St. Dominic Savio and I have a complicated relationship. I learned about him from Z., a luminous, vivacious, and wounded woman with a mystical bent who was my fourth-grade teacher (in a sort of a homeschool co-op thing) and my confirmation sponsor. My older brother Caleb tells me I was so taken with St. Dominic that, whenever I was doing something he didn’t like, all had to say was “You know, I bet DOMINIC SAVIO would let me have the last of the potato chips” and I’d get all shamefaced and hand them over.

So that’s why Dominic Savio is my confirmation name. I confess to having a sort of grudge against him now, something I’ve never quite dealt with. The grudge is because he was such a good boy, and so was I. The problem is that my goodness at the time was more neurotic than genuine, more out of fear than out of love; or so it seems to me now. Was it really? Can you be a good boy without being a prissy one? Does all goodness begin in a kind of hypocrisy?

Whenever I compare my adolescence with those of others — great way to send myself into an emotional tailspin, NOT RECOMMENDED — I’m always struck by how much more drinking, pot-smoking, vandalism, fighting, and general screwing around everybody else seems to have done. It’s not that my adolescence wasn’t filled with vice; it’s just that my vices seem to have been so much less badass than they should have been.1

Dominic Savio didn’t hold with poop jokes or dick jokes — two things that, from time immemorial, young men have used as the basis, or at least the beginning, of friendship. So I can’t help blaming St. Dominic for my own prudishness at that age. If I had been less devoted to him, would I have been less standoffish and therefore less lonely? If I had been less conscientious, would I also be less neurotic? Was St. Dominic really as prudish as I was, or was that his biographers fell prey to the tendency towards idealisation that obscures the humanity of so many of the saints?

Or was it only that I couldn’t distinguish between prudishness and chastity, scrupulosity and virtue? A difficult distinction for any 10-year-old (or 28-year-old) to grasp, especially a 10-year-old who was already eager for his elders to think he was perfect.

I have a friend, C., who seems to have nothing wrong with him at all. He’s not neurotic in any way I can see, he doesn’t cut people down, he doesn’t talk with casual (or any) filthiness. He goes to Mass every day, spends time in prayer every evening, gets up early without complaining, and consistently puts his friends’ and family’s well-being before his own — but does it so you wouldn’t notice, as if it’s just what anyone would expect.

Can you believe that I have it in me to look down on him? Because, I tell myself, his interior life lacks complexity and intensity. Because he’s not tormented and conflicted and INTERESTING like I am. Because he doesn’t seem to be prey to the perpetual whisperings of the Accuser, like I am. How do I know all these things? Because I have perfect insight into the state of his mind, heart, and soul at all times.

Ha ha, just kidding! I don’t actually know jack sh★t about any of those things, because I have exactly zero access to his interior life. They might all be true. Or none of them might be true. Not my business.

My business is to somehow discover C.’s trick of purity without prudishness, friendship without obsession, integrity without scrupulosity, charity without bombast. In a word, my business is to become more like Christ, and to be patient with myself until I get there.

1 And I’m always surprised when people say that they regret this kind of thing. I always think, “Regret? But you were SO COOL!” I know, the grass is always greener.

36 thoughts on “Holy

  1. Christine

    I have that same problem of looking down on people who are actually (as far as I can tell) much holier than I am. I think, “If that person were subject to the darkness and temptations that I experience, how much of her (for me, it’s usually a woman) current piety would last?” in an accusing tone. Because, like you, I have perfect insight into the minds, hearts, and souls of people like that.

    In the framework of virtues set out by Thomas Aquinas, virtue consists of the habit of doing good. So the truly virtuous person does good naturally, without much struggle. St. Thomas realizes, however, that the person who does good with a struggle may actually merit more because he has to overcome more in order to do good. Not sure where this fits in, exactly, but it came to mind when I read your post.

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  2. woodhead

    It took 80 years for someone to describe the tight-assedness of my childhood and high school years… thanks!!! Looking back upon it, I still regret much of it… and blame a good deal of my own SSA with that early pre-occupation with prudishness. Well stated – and I am sincere in my admiration for your blog, for your openness with your ‘troubles’ – and for your ability with words!!!

    Reply
  3. Tara S

    Ah jealousy! It’s another of the crosses that we “interesting” people have to bear. “Lord, make me holy. Holier than that guy. His holiness is so new and shiny, and it doesn’t even look like he’s trying! What a jerk.”

