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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Thoughts on Despair

During the week of Holy Week, some people feel sorry for Judas. I suppose we can feel sadness on the loss of a soul, but we should not mourn over those who have chosen to go against the truth which is in their hearts and minds and which they can choose.

I quote the Pope Emeritus on this point. “Those who despair do not pray because they have lost hope: those who are sure of themselves and their own power do not pray because they rely on themselves."

He also writes that, “All out anxieties are ultimately fear of losing love and of the total isolation that follows from this.”  All despair is a rejection of love.  The Pope Emeritus notes that “This fulfilled totality of being to which faith provides the key is love without reserve—a love that is an immense affirmation of my existence, and that discloses the fullness of all being to me in its breadth and depth.”

This person who is open to love has no boundaries or ends, states the Pope Emeritus. The purgation of the soul, may I add, removes these boundaries. He writes that “despair is thus the conviction that one has forfeited all love forever, the horror of complete isolation.”

Those who know my testimony know how close I was to suicide in 1971. God saved me from the final act of despair, the rejection of self.

Hope brings love and love ‘becomes visible in the mirror of hope”. What gave me hope was the truth of the Catholic teaching on repentance and sacramental confession, and facing the evil of sin in my life.

Despair is a common cause of death in our society. One wonders how culpable many who despair are, when these have not been loved, or have been abused.

But, the truth is that God’s Love is greater than any horrible thing which can happen to us, even great than our own bad choices.

That Judas lived, ate, traveled with Christ for three years and then rejected Christ’s perfect love indicates a turning of the heart and mind against God. The Pope Emeritus quotes St. Thomas Aquinas that accidie is the main cause for despair. This may be defined as a grief caused by the world, an overwhelming of inertia. I have written on this before in the perfection series. And what I experience as a youth was that inertia caused by sin.

When one loses hope, one closes one’s self to love. I have loved people who have turned their back against love and chosen either fear or a Pharisaical set of rules which they think will get them to heaven. If they just abide by these outward exercises, they will be saved, which shrinks the heart.

Pope Emeritus writes about this as well and I have seen this evil in some TLM groups, where rules replace love to the point that there are no real relationships.

I have prayed for years to die in the vocation to which God has called me. I believe this will happen. I also believe I shall return to Europe and live out my life there. Why do I believe and continue to pray? Hope. But, my hope springs out of love, love for the Christ, the Bridegroom, Who has taught me how to love Him and others in good times and in bad.

Such is the virtue of constancy which transcends the daily grind and the lack of answers to the impatience mind.

The Pope Emeritus writes that those who have a greatness of soul, those who have gratitude for the love which God gives, have magnanimitas. This is a gift, but it is also a result of the purgation and Dark Night of the senses and the soul.

One’s soul is purged of pettiness, of sloth, of despair, and as one turns one’s mind and will towards God, He comes in love.

Judas did not do this. He persisted in a egotism, returning again and again to his own flawed wisdom, his own pride, perhaps his predominant fault not touched by the grace of God which he experienced daily.

This past week, a fourteen year old girl committed suicide. She was beautiful. We do not know the reasons, but perhaps she did not know the love of God in her life, or could not respond to the love when it was offered. She may have been bullied to a point of deep, deep sadness with no one to take her to the only source of life, Christ. Too many young people grow up in isolation, unlove, even hatred. They cannot experience love in the core of their being. I know well another person like this for whom I pray daily. We do not know the tragedy of their lives. This young girl and even others were not a betrayers of Christ, but somewhere, there may have been a betrayal they experienced. Pray for her and others who turn into the culture of death for a respite of their suffering, because they do not know Christ’s love.

 Those who have less culpability may be prayed for, but Christ called Judas the son of perdition. He chose damnation. His hatred and rage led him to the “dominion of death”.

Some die as victims, some as perpetrators. But, do not make excuses for those who turn against love after having experienced it or after having been given the opportunity to experience it.

I beg all those caught in inertia, in accidie, in apathy, to turn to love, even now, no matter how old.

Do not choose to be alone in the darkness of despair. Choose life. Pieper’s phrase “lethargic sorrow”, quoted by the Pope Emeritus, leads to the Catholic giving up on those around them and on the world.

I shall not give up, with God’s grace. The perfection series of 600 plus posts was written with the love of God in mind. Do not turn your back on love.

There is a magnificent carving in the British Museum from the Middle Ages showing Judas hanging almost in complete juxaposition with Christ on the Cross.

This is our daily choice-to choose for Christ and His Love, to believe in His words.

This is our Faith.

To be continued....