|Icon, "The Kiss of Judas", by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011|
This is one of the reasons why I feel that the Sacrament of Confession is so incredibly important. If you have any sincerity at all when you approach the Lord in this Sacrament, after having examined your conscience using the Commandments, you have to admit that you not being honest with God or with yourself about what you are doing. This will often enable you to seek the grace to stop whatever it is before it gets so big and bad that it destroys you.
Is this what happened with Judas? I am sure that the first time he used a little bit of the money from the common purse to purchase an extra bit of food just for himself, he was able to justify it, saying something like "oh, I have done extra work looking after the finances, I deserve a treat for myself". I have said such things to myself during my lifetime when I have taken office supplies from work for use at home, for example. Have you? Even so, something inside still "niggles" at me -- something I have to push down again and again until it ceases to bother me so much and thus it becomes easier to sin again.
I have often heard priests compare the repentance of St. Peter to the despair of Judas Iscariot. They always point out that St. Peter had the humility to admit that he was a sinner while Judas had too much pride to be humble. So, St. Peter wept in sorrow and true repentance while Judas went out and hanged himself.
It would seem that Judas had committed the most unforgivable of sins and yet, the Church has never said that Judas is in Hell. As a matter of fact, the Church has never ruled than anyone is in Hell other than Lucifer and the fallen angels. God alone knows the heart of each and every person sufficiently to be able to judge and condemn. God be praised for His great Mercy with which His Justice is tempered.
As I reflect on "the kiss" of Judas tonight, I think I would like to know what happened to him after death and I add this question to the list of those I plan to ask when I finally see our Lord face to face. However, the truth of the matter is that once I see our Lord, all such earthly concerns will simply fade away in the light of His glorious face.
Of course, there is another aspect of the betrayal of Judas which was expressed so well in the Bob Dylan song when he sang the question, "did Judas Iscariot have God on his side?" But this is a discussion for another day. For now, I simply pray that none of us will ever ignore and rationalize our sinfulness until we, too, become willing to betray our Lord Jesus Christ as Judas did.
|Spring Green -- there is no other shade quite like it|
|The Showers of springtime bring the flowers in May|
|Weeping Willows weep in the spring rains|
|Flocks of birds search for the newly sown seeds in the springtime|
|Suki the Victorious One!|
(Sorry that I failed to straighten the photo!)
Remember my description of the ongoing battle with Suki? I described my effort to keep her from sitting on the printer while she peers through the slits in the blinds, covertly watching the pigeons on the balcony above. Here are my exact words:
Every day now we have this power struggle going on. We have reached the point where as soon as Suki realizes that I have seen her sitting on the printer and am headed her way, she reluctantly moves on up onto the window ledge. Her philosophy is --what the "bossy lady" can't see won't hurt her--. The eventual outcome of this battle is already decided, of course. Sooner or later, after countless, futile efforts to get her to change her behaviour, I will give up and say "to heck with it -- it is just not worth all this effort". I am sure Suki already senses her victory!
|Where the printer is now --|
Much less convenient for me!
Now for the update on my health. I saw the cardiologist this morning although I had to wait almost two hours before she could see me. I am sure people were praying for me as I managed to wait all that time without getting upset and impatient -- something that is not at all normal for me. Anyway, it turned out that she had squeezed me in between other appointments so I was grateful that I had waited more or less patiently.
After reviewing the various findings with me which indicate Coronary Artery Disease, she said she wanted to go ahead and do an angiogram with possible angioplasty. This is scheduled for the 19th of April -- two weeks from today! The surgeon won't really be able to know for certain what is needed until he has a good look at the arteries in my heart. Only then will he be able to determine how bad the blockage is. If the blockage is sufficiently bad, then he will go ahead with the angioplasty, installing a stent to keep the artery open. If I require an angioplasty, then I will be staying in the hospital overnight.
As most of you probably know, there is a bit of a risk to all of this but not that much of one. However, I do intend to receive all the appropriate Sacraments prior to the procedure! Since that is a priority for me, I have already contacted the parish and set things in motion for having a visit from one of the priests before the 19th.
As well, I have several new medications to take including nitroglycerin spray with detailed instructions about how many times I can use if for chest pain before I call 911. This kind of talk is almost enough to give a person a heart attack! I have already told Suki that she needs to be very obedient as I do not need any additional stresses in my life. She yawned, turned over and went back to sleep. Do you think she understands?
Now, I can spend the remainder of the day watching the various Holy Thursday events on EWTN and Salt & Light TV. I am so very grateful for these modern means of bringing the Church into the homes of those of us who are housebound. What a wonderful blessing.
I pray that you will all be deeply blessed by the liturgical events of the days ahead. I will be posting a third special Easter column on Saturday evening.
May the peace of God be with us all.