    I compare a thing like this to running races. If the one-legged, one-eyed guy comes in at a close second to the natural born, perfect runner, we may greatly admire the tenacity and drive and skill of the silver medalist, but we should still rejoice at the “fitness” of the gold-medalist – how it seems like he was made to run that race. That’s an amazing and wonderful thing. :-) Uncomplicated joy or pure admiration may be apples and oranges, but they are both pretty great.

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  4. Mark from PA

    Thanks for sharing about St. Dominic Savio. That was heartwarming. I used to like to read about the saints when I was a kid. When you talked about your adolescence, it sure brought back memories. I was kind of like you in a way, I think. I didn’t drink or smoke pot. I have never even tried regular cigarettes much less pot. I was never in a fight in 12 years of Catholic school, I thought vandalism was stupid and I didn’t screw around either. I actually liked to read and study. I was lucky because I was never bullied. I never had a bad word to say about anyone and even though I was an outsider, the other kids tolerated me. The other kids really didn’t use bad language around me or tell me dirty jokes or really talk about sex. I really didn’t have any peer pressure. I was talking to a friend about a priest and she said something about all the parties that he had. I had to tell her that I never got invited to any of his parties. I was such a good two shoes that the priest that taught our class Religion for 3 years actually made fun of me. He had parties for the kids he liked, but since I was an outside and didn’t drink (he gave kids alcohol) I never got invited. When I was 16 I didn’t even know what self gratification was much less do it. I actually thought wet dreams were a urinary tract infection. I thought that I was chaste because I was a good Catholic but now I realize it was because I was a gay boy and didn’t really have temptations about having sex because God didn’t make me with a strong attraction to women. The culture throws a lot of sexual stuff at teens but when you are different a lot of it goes over your head. So maybe a lot of these saints who were pure were gay like us and didn’t have temptations towards girls. If a guy is gay and passive, the temptation isn’t the same as for straight guys that go “girl crazy.”

    I smile at your comment “purity without prudishness.” I was somewhat prudish as a teen. I wonder if this is common with some gay guys. It is funny thought, I never really felt pure. I don’t know if any guys are really pure. I used to think that priests were pure in a physical sense but now I realize that they are just the same as us, mostly. Most guys just aren’t pure in a physical sense. It is against our biology. I think of how difficult it must have been for priests years ago when they struggled with their sexuality and many probably thought that most other priests were pure. So we all struggle to be good but it isn’t always easy.

    Hope you are having a good 4th of July. God bless you.

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  5. Mark from PA

    Excuse me for venting Steve, but I get really upset when so-called Christians go on about the gay life-style. I have a pretty boring lifestyle actually but some people just have to stereotype. It is so easy to get depressed and discouraged with so many haters out there. I happened to discuss the Trevor Project which tries to support young people and fight against youth suicide. One guy said that this organization supports sin and tries to tell these kids that they are normal, which only encourages them in their sin. It amazes me that some Catholic who are other-wise pro-life don’t really give a crap when it comes to young gay people committing suicide. Some of these holier than thou types have no clue what it is like being gay. So many of these kids are innocent kids like we were. They need to be loved and nurtured not bullied and told that they are sinners, or not normal or disordered or inferior. It upsets me that when it comes to gay people being mistreated that some Church leaders just turn a blind eye. I am getting smarter though. If someone gives that insincere “love the sinner, hate the sin” line or refuses to use the term gay, then I know where they are coming from and it isn’t a safe place. I have talked to several gay people and found such goodness in their hearts that I realize that God made us the way we are and it is good. We need to support each other.

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  6. George

    A good post, as usual. Begining with Tara’s words I am jealous of your good writing, deep ideas, being so loved by all the people here!! (haha, of course just kidding!).
    “If I had been less devoted to him, would I have been less standoffish and therefore less lonely?” Less scrupulous more hearted and happy would also apply for me: fortunatelly we don’t know the other story “ïf” (perhaps if not so scrupulous I would have become a thief or a serial killer and not in such a good person, haha).
    Talking about wisdom of simplicity, Bergman nicely developed the idea in an old film: The seventh seal.
    I hope you’ll forgive me for taking advantage of your website without paying fees:
    My sympathies to Craig through the ocean. Just for you not to feel alone in your feelings, loneliness may be everyday’s bread of most of us: dining, going to the movies or even spending weekends alone. I found a couple of Steve’s posts and that of gaysubtlety “Better that fair” to be very inspiring on this issue.
    Mark: You have made me remember two years of my life that I lived in anguish, thinking I was ill as I hadn’t heard a word about wet dreams. On the other hand perhaps being gay make us be less exposed to some temptations but more to others, even at an early age, so I think that all the same there is a need of good will and good heart.
    Again: nice post to read before going to sleep. Thanks.

