04 February 2016

The Struggle of the Will

This week started out great. I was invited to speak briefly at Theology on Tap in Fort Worth and I was there able to have some really great conversations with people who are like minded in the mission of evangelization.

Today I'm feeling rather melancholy.

Last night I got into an argument and was physically slapped across the face. Afterwards I was thinking about Matthew 5:39, when Jesus says, "But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well."
Note: I don't believe the person who slapped me is necessarily evil, just perhaps, not in control of their emotions.
In the first episode of the Catholicism series, Father Bishop Robert Barron talks about how offering your other cheek is a bold stance. I didn't quite understand that fully until last night. He said that by offering your other cheek you take power away from the person who hit you because you're standing your ground. In that moment, I wanted so badly to hit back. But offering violence for violence solves no problems, and thanks to Jesus I was able to keep a level head and not lash out. I think the goal of the slap was to get a reaction from me, and I was able to take control of the situation by keeping my calm. It was a great exercise of the will, which I pray will be rewarded, because my sins are many and the triumphs of my own will over emotions are few.

Then today, I was talking with a colleague. He was explaining to me the plot of a movie that I've seen, and I interrupted him and said, "I know." Interrupting is rude, no doubt. My intent was not to "knock him down a peg," but he responded with, "see, this is why you don't have a man."
Needless to say, this is probably number one on the list of things not to say to a single woman over 25, no matter what she has just previously said or done. Talk about a hard hit right in the insecurities. It hurt worse than the slap did, but surprisingly, it was easier to not react emotionally than it was the night before. Now I'm emoting on my blog and hopefully my sanguine self will be able to move on soon. 

Jesus, thank you for opportunities to taste humiliation.
St. Therese, pray that we can follow your little way.

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking about turning the other cheek this week. I like what you said Bishop Barron said. It is interesting that anger is listed among the passions, because "passion" and "passive" share the same root, which is to undergo, endure, suffer, etc. We think of anger as being active, and suppressing anger as being passive, but actually the opposite is the case. When the passion of anger occurs, our reason and will are susceptible to the influence of an animal side of our nature. That is, when we allow ourselves to be angry, we surrender control to it and allow it to act on our behalf. We are passive. When we turn the other cheek, we do not allow this animal side of our nature to exert its influence. We are in control, and our silent resolve is active (an act of reason). The passions are neither good nor evil, of course, but being influenced by them is inherently a kind of passivity.

    In regard to what the colleague said, it seems probable that you unintentionally touched on one of his wounds, which would explain why he retaliated so low. (This might explain it, but doesn't justify it.)