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Monday, 15 September 2014

On The Sin of Anxiety

1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

  Luke 12:4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell, yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

And from Philippians 4:

  6 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.

For years, when I went to confession, I would tell the priest I was confessing the sin of anxiety. All said it was not a sin, but I knew my Scripture and the teaching of the Church concerning trusting in God and believing in Divine Providence. I knew I was sinning.

Finally, I met a priest who understood that anxiety, (unless caused by something physical), is indeed a sin. Then, I began to work on this sin in my life. God bless that good and holy priest.

I discovered several things. 
thanks to wiki commons

One, anxiety is an insult to God. St. Teresa of Avila states this plainly. She also has much to say about trust. Trust is obeying the First Commandment.

 “Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.” 

It is an insult not to trust because God takes care of all our needs. He is God.

Two, from all eternity, God knew you would be sitting right now at your computer reading this, with all your problems, concerns, sins. He does not ignore anything in your life.

Three, troubles, sufferings, pain, etc. are allowed by God in His Permissive Will. He allows these for our purification.

Again from St. Teresa:

Consider carefully, daughters, these few things that have been set down here, though they are in rather a jumbled state, for I cannot explain them better; the Lord will make them clear to you, so that these period of aridity may teach you to be humble, and not make you restless, which is the aim of the devil. Be sure that, where there is true humility, even if God never grants the soul favors, He will give it peace and resignation to His will, with which it may be more content than others are with favors. For often, as you have read, it is to the weakest that His Divine Majesty gives favors, which I believe they would not exchange for all the fortitude given to those who go forward in aridity. We are fonder for spiritual sweetness than of crosses. Test us, O Lord, Thou Who knowest all truth, that we may know ourselves. 

thanks to wiki

Four, pride is the sin underlying anxiety as the priest told me. We want to be in control and not let God be God. Therefore, we let ourselves stew on things and worry. Again, trust is the response of the humble heart to the First Commandment. Humility is the virtue to combat anxiety.
Five, anxiety as a lack of trust, interferes with our relationship with God, of course. Can you imagine a love relationship between two people wherein one does not trust the other? That lack of trust would destroy the friendship or marriage. So, too, anxiety chips away at our relationship with God.

Six, anxiety may be a result of unresolved sins, especially the presence of the predominant faults. We sense we are not in the right place and begin to worry instead of facing the problem of purification. Some people are afraid to face sin in their lives and guilt turns into anxiety.

I was so relieved when I finally found that priest who spoke the truth about the sin of anxiety. It is the plague of Americans, who want everything to be "just so". Those who are use to being in control of situations panic in old age when they can no longer control their bodies. Learning to trust in God early is a great spiritual lesson which will continue all of our lives. Learning to rely on Divine Providence will be essential for the remnant.