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  7. Sarah

    I hold grudges towards the saints, too. I think it’s because most of the books I read about them had them in this narrative glow of perpetual and–more importantly–unattainable holiness. If I could meet a saint biographer, I’d give them a big piece of my mind on how they ruined Lives of the Saints for me and turned them into mythical creatures instead of human beings.

    Now, I tend to lean toward saints who were bad and then reformed, now, because then I know it’s possible. I pray to St. Peter when I ask for help to be holier, because I think he and I shared some of the same faults. St. Mary Magdalene, St. Augustine are other favorites of mine, too. A lesser-known saint is St. Afra of Augsburg, who I didn’t know anything about until I visited Augsburg, was a prostitute who was so moved by the site of a priest praying before his meal that she asked to be baptized.

    My confirmation saint is St. Rita. I picked her when I was confirmed at 8, because I was a bit of a neurotic and dramatic kid, apparently, and the stigmata thing kind of blew my little, 8 year old mind. Now, I hate to say this, but I feel like I don’t have anything to say to her. And I feel guilty about this.

    One um, relationship, I have with a person in heaven that also causes me a lot of stress is the one with Our Lady. I just can’t TALK to her, you know? I made my Total Consecration when I was 14, and so that makes it an even finer point of guilt for me. But when I pray to her, I don’t feel like I’m praying to a person. I feel like I’m praying to every statue and every halo-bedecked painting of her. I feel as though she can’t understand me, because she never felt the effect of sin in herself.

    All this is stuff that’s really weird to admit.

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  8. Ellen

    Hi Steve,

    I just wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog these past few months. I deal with bad anxiety, and it’s so good to hear someone talk so honestly about the struggles that go along with doing their best to lead a holy life and dealing with depression. So many of the things you write down are the same things that go through my head. Thank you for having the courage to write this blog. God bless!

    Reply
  9. Paige

    Love this: Or was it only that I couldn’t distinguish between prudishness and chastity, scrupulosity and virtue?

    So good, Steve… You remind me of Jacob wrestling with God in the bible… :). Don’t stop.

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  10. justamusician

    Steve,

    I’m going to interject a bit of inter-faith thought into this discussion. A Buddhist proverb from Linji says, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” Now, that is not to say that if we meet the Christ on the road (or saints) that we should kill him (them), as we are not seeking to become Christ. We are attempting to become like Christ, surely, but to become Christ would cause a somewhat serious crisis in the whole divine/human nature thing that I don’t even want to begin to wrap my head around (killing Christ if we met him on the road would also put a whole new ending to the story of Emmaus). But I digress.

    Perhaps we are not meant to strive to copy any one saint’s spirituality or holiness in its entirety. We can take bits and pieces from them, as they are meant to be role models, but we are not them. So maybe we’re meant to find our own holiness as a member of the Body of Christ (Can a hand say to the eye that it is worthless because it is not a hand?). That’s one reason I think there are so many saints with so many different stories, grave sinners from Augustine to the seemingly ever-holy like Therese the Little Flower. The truth, I imagine, is somewhere in between even for the holiest of people.

    As another disclaimer, I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily ascribing to the Buddhist belief that we each have our own road (as Christ states that he is the Way), but perhaps that road is a bit wider than we think, and may have different ruts and rises in different sections along its width that you’re only going to encounter if you’re on that particular lateral section.

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  11. jp

    “In a word, my business is to become more like Christ, and to be patient with myself until I get there.”

    …always remembering, as St. Jack wrote, that “the longest way round is the shortest way home.”

    Reply
  12. Amlovesmusic

    AAh, Steve, you did it again…..mirrored some of my own thoughts and musings on holiness. I was also a “goody-two-shoes” and a prude throughout my high school years. I have slowly come away from my prudishness, but I think it’s still lingering.

    I guess for me, I can’t seem to let go of my prudish musings for fear that if I was NOT a prude, I would do so many bad things.

    Do you think that maybe it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between prudery and virtue? I find myself wondering about it all the time…wondering what my Catholic friends would think if I did or said ______. It’s so hard, finding the right balance between living a good, virtuous life for the sake of being GOOD, yet still not putting yourself down for things like letting the F-bomb slip out once or twice.

