PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 1 (continued)



The paradox being tackled in the initial pages is the seeming conflict between big sins and small sins. Why is it that big-time conversions seem easy compared with small-time ones? 

At first I was taken aback; I had to pause to consider what the paradoxical passage meant. But as I went along throughout my day, Ash Wednesday, the statement struck me as containing truth. I was convinced that big-ticket conversion may have a spectacular backstory, but indeed proves to be easier in the long run compared to the little day to day conversions necessary for someone to be adequately called a Christian.

I say this as a beneficiary of about three years of counseling, the wonderful process of which I haven’t yet shaken off my system. This is because the lessons I had learned from working with mentors continue to be helpful in rooting out hidden sins, especially sins born of unresolved issues of the past. 

For example, there were many times when I didn’t even know I resented/got angry with/looked down on somebody in my distant past, until a particularly stressful event forced me to consider where the negativity was coming from. In such times, and with my memory properly jogged, the synapses (or neural connections?) in my brain suddenly connect the dots, connecting the past to the present, particularly to how I continue to resent, get angry with, or look down on someone in the present.

What joy when little realizations like this do come! I am always brought to tears of gratitude because I know what will come right after, like a reflex reaction: acknowledgment of the past, acceptance of what happened, forgiveness for the situation and persons involved, including myself, and thus liberation.

Incredibly, for the little hidden sin to be rooted out, it took me years, even decades to root out. Little sins are not little, in retrospect.  Paradox.

To be really, really honest, I am surprised at how much hidden sins I have, and have had, considering all the things I have rooted out. And I feel that I still have a long way to go. At my most pessimistic, I sometimes feel like someone possessed by a legion of demons. At my most happy-clappy, I am just so thankful I have discovered these sins at all. It's a lot easier to live and die in the 'bliss' of ignorance. And far easier indeed is the 180-degree turnaround from the more obvious, more serious, because mortal, sins (killing, at least by words, stealing, and the like).

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