This time I got away with it! Right?


The Readings for Wednesday 2 Advent (Year 2):
Memorial of St Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

Quare dicis, Jacob, et loqueris, Israël: Abscondita est via mea a Domino, et a Deo meo judicium meum transivit?
Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel: My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?

Recently, visiting my parents house for a vacation, I was “triggered” a number of times towards, as the morning prayer says, “my accustomed failings”. But I had just read Matt Frad’s The Porn Myth and he points out that when we are triggered, we need to call it out. When we feel the old patterns of sin forming up we need to say it is so, out loud, verbally (not just think to ourselves) and ask for help. The entire time I was on vacation I named triggers out loud, mostly in the moment. The experiment was a success in that I got home without having any grave matter to worry about.

Of course once I got home, this all fell apart. Work, normal life, riding the bus, and maybe doing things I shouldn’t have, interrupted this process. In sum, vacation gave me time to struggle, but, of course lack of a real schedule disrupted my devotional life. Coming home restored my schedule, but disrupted tye ascesis, the struggle, the jihad.

But God hasn’t punished me yet, so he’s giving me a free pass, right?

Abscondita est via mea a Domino, et a Deo meo judicium meum transivit.

In the Hebrew and the Greek, this verse says, essentially, God’s not watching. He missed me in the judgment. The rest of the passage is God saying “you’re an idiot.” Today we could add a third option: God’s not watching, if he is he has skipped me… and there is no God any way. God still says, “You’re an idiot.” But we do have more choices now… You’ll remember from earlier in the week: God only delays judgement to give us more of a chance to repent.

It’s easy to forget that the purposes of space and time are to work out our salvation. Forgetting that, any delay seems like a reprieve. I don’t need to struggle with sin right now: I’m on vacation. I don’t have time to pray right now, I have to go to work. I can feed the poor later. I can say I love you, Dad, tomorrow. 

Today, though, is the day of salvation; because today is judgement day. If we think in theological terms, God is outside of Time. God is omnipresent in time as well as space. Judgement day is happening for God at the same “time” as my next sin. Judgement is happening now. Today is the day to be damned. Today is the day to be saved.

God does not delay, as some of us imagine delay. God sees our every action – not only our sins but also our repentance. Why not make the struggle glorious today, brother? Why not destroy that sin today? Why not wage war against the unfleshly powers of evil in heavenly places by destroying their hold on you today? My way is not hid from the Lord, in fact, quite the reverse. And so he loves you even still.

Why not say I love you today?

Author: Huw Raphael

A Dominican Tertiary living in San Francisco, CA. He is almost 59. He feeds the homeless as a parochial almoner and is studying to be a Roman Catholic Deacon. He is learning modern Israeli Hebrew and enjoys cooking, keto, cats, long urban hikes, and SF Beer Week.

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