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  13. Mark from PA

    George, thanks for the kind words. Yes, there is a need of good will and good heart. Steve, hope that you had a better day today and that things are looking brighter for you. Hope that hot weather isn’t getting you down as a lot of the nation is suffering from this heat. Be of good cheer and try not to let things get you down. Peace and blessings.

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  14. Mark from PA

    Steve, I don’t know if you follow many blogs but I suggest “The Wild Reed” to you. Michael Bayly is an Australian man who came to the US to study theology and has made his home here. He is a self-accepting gay man. While he has very liberal and progressive views, he also writes on a variety of topics.
    I don’t know if you are into travel but he has wonderful pictures from his Australian homeland and his trips there as well as beautiful nature pictures from his Minnesota home. So even if his political views are not your cup of tea, his photos extolling the beauty of nature may be uplifting to you. His blog is often a visual treat.

    Reply
  15. Sarah

    Great post!

    And interesting. I have regret over being too “badass” during my teen years. When I look back, it seems to me so many others had an inherent goodness I lacked. Why was I so attracted to “bad”? Why was I the teen who literally threw a book about St. Gerard across the room because I just could not STAND how good he was (or so the author said). I now see the teen peers who were so good thriving in life and in faith and in virtue and wonder if my past is what holds me back or is a source of punishment for me (sort of like purgatory… paying my dues).

    Funny how the comparison game works, right?? It does nobody any good and rarely uncovers the truth about anyone’s journey or spiritual state!

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  16. Dolores

    After reading your posts now feel it is okay to say that I just can’t warm up to St. Theresa of Lisieux. And, as for some of the extremely good kids we grew up with, am now convinced that many popped out of their mother’s wombs that way, in other words, sometimes it is the genes your dealt. For us lesser mortals, we just have to work a little (or a lot) harder at being less judgemental, less envious etc.

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  17. Sky

    I’ve actually thought about this subject a lot too, Steve. A few thoughts to share:

    First, I have to wonder whether this preoccupation we have with badassery has anything to do with our SSA. Consider the age-old problem where the girl (or guy) falls for the bad boy. I’ve always felt this was because badassery is, in effect, an expression of power – albeit a disordered one. (As an aside, this is also the reason why fetishes – each a form of psychosis – are attractive to certain people: we come to associate certain objects/ideas/scenarios with sex, ergo those objects/ideas/scenarios become “sexy”.)

    Basically I’m saying that, because badass-ness could be seen as an expression of power and dominance –and by extension, an expression of masculinity – badassery is an attractive trait. Obviously it’s not a *virtuous* one (it doesn’t express a genuine, Christ-like masculinity), but this might explain why it’s attractive to women, or men with SSA, at least on the erotic side of things.

    Second, as you said, badassery is pretty normal (or at least we perceive it to be). Most(?) kids screw around; they “tell poop jokes and dick jokes”; they drink, vandalize, fight, etc.. And boys especially. So what if our obsession with badassery is, in part, a product of our obsession with normalcy? I say perceived normalcy because I’m not so sure that most people really are badasses, but it’s safe to say that most people are *not* as neurotic as those of us with SSA.

    So really, badassery is doubly attractive for us. It’s not only sexy, but it’s just-one-more-thing we lack. It’s like how I sometimes describe same-sex attraction to my guy friends: “Imagine the way you feel towards an attractive woman. Now imagine the way you feel towards a guy friend you admire. Now imagine someone mashed those two feelings together. That’s how I feel towards certain men.”

    Am I making any sense?

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  18. Sky

    To add, maybe you were devoted to Dominic Savio because you were naturally standoffish and lonely? Maybe you saw those qualities in him and could relate?

    (If you haven’t noticed yet, I like flipping things on their head.)

    (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻)

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  19. Sky

    Oooooookay, one more.

    RE: Our Blessed Mother. Maybe a bit contrarily, I’ve always related pretty well to her. Being without sin doesn’t mean she never experienced temptation, only that she never acted on it, in mind or deed. And being the Virgin of Virgins and all, she probably knew sexual temptation pretty well. I figure Mary’s a great advocate for us (dare I say, a gracious one!), given our need for unconsecrated celibacy.

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    1. Sarah

      But temptation would not have had the same draw for her as it does for us, because she was without original sin, and therefore without disordered or unhealthy desires. And, she had, as Simcha Fisher wrote, a complete view of the nature and effect of sin, and so was repelled by it more than we, who easily make excuses for ourselves.

      Reply
  20. Jennie

    Hi Steve,

    Been reading quite a while…since you were featured on the bubble. Haven’t felt the need to post before. Instead, I’ve just been really enjoying your insight, intelligence, and wit.

