This post was submitted by our friend Supertradmum. Please pray for her as she faces her final days on earth.
As some of you know, I am dying of cancer. Now, most of us who are chronically ill may be tempted to complain. Although I do not have a habit of complaining, this past week, when someone was helping me with a change of very painful bandages, I did tell them they were hurting me.
Later, in my weekly examination of conscience, it came to me what a great sin complaining really is. I would like to share some insights into why.
We may recall how the grumbling Israelites were not allowed to enter into the Promised Land, having to wander the Sinai Peninsula for 40 years, because of their sin of complaining. Some may think 40 years is a long penance, but interestingly, the Church in tradition only has noted that 40 years is the norm for most people in Purgatory. So, there is an understanding of the difficulty of this sin, sometimes called “mumbling.”
Forty years was a long time to wander and never get home. However, one must think in New Testament terms, as well, for the sin of complaining to eradicated from your soul..
A few points: we are given the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, at Baptism, when we become Children of God and Heirs of Heaven.
As such, we are obligated to develop our infused virtues and become saints. If we sin against the basics of our religion, we jeopardise our salvation.
So, why was God so hard on the grumbling Israelites, who never got into the Holy Land, except for the strong and faithful Joshua and a few other families which remained true?
Let me start with a definition of complaint. It is annoyance and dissatisfaction, usually resulting in an outward sign of impatience and words.
We may address our complaints to friends or family. We may, with a lack of fear of the Lord, address our complaints to God.
As a sin against the virtue of Faith, complaining reveals a lack of trust in Divine Providence. For example, from all time, God chose the way and place of my death. His plan involves what is best for me, so that I can with the great grace of final perseverance with the aid of the sacraments.
If I would complain about the manner and timing of my death, for example, I would not be trusting in God’s pain for my life and death. Acceptance is trust.
We are Children of Hope.
If I would complain against His plan for daily pain, for example, I would closing doors to opportunities for more graces. Indeed, there is a great mystery in accepting the way of suffering and pain. God meets us in pain and suffering in a mysterious way in which He does not in any other manner. Contemplating on the Incarnation, the Passion and Death of Christ, God-Man, is not the only way to come into a new relationship with God, Who meets us in suffering. This is a great mystery. The Trinity lies in the Suffering, waiting for one to discover God in a new way.
Complaining destroys the process.
At to being a sin against Hope, complaining takes away meditation on the next life, on the Four Last Things-judgement, purgatory, heaven and hell. Complaining which takes some energy, would take energy away from that final quest for and in and with God—death.
Divine Providence, of course, knows and loves us more than we know and waits fo us to join Him in union. Complaining stops the movement towards God, throwing us back on ourselves and ruining the air with speech revealing the lack of faith.
Once a long time ago, a holy woman received the Power of the Holy Spirit and conceived a Son. Our Lady, the Mother of God, expressed her joy and wonder in the Magnificat. She revealed not only her knowledge of the plan of God, but fully accepted in Faith, Hope, and Love, the coming of the Messiah. However, God comes to us in other ways as
live, and especially when one approaches death. Mary’s beautiful prayer, shared with Elizabeth at the Visitation, could resound in one’s heart, feeding Hope, that virtue which believes but cannot see.
Mary saw, but her words warn us daily, as she trusted in God.
Our yeses may echo hers.
The last virtue in the great three is that of Love. Again, how can one love if one is negative? Love demands no answers, only acceptance, forgiveness, peace.
Christ loves us in special ways when we are ill. He may come as a family member, a helper, or in the quiet of prayer. He may come as the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. He comes in Love, to meet us in pain and suffering—in the great mystery of God’s sharing in our humanity.
Complaining kills love. I have seen families at the great feasts, ruin dinner parties by complaining. So, too, we can ruin the spirit of a gathering, or even a chance to grow in family love when we complain.
Most importantly, complaining involves blame. Are we blaming carers, family members, God Himself?
Love is the answer always. In God’s love we move and have our being. In God’s love we live and we die. In this love, we learn to trust, to hope, to love.
In this love, we are content to be at peace and follow God more nearly.
One way to love God and people is through the virtue of patience, which is acceptance and humility combined.
Love God, trust in Him and hope in His ways.
JMJ, pray for us!
God is good,