I woke in the night feeling condemned for overeating. A voice kept at me, relentlessly inflicting guilt and shame. It blamed me for using my addiction to food as an excuse to sin. It called me a hypocrite. I repented and vowed to change my ways. But when morning came, I shoved the negative messages aside and got on with my day.
That evening I went to our contemplative group. I don’t remember the topic of our reflection, but I do know that the convicting episode I experienced the night before wasn’t even on my radar. Yet as soon as we entered into silent prayer, the memory returned. When it did, I heard God say, That voice wasn’t mine. Relief brought tears to my eyes.
A few days later, at a lecture about Ignatian prayer, Father Richard Soo explained how to discern God’s voice. He said, “When the enemy convicts me of sin, I feel bad about myself; when God convicts me of sin I feel loved.”
I let that sink in: when God convicts me of sin, I feel loved.
Sure God wants to release me from my compulsion to overeat but, thankfully, God doesn’t have to shame me into it. David Fleming, SJ refers to God as Love loving. I wonder what Love loving has to say about my overeating? I would listen to that voice.
Let me not run from the love which You offer.
– Soul of Christ prayer (Anima Christi)
paraphrased by David L. Fleming
References and Credits:
“God Is Love Loving” pg 7 in What Is Ignatian Spirituality? by David L. Fleming, SJ
“Soul of Christ prayer” pg 4 in Lessons from Ignatius Loyola by David L. Fleming, SJ
Jesus Wept by Daniel Bonnell.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2014.
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