    I am a lot like you, although I don’t struggle with SSA. Having thought about this for years and studied it (and lived it), I wanted to affirm you a bit.

    You feel different because you are different, very sensitive and very bright. People who are very sensitive (and this has been studied) are categorically more conscientious, have a “higher sense of justice,” expect more in friendships (and are thus frequently let down, are more intense, are more passionate, etc. This way of being is a gift and a burden.

    You have this amazing, funny, and insightful blog because of these traits but it does mean you ARE different and need more from (as well as can give more to) other people.

    This research/line of thought isn’t talked about much because it’s seen as elitist/not politically correct. But you touched on it in your post. You ARE different and it’s not just jealousy or the devil that makes you see less complexity in your friend…he probably is less complex. False modesty isn’t a virtue. Real humility is knowing that in God’s eyes you are no better or worse than your friend because of the amoral trait which is “complexity.” It can be a gift, however, and it is defining.

    And, most importantly for this post and the depression you’ve been experiencing, it can be painfully lonely. How easy is it for a master piano player to find a daily companion with which he can freely duet? It’s not easy.

    When you are complex or conscientious or intense or just really caring, you need someone else equally so to speak to those deep parts of your soul. If you don’t have that, or don’t have it enough, a genuine human aching, a real need, is created which should not be invalidated even if it can’t be met. One of my favorite quotes is, “In natures as in seas, depth answers unto depth.” Dickens.

    Anyway, tried to be concise. I don’t know the answer. My husband completely gets me and that has fulfilled that need to be understood and answered that loneliness in me. Not because of the love or the romance, simply because he is like me, affirms me in the way I am, and completely sees me. He needed me to do that for him to. When I did not have him, I started to feel crazy and did spend several years on the “what’s wrong with me?” train. I’ve been off that for four or five years now and that has given me the distance to know that I am different, truly, and it’s awesome and really hard (as is any difference).

    As a traditionalist convert Catholic (exactly your age) I don’t agree with a lot of the spin on psychological research (especially after being in a doctorate program for it…found out how little we know and how much bias there is) but still use studies and theories as a tool. If any of what I’ve said resonates with you, check out Elaine Aron’s work and Linda Silverman’s work as a start.

    It might lead to some real self-acceptance…it has for me. That one person who really gets you…that helps too. I will pray God brings them to you.

    You have a friend (or two) in Philly if you are ever in town!

    Jennie

    Reply
    1. Rebecca

      Hey, nice comment. What you said about your husband affecting your happiness and answering your loneliness…I have a friend like that, but it seems I may be losing him (due to new circumstances.) I’ve been happy, but only because he was there behind me. Now that I’m losing him, this past week, I feel I’m going crazy. I look, I say, my life, how can this continue? How can this continue?
      Only Our Lady is keeping me alive.
      i ask her, unite me to the Will of God and use this sufferring for the good of my friend who is away from God.

      Reply
  21. Laurie

    Great! I can relate to your youthful journey and, in hindsight, I can see that it was the grace of God and not much more than kept me on (near) the straight and narrow. I didn’t have wisdom or self-control or even a real understanding of what goodness should look like. Now adays I can look back with gratitude and with humility, knowing that it wasn’t something in me that kept me out of trouble.

    My sister is that well-structured person that irritates me. I tried to brace her for the “realities” of children and then she adopted two at once and had her laundry caught up within a week… while I can count the number of times I’ve “finished” the dishes in the last seven years. And I agree, though I am much more interesting ;) I’d love to just try a week in her crazy-less life.

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  22. anthony

    Jennie,
    that was some post, i would agree that each person should have some basic knowledge of their personality type. perhaps it is the combox frame work, because what you wrote does sound very elitist to me, and it can also describe an immature adolescent personality or a very narcissistic one. they seem to lack real empathy because they are so locked into their special needs and world.
    just a quick thought from reading your response.

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  23. Jennie

    Hi Anthony,

    Check out the research by the people I listed. It’s not elitist or narcissistic to know your strengths, especially when they make you feel alone. If you look at the research, independent observers rate these people as more empathic than your average bear and also more likely to feel that there is something wrong with them.

    Also, having talents, as we all do in some shape or form, does not make you better than anyone else. You can have talents and be on the path to holinesses or not, mature or not, narcissicistic or not.

    But, anyway, I appreciate your thoughts Anthony. Check out some of the studies on this categorically different group of people that often feel they really don’t fit in, because they don’t, but if they can find some self-acceptance, contribute marvelous things to the world through their fine-tuned perceptivity and empathy for others.

