So here I am, Lord. Talking to myself, practicing what I’d like to say to my priest about the on-going situation with my sister. I should probably be talking to you, Father. But we have talked, haven’t we, and I don’t feel much clearer about what to do.
All this was prompted by this morning’s readings in Matthew 5 where Jesus says we cannot be in communion with You, if we are holding anger in our hearts for our brothers (or sisters or friends or others, presumably).
You know my heart, Lord. You must know that I don’t hold any ill feelings at all for her. If anything, I empathize with her and her beliefs. We were raised by the same parents who passed on very conflicted and, in the end, wrong-headed views of You and the beauty of Your kingdom. It’s not been easy finding my way to You, but I feel as though You’ve finally led me to the right path. Don’t You, Father?
So how do we do this, Lord? How do we help a loved one to know You? A loved one who resists with such vehemence and denial?
I guess this recognition resolves the issue of whether I am holding anger in my heart for her, preempting my ability to have communion with You. I’m not.
I love her and wish her every happiness and joy. But isn’t there something, anything, You would have me do to melt the frozen wall separating us from speaking to one another?
Much of this desire is selfish, Father. I miss her and our conversations, no matter how stilted they have become as we both avoid the growing number of subjects that have become off-limits. Another part is probably guilt or at least the sense that I should feel guilty — the feeling that there must be something I can or should be doing to restore our relationship. Yet, what?
I can’t just call her and say, ‘oh, sorry, I didn’t mean it. I don’t really believe all those things about God and Christ.’ Yet, we both know from previous times that she (and so many others who know my desire for You) delights in hearing me use foul language or rail with abandon against some perceived injustice (whatever it might be…corporations, government, the church, educators, polluters, little old ladies in purple hats…sorry, Father. Not really.)
The point is when I let down my defenses against the “thorns and snares of the devil,” allowing the evil one to take hold of my tongue, others, who do not confess belief in You, delight in welcoming my return to their fold. To them, I’ve been normalized again. To me, I’ve been stained again with the corruption of the common and fallen. It’s been too easy for me — a sinner — to revert to old habits. Whenever I do, the devil and all who have (wittingly or unwittingly) chosen him dance and cheer in delight.
How can I walk with You in Your light, precious Lord,
How can I share Your wondrous beauty,
Allow Your luminous light to shine through me on others,
If I can’t, in their presence, hold on to the creature I am in You?
Well, the answer is, I can’t, can I, without the aid of Your Holy Spirit? Strengthen Your Holy Spirit within me, I pray, Lord, and help me to be the person You’re calling me to be.
So I pray.
I pray, Father, that You call my sister to You;
bless her with Your tender mercy and goodness;
and soften her heart that she might hear Your ‘still, small voice.’
Send her a friend, an angel, Lord,
who might help her see and hear and understand.
And, if it is Your will, Holy Father,
I pray that one day she and I might be united in our love for You,
not to just care for one another as we used to do, have always done,
but to love one another as sisters in Your holy family.