Tough (Self-)Love

by Ms. Catherine “Cathie” Lambert, OP

for the weekend mass readings

of 12-13 Nov 22

  The Second Reading today contains one of St. Paul’s really cool bits of advice.  You remember:  “Do not let anyone have any food if he refuses to do any work.”  (ca. 2 Thessalonians 3:10)

     Apparently, in St. Paul’s time, this rule was more than just good advice that no one could figure out how to implement without getting thrown into jail.  What was that like, I wonder?  Tough times, huh.  Well, ‘tough times’ require tough decisions.  Right?  Yeah, right.  You know… Mama used to say that the only one we can really change is ourselves.  So… Get.  Real.  … with yourself. 

     Let’s say you’ve got the feeling you should be praying more, and more often?  Then do it.  How?  How about a little tough (self-)love?  Start off slow, you can only really tackle one thing at a time – and it does!  I mean, it also does take time to accomplish.  And something else; that is, it takes something else in order to get your bad self to your better self.  It takes the ‘grace of God’. 

     Well, how do I get that, you ask?  That’s it!  That’s exactly what you do!  You.  Ask.  Yep, you ask God for grace… the grace to want to do it.  Didn’t know grace could do that?  I didn’t either until recently.  Then I heard about it, then I thought, ‘Well, heck!  Let’s give it a try.’

     Someone suggested saying twenty decades of the Rosary – all in one day.  Twenty decades.  Twenty decades?  Oh, my gosh!  That’s… that’s… let me see – one, two, three, fffff…  That’s four whole regular Rosaries!  One for every set of the Mysteries.  All in one day.  Huu-huh.  Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

     I kept praying about it though – asking for the grace to want to do it.  And what’ll you know?  Slowly, bit-by-bit, I actually started to want to do it.  No, really!  Then I started praying for the grace to figure out how to get it going…  Come on, grace-of-God, I need you.  I need you a lot.  G’me some ideas here.  And ideas started whistling through my brain almost too fast to grab.  But, I did.  Grab one, I mean.  You know, an idea of how to get myself praying twenty decades of the Rosary a day… and loving it.

     Do you know, they say that if you put a live frog in a pot of cool water, and slowly heat it up.  You know, s-l-o-w-l-y… that the frog will never even know it’s being turned into frog soup (yuck).  Yeah, it’s true.  The frog will never even try to jump out of the pot!

     Not that I was making frog soup, or anything.  I was training myself to pray twenty decades a day.  That’s a lot better than frog soup!  But that’s what the idea I caught suggested.  No!  Not frog soup, you Silly!  Start out slow and easy, just adding a decade a week, for instance.  And keep praying that until it seems entirely normal.  Then adding another decade until that seems normal, and then… well, you get the idea, right? 

     And after – oh, say forty days (you know, about the length of Lent) – yeah, after about forty days, well there you go!  Frog soup!  Nawwh.  I’m pullin’ your leg.  Not frog soup, but saying four whole Rosaries every day – and feeling like it’s nothing much.  Feeling like it’s just what I’ve always done.  And that’s grace for ya:  the greatest way to want to work for your dinner since St. Paul suggested it. 

     Yeah.  Mama was right – can only change myself.  So how do I want to change myself?  I mean, what kind of person do I want to be?  Don’t know?  Start praying for the grace to be able to know.  Then grab one of those ideas that start whistling through your brain and, you know… Make frog soup!

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