    Best!
    Jennie

    Reply
  24. anthony

    Jennie
    i did say that it is very important to have self knowledge and self acceptance, so there is no disagreement there. i am very familiar with the the work on this and even more…….my point is that real self acceptance leads to real humility. just google “narcissistic personality” and read the list of symptoms of one that is stuck in being “special” and unique. just as a side, there are many studies showing the connection between SSA and narcissistic personality.

    sometimes depression can be a sign of a deeper personality disorder and
    real healing will not come just from medication or certain “I am special” mentality.

    i am sorry i brought this up because it is impossible to discuss such topics in comboxes. best

    Reply
  25. Jennie

    Hi Anthony,

    It’s okay you brought this up, I think (of course it’s not my blog :p). Respectful debate is a good thing. And, you’re right…it’s tough to have these discussions in the comboxes.

    Two points, though, in response. First, psychological diagnoses as they are today, are still theories. Our ‘disorders’ are still at the level of syndromes meaning, unlike in the medical field, we don’t yet know the ‘how’ or the ‘why’ behind these clusters of symptoms. In fact, the current debate in the psychological field is whether to throw out all the categorical diagnoses we currently use in favor of a dimensional model (hard to explain here so I will leave it at that but this would involve obliterating most current diagnoses). Research actually shows that diagnoses (even supposedly stable/chronic ones like NPD) are way more fluid than originally believed i. e. Five years after diagnoses, people with supposedly chronic conditions no longer had any symptoms of them more often than the psychological field would have thought. Often, our disorders are more situational than anyone wants to admit.

    That being said, having myself diagnosed several persons in an inpatient hospital with narcissicistic personality disorder, I think people misunderstand how narcissistic these individuals are. People who actually meet criteria for NPD reveal themselves to be so after a few conversations. They expect special treatment, special admiration, and special consideration…often for having done nothing. This in no way relates to someone who knows himself to be highly athletic, artistic, intelligent, thoughtful, perceptive, or sensitive and admits it and should not invalidate the loneliness that comes from not being with others who are similar.

    Is there a narcissist epidemic among youth, people with SSA, and priests these days? I think maybe. We’re all pretty selfish in comparison to our counterparts in the past…our culture encourages and feeds this habit of self-centeredness. Does this selfishness meet criteria for NPD? Sometimes but usually not. In fact, I would argue that the sensitive people I describe are the ones most hurt as our ‘me’ culture turns in on itself with more and greater selfishness.

    God bless,
    Jennie

    PS Again, please excuse phone typos.

    Reply
  26. anthony

    Jennie, i am sorry for the combox limits, because it probably hinders the conversation and from what i read you are not hearing my point. but there is no real reason to hear it anyway and i am not looking for debates! i am glad your paradigm is working for you and wish you the best!

    Reply
  27. Jennie

    Hi Rebecca,

    Sorry to hear about your friend. I went through a time when I was without someone like that and it was very hard. God (I didn’t yet know Our Lady, sadly) was there for me, though. I can see all the graces He poured out when I look back…graces I in no way merited (of course).

    It seems to me that, as our culture does become more selfish as a whole, more andand more the people who ought to be there for or with us are lost in self focus. Selfishness means the world becomes a darker and more lonely place.

    God meant us for relationship but he also gave us free will. Sometimes I wonder if the dramatic rise in mental illness over the last few decades isn’t because of the increasing lack of supportive relationships that, in a non-fallen world, God would have wanted us to have.

    In other words, God will not force our soulmates to be the self-sacrificial and giving person he intended them to be. How many people should we have in our community of support and love that have decided instead that they need the high-powered all-consuming career or the party lifestyle or even just a life of videogames and sitting on the couch? As our culture increasingly encourages these pursuits, we cannot help but all become increasingly alienated.

    God bless,
    Jennie

    Reply
    1. Rebecca

      Thanks for responding.
      My friend is not self-absorbed-the changing circumstances involve external things and other people.
      Sadly, the self-absorption and alienation you mention perfectly describes my family and most of the people I’m around. Maybe other people fail us because they didn’t have anyone to be there for them. So they never learnt what they could be for other people.

      Reply
  28. Sky

    Hey Jennie,

    Sorry if I sounded butt-faced. I like your explanation better. It’s just hard, not knowing why or what this thing is, and being only somewhat sure of what to do with it. Wild hypothesizing seems to help :3

    Reply

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