I know this failing well. Those who know me know I know this failing well. Some know I know this failing better than others who know me not. Others will know I know this failing the longer they know me.
It's a roundabout and rather long winded way of stating I'm a sinner. And it's an indication that I need to regularly be treated for the condition. A huge reason why I need to attend Mass and to receive Christ in the Eucharist regularly. We all do if we're honest but I'm of the opinion that I perhaps need to be treated more often than most. One of the Pauline passages of Scripture that resonates with me is the one found in Romans 7:
I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
All of that to introduce you to the idea confronted by The Anchoress in a piece published, believe it or not, by The Washington Post. Yes, our Anchoress, in The Washington Post:
I go to confession because I understand that I have failed in following Christ’s lead. But I also go because I want to be challenged about it. I don’t want to hear “well, everyone gets mad, sometimes but you’re still a good person. It’s not like you killed someone, or anything…” because in truth, it’s not alright to give anger an opening, I’m not a “good person” and it is exactly like I killed someone.
Often when we feel bad about our own behavior — when the healthy conscience awakens and starts kicking for attention — that’s the comforting blanket of moral anesthesia we use to put it back to sleep: “it’s not like you killed someone; it’s not like you blew up a bridge,” as though only the most demonstrably and destructively malevolent actions can have meaningful impact on the soul or society. We lull ourselves back to into numbness and do not notice the accumulated effect all of our unrepented little “mistakes” — how they have helped tumble our world away from those old cornball ideas of mannerly social interaction, and toward the valley of hipster ironic sarcasm; away from respect for the opinion of others, into flamewars and political down-shouting; away from commitments and values which might cost us something, toward an illusory “freedom” that costs us everything.
The Holy Week recollection of the passion and death of Jesus Christ serves to remind us that it’s not enough to be a “good person” who does not blow up bridges. Jesus is surrounded by “nice” guys who left commerce to follow him — to heal, to give alms, to feed multitudes — and they drink too much to be able to keep him company when he asks. They engage in skirmishes. They run away. One of them betrays him for silver, another — the first of the “good persons,” the one who first pronounces Jesus as Messiah and holds the keys to the kingdom — betrays him with his tongue.
Our sense of sin has been dulled; these days we talk about our human “mistakes.” Yet we squirm in discomfort in the pews because we recognize ourselves in these weaklings and cowards and self-interested liars who will do anything to save themselves. It takes nothing to imagine that before Peter denied Christ to the woman by the fire, he first thought to himself, ‘Oh, die, termagant, die!’ and wondered if there was a laundry basket handy.
Read the entire column, not only to understand the reference to the laundry basket but because I guarantee you'll be better for it.
Trust me on this.