Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Why God Gives Commands

On Sunday, I overslept and missed every service but one, an evening Mass at an Episcopal church downtown. I almost didn't go because I wore jeans and t-shirt to volunteer with my husband at Gnome Con that afternoon (it's a nerd thing). Protestants are much more into being dressed up for church than Catholics; as a child I don't even remember wearing slacks or denim skirts, so I was embarrassed to go to mass in jeans and a shirt with cartoon sheep on it. But I figured that was my pride talking, and went anyway.

Lo and behold, my confessor was celebrating the Eucharist, even though he's not normally one of the priests at that parish (not sure what the story is there). After the service I asked him about his Monday schedule, and he said to come by anytime that morning. So I did.

About an hour before leaving for confession, I wrote down everything I could think of. However, after receiving absolution and returning to my car, I remembered something, and it was a mortal sin. Part of me felt so awkward about going back in, even though he was not yet in a meeting with anyone else. Thankfully, the Spirit would not let up until I walked back inside and shared my heart. He said "I'm so glad you came back." So was I. My shoulders literally felt pounds lighter, and I almost skipped back to my car, spending the rest of the day in a happy glow.

One thing the priest told me is that often times we humans seek emotional release in ways that are inherently harmful: cutting, gluttony, etc. At the time it feels so good, and seems self-medicating, but in fact we are damaging our souls and bodies. After this appointment for my soul, it seems so obvious that God wants only the best for us always. He never gives commands that would harm our souls, and what He does command is for our good and the good of others. Growing up, I used to think that the only reason to try to "be good" was to get to heaven, and since Jesus died on the cross we were redeemed, so why try? Now, the question doesn't make sense. You might as well wonder why an appendicitis patient needs surgery, or why an asthmatic should quick smoking. God longs for our healing - not for Himself, but because He loves us and hates to see us harm ourselves.


  1. Praise God. What a beautiful sacrament. I need to go too, and you reminded me. :)

  2. I haven't been to confession in something like two years (bad, bad Catholic!) and I've resolved that I WILL go at least once during this Lent. But three Saturdays ago, I missed it because we were snowed in. Two Saturdays ago, I missed it because I took a (very, very rare) lunch/shopping trip with a friend. One Saturday ago, I was laid up with a bad back. I can't help but wonder if there's some Resistance at work here. Thanks for the extra push!

    1. I haven't read the book you're referencing, but the concept of Resistance rings true to me. Resistance is a powerful thing!

  3. That is an encouraging story and lesson!