Friday, August 10, 2012

The Practical Power of Penitence

One of the blogs I like to read is Fr. Dwight Longenecker's site Standing on My Head. His most recent post is The Practical Power of Penitence and it was very good. I like the way Father Longenecker lays things on the table in a clear manner - his forthright writing style means I don't have to weed through piles of "excess" to get at the meat of what he is pointing out. It's right there before our eyes. 
The Practical Power of Penitence made me smile, especially the ending:

"Stop blaming others–even if it’s their fault. Take responsibility. Claim the blame. Pick up other people’s trash."

"Grow up."

Well, darned if that post didn't make me want to "grow up" right then and there!

Seriously. I was sitting there saying, "That grumbling he mentions? Yes, I know it well."

Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

I catch myself grumbling interiorly (oops, Google Chrome says interiorly is not a word) on a regular basis. It's a pride thing. After all, it's much easier to grumble than to repair things, isn't it? 


Could you excuse me for a few moments while I go empty the "trash"? And "clean up" the house a bit?

(I will not put up another picture of Pigpen. I will not put up another picture of Pigpen. I will not put up...)


(Down Freud! Down Jung! )


  1. Mary,

    Before commenting here I went over there and read the post in question. I would agree with about 90% of what this priest says.

    "Take the blame for others? Pick up their trash?"

    Come on Father! I'm far too busy confessing my many sins to also take the blame for others.

    When my wretched cat leaves a half-dead mouse on the edge of the stairs, and when I step on it and it squeeks in pain under my feet, and when I jump in fright and fall all the way down the stairs and hit every **** step all the way down to the bottom as I lie there half-dead myself, and feeling pain all over including in places I thought pain would not be felt ... you can rest assured Father that I will not blame myself and pick up the dirty cat's trash!!!

    Father, when you have a cat like mine, you'll soon change your views.

    God bless you Mary. Great post. Now I'm off to confession for what I said on my way down the stairs.

    I trust my priest will not blame me for my bad language as I fell. He usually laughs when I go to him for confession. Not this time, I hope. Not this time.

  2. When I saw the picture of Pig Pen it reminded me of my past.

  3. I like what Fr. Longenecker has to say in his post. I can attest to the truth of this myself. In our culture today, it seems all about escaping the accountability Father speaks of. His post also made me think of something Carl Jung use to say(and I paraphrase) A small number of his patients were Catholic because most of them were in confession.
    The grumblings are the sound of our pride being hurt, our ego being bruised. Confession takes care of that too.
    Psalm 51 says it best: A contrite heart, You will not spurn.
    Thanks for the link, Mary~and for Pigpen too :)

  4. I love it I love it I love it. Amen amen amen.

  5. Victor! That was funny! I forgot about your demon cat :)Glad you lived to see another day in the confessional!

    When I mention Freud and Jung in this post and others I mean my dogs (Caesar and Milo). They remind me of Freud and Jung for some odd reason. They are so different in their doggie viewpoints. Freud is more uptight than Jung :) I pick up both of their messes all the time but at least Jung shows some shame. Freud shows none. Ingrate! Freud lets Jung take the blame for his mistakes, too.

    Yeah, I switched to "darn" so I wouldn't have to go to Confession again already ;)

  6. Hi Grace,
    Yes, that's partially why I put it
    up :) The other reason is that when I blog I feel like my faults hang out all over me and I think of this picture of Pigpen ( notice he's smiling despite being a dust I smile too because I know the Lord is cleaning me up.

  7. Hi Karin,
    Great comment. So many people pass the buck on to others these days because there is very little personal accountability (couldn't resist throwing the buck comment in after what happened with the banking institutions).

    Confession is healthy - no two ways around it. Humbling ourselves in the confessional helps get rid of that grumbling ego as well as other stuff :)

  8. Hi Nancy,
    Glad you enjoyed the link! I thought it was down to earth and right on the mark. Made me squirm a bit but better to squirm than not see the dirt at all. Can't shake that sensation of being under a spotlight lately when it comes to reading posts like these. Same with the Marino Restrepo video.

    Fr. Longenecker has a great book out (well, more than one)called "Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing". I purchased it on my Kindle a few months ago but am taking it slowly. I highly recommend it and plan on doing a post about it at some point. Sometimes we think everything has been healed and purged but then something like this book falls into our hands and we realize that God just hasn't revealed all our inner trash yet.

  9. I also read and enjoy his blog! And ooooooh my, do I grumble too "interiorly".:) How in the world does one root this out??

  10. Mary, you are beautiful! I love this post and your recent posts on Muck, Fudging and the Dump. You are so honest and yet lighthearted. You bring joy to the serious work of straightening up our spiritual houses. Thank you for all that you do! I am always blessed by your words.

  11. Hi Colleen,
    Thank you :) Interior grumbling is definitely hard to root out but the fact that we are aware of it is a good sign I would say. Years ago I didn't even know that I did this! Once we see that we do it we can bring it to Confession and open up that area of our lives to God's grace.

    Who wants to live with a grumbler? Nobody. Lol. And yet we are forced to live with ourselves if we refuse to give it up ;) I can't help but see the humor of this!

  12. Hi Anne,
    You know what I'm going to ask, don't you? If I ever come your way can I have dinner at your house? Lol!

    Thank you for your kind comments :)

  13. One thing picking up other people's trash can do is to obtain for them the grace of repentance... heap burning coals upon their head by letting our pride take a hit. Yes, the blame may be mostly on the other side, but apologise anyway...the blame may be entirely on the other side, but be kind and try to understand anyway...offer the olive branch instead of the baseball bat!! :)

  14. Mary, you grumble, I murmur... I read about murmuring in the bible and said, "That's me!" Pssst., I think they are the same thing.

    Loved your comment to Anne...I'm trying to get an invitation too! Those pictures of all that Italian food...and THREE desserts!

    Thanks for pigpen. I will think of him next time I'm in the confession line...what a great image of what we must look like BEFORE.... :)

    Thanks for the joy your share xoxo