I know I am not supposed to hate anything. I do not believe I hate anyone, but I do get profoundly annoyed at some things, some of which I try to avoid. My Lectio Divina (Phil 2:5) took me to a place where I don’t like to go, talking about those things that annoy me to the extreme. Maybe my hatred, which is not easy to describe, is more being perplexed, vexed, and inconvenienced by certain situations and the way people act. It may be part of the curse humans have of living in the world of Original Sin, the place of pain, happiness, life, death, sorrow, fulfillment, peace and hatred.
Was Christ vexed, annoyed at the way some people acted? I certainly think so. Think of the money launderers in the Temple, the Pharasees and their double standards, the frustration at the Apostles for thinking that the Kindgom of Heaven was like the Roman Empire and vying for places at the right and left of the new Kingdom. The list goes on and on. Yet, Christ was like us in all things but sin. Sin here means wanting to be god. Wait a minute! Christ was God. Yes! His human nature was not God. That side of Him had to learn, feel pain, sorrow, dissapointments, anger over injustice, human trafficing, slavery, and living with duplicitous humans who, like the Israelistes of old, made a golden calf to worship, all the while Moses was receiving the very Commands that they were breaking. We humans are a fikle race, but it is all God has to work with. That God would still continue to love us, despite our failures at being what a human should be, is remarkable. That Christ would love us, even when his own followers betrayed him and some of them renounced Him three times is astounding. That Christ would love me with all my foibles and follies, veerying off and on the path, trying over and over again to be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect. There are times when this adopted son probably makes God think he was the Father in the story of the Prodigal Son.
As a Lay Cistercian, hopefully centered on being more like Christ, my true self, and less like me, my false self, I try to take up my cross daily and convert my life. It is not easy sometimes. It is always a challenge. All the way, I have little inconveniences that lead me to think I am not there yet, wherever “there” is. One of my new favorite Cistercian practices, next to Lectio Divina, is reading Chapter 4 of the Rule of Benedict everyday. The trick is every day. Every day implies a discipline I have not quite mastered. Love is about discipline, keeping focused on what is good, despite the surrounding inconsistencies of, let’s say a spouse, children who don’t do what you think is moral or good for them, and a Church you think has not entered the modern age of relativistic thinking (every person is god). For sure, the big sins (mortal) are only a once in a lifetime occurance, if at all, It is the venial sins, those imperfects that we think we have conquered only to find them popping out in all sorts of strange ways as life continues, that kill me. I hate this aspect of spirituality, one that is very real. To have conversion of life, you need something from which to convert. In looking at Philippians 2:5-12, Christ was God but had to take on the nature of a slave (human nature) with all its inconveniences and inconsistencies. His conversion was to live in this condition and accomplish his mission, to restore the relationship of the Father with humans once again. That is redemption. That he had to endure all the hardships of human existance, as told wonderfully in the Story of Genesis Chapters 1-3, including death is why we call Him Lord. Lord of humanity, Son of Man, King of Kings. Lord of Lords. And, that is why the resurrection is so important. Saint Paul says that if there is no resurrection, our faith is a waste of time.
In this context of growing from self to God, here are six things that drive me crazy, call them hatred or not. They are obstacles for me to endure. Your six things may not be my six things. These are definitely signs I am getting older (and hopefully not senile).
COMMERCIALS. I hate commercials, more so now than when I was younger. Maybe it is because they are a waste of time and a distraction to any television show I am watching. I find myself putting commercials on “mute” most of the time. It is inconvenient to do that, so many shows I just switch to something else. I like movies on Comcast Xfinity or on Netflix or especially on Acorn because they have no commercials. I have noticed that I am more disturbed with commercials and am aware that I am frustrated with the lack of continuity of a show.
POLITICS. I hate political commentary and discussions on the major news networks, FOX news, Time magazine, my local newspaper, The Tallahassee Democrat, and any news outlet that gives opinions on politcal correctness, false or half-false reporting. Democrate or Republican doesn’t matter. I have avoided watching more than a couple of minutes of news over the last three months. I love it. I watch ESPN sports, Golic and Wingo, First Things First, featuring Jenna Wolfe, Chris Carter, and Nick Wright, and also Colin Cowherd on The Herd. I love these sports shows. I particularly enjoy listening to the insightful Jenna Wolfe, and the excellent insights of Chris Carter. I have entered anothe level of depth when I listen to Chris Carter and Nick Wright talk about the strategies and analysis of professional football and basketball. I am not much of a baseball fan. So, why do you throughly enjoy sports and commentary but hate political analysis? One word: hatred.
TELEVISION SERIES. I hate reality shows, mainly because they do not reflect reality. I love shows from National Geographic, Discovery, and History channels, particularly Port Portection, Mountain Men, Antique Archeology, Food Channel (Beat Bobby Flay and Chopped), BBC, and Masterpiece Theatre. I don’t usually recommend any television but check out Acorn.com. It contains all the English titles. I just love all their specials and documentaries, as well as all the series they provide. For $49.00 (+-) per year, it is money well spent in my closet things I love.
THE DEVIL. This might seem like a trivial hatred. The Devil is not a person, he is a fallen angel, who goes about like a lion, seeking whom he may devour. I do evil in my life, not the Devil. The Devil puts obstacles in my path to do God’s will. St. Benedