. And man, so small a part of your creation, wants to praise you: this man, though clothed with mortality and bearing the evidence of sin and the proof that you withstand the proud. Despite everything, man, though but a small a part of your creation, wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

– St. Augustine, Confessions

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