By: Natalie Plumb
Books were open and in all different directions. Pens were scribbling down words of wisdom. Wisps of hair were falling out of place and a pin drop could be heard but for the sole voice speaking.
Our faces were attentive. Each woman was grasping for something to take home with her. Some token of advice to build up her body armor against the one who tries to attack God’s will.
The table was too small and our chairs were squished one next to the other, but all the more fitting. It was an intimate moment, full of discussion of none other than Lucifer and the times he tries to enter each of our lives in incredibly subtle but poisonous ways.
Giving our “confessions” – this was at a Bible study, by the way – meant fessing up. Confessions require humility. Not only do they require complete honesty with yourself, but complete trust that everyone around you is good people. And listeners, too, have to have complete respect for any woman making (what was perhaps for the first time in her life) a public declaration of power over her habitual sin.
A few remarkable things happened.
Christ spoke through the women who confessed, yes. But Christ seemed to speak even more through the women who spoke in response. Every sin was stabbed where it hurt; every woman was encouraged and given concrete advice; the spirit in the room was one of complete joy, not despair.
Later, it was wholly asked of us: “What do you need in order to conquer [this] sin in your life?”
A few of us joked – and I admittedly started it, despite the people-person that I am – that what I needed was for so-and-so to be out of our lives, and on another continent. That neighbor was too nosy or this cousin was he-can’t-possibly-be-related-to-me off his rocker. Then our obstacles would literally be removed.
This is the worst thing a Christian could ever say (even if it was a joke). But we all often wish this exact thing, don’t we? Some wish it every day with their mothers or their fathers or their children.
After I started that nonsense of a remark, I got this beautiful, holistic response from a holy woman of good humor and taste: “Swat away those thoughts. If you have a bad thought, just swat ‘em. I literally take my hand and swat. Do it. Do it now.”
We all began swatting the air above our heads.
It felt incredible.
Negative thoughts that enter our heads, even if only for a few minutes in a day, have almost immediate consequences. These thoughts affect your physical appearance, your mental health, your stress level… It’s just not worth it. It truly isn’t. Do yourself a favor and swat.
Do yourself a favor and swat.
Last week I talked about how much I love receiving Christ in the Eucharist. This week I will add: The reason the Eucharist is there at all, the reason Christ would rather die on a cross than spend eternity without you, the reason for this universe, the end goal… Unity. One Body.
We will all be united in Heaven again someday. Jesus offers us Himself so that we might receive each other more fully.
Each of us, uniquely and specifically, fulfills a divine role in this (potential) road to Heaven called life. Each of us plays that part as a part of the Body of Christ. His fingers, His hands, His heart, His eyelashes… You name it.
Don’t do what I did and think bad thoughts about so-and-so and about how your life would just be so much easier without him or her. They are a blessing. They are in your life for a reason and a purpose. The reason and the purpose is probably to whip you into a more patient self. I know I sure need to work on that. Honestly, the reason that person you can’t stand is in your life at all is to make you a saint.
The reason that person you can’t stand is in your life at all is to make you a saint.
Some parts – some people in your life – feel unnecessary. But they are. In fact, each and every second, your interaction with them, and their interaction with you, is moving each of you either closer to, or farther from, the gates of Heaven.
All this talk about the Eucharist… Next week I’ll discuss the three things you must at least do as a Catholic in order to prepare to receive the Eucharist.
Natalie writes on Thursdays about faith, dating, relationships, and the in between. May her non-fiction stories and scenarios challenge you. May they help you laugh, cry, think and wonder.