Breaking out of Bad Habits

by Carmelite Sisters | August 29, 2012 12:02 am

Ask a Carmelite Sister

Dear Sister,

I have the bad habit of judging people. As I grow older, the habit grows along with me. I am a very logical person, and it is very painful for me to watch people not get punished for wrongdoing, or hide their misdeeds, or grow wealthy while those of us trying to live according to what the Good Book says languor in almost-poverty. Still, I would like to break the judgmental habit because it is related to my sin of gossiping. Do you have any advice?

Dear Friend

Thank you for your question.

Ah, judging others. If we are correct in our judgment of others and talk about it with other people, that is the sin of slander. Given the right circumstances, it could be a mortal sin. If we are wrong in our judgment of another and share it with others, that is the sin of calumny. It, too, could be a mortal sin, depending on the circumstances. These sins need to be confessed.

Our Lord taught with parables and I’d like to use a parable to answer your question. I hope it helps!

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room. Instead the angels were given a space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night’s rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field. The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel, “How could you have let this happen!”

He reminded the angel that the first man had everything, yet you helped him. The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let their cow die. “Things aren’t always what they seem,” the older angel replied. “When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn’t find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmer’s bed, the angel of death came for his wife.  I told him to take the cow instead.”

Things aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes this is exactly what happens when things don’t turn out the way we think they should. If you have faith in God, just trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You might not realize it until much later. And, above all, leaving the judging to God!

The following description of justice, mercy, and grace resonate within my soul, so here they are. May they help you, also, and feel free to spread it along to other people.

I hope that is of help to you and until next time,

Sister Laus Gloriae, O.C.D.

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