I will admit my fifth week of online Ignatian retreat isn’t going well in the sense of warm interior feelings and such. The reflection on sin is disturbing in any situation. I felt completely thrown for a loop with more revelations of cover-up, indifference to victims, and the mistreatment of good and upright people.
It wasn’t until I took some time with my daily lectio that I found some measure of settledness inside. Then at a staff meeting this afternoon, I felt a response of sorts from God from within. Was it an experience connected to the ingratitude and prideful independence from God described in this week’s exercise?
It was in an Ignatian reflection that I read the principle/theorem that ingratitude is the root of all (or most) sin. I am beginning to see that. When I have a thought like, “Gee, that woman is attractive,” am I ungrateful for my sacramental marriage? If I get angry with my daughter or one of the pets, am I ungrateful for my role as a father and guide?
The new rabbit chewed through the keyboard cable last night when I was online. Suddenly, no typing was possible. My poor wife was rather upset. But honestly, I found it rather funny. I shook my finger at young Rosalind, and said, “Doghouse for you!”
It is easy to get angry about someone else’s wrongdoing. I find it very easy where sex abuse, war, and even animal cruelty is concerned. But do I let the passions of the moment master me? Master me to the extent that I fail to get to a deeper sorrow–that the world–the universe–is just wrong? The end of the retreat’s reflection reads:
Our desire is to experience the ingratitude and prideful independence from God that sin represents. It is disorder, and we are feeling how wrong it is.
Each day this week, our consciousness of evil would be too great for us to bear without the second image: God’s loving, merciful response. The price for it all is paid for in the body and blood of Jesus, there on the cross.
We end each day with growing gratitude for the magnitude of God’s Mercy.
I wasn’t sure how to take this on Sunday when I first read it. I wasn’t too sure this morning, either, but I determined to ask for more information. I have a small, but growing sense of that magnitude. That God is still in control, and that mercy is God’s response to all of this crap we keep delving up in the universe.
I don’t know if this was fortuitous or not, but yesterday I found and bookmarked this piece of music, an obscure Alan Hovhaness symphony I had never heard before. (See the summary of Symphony No. 17 here) It served as a backdrop to my reflection on all this–more harshness than I usually hear from this composer. There’s an uneasiness in the music that matched my own mood earlier today. Two of the movements are entitled “In the dark,” and they verge on the creepy. Trombones, flutes, and metal percussion–highly unusual and striking. If you listen, tell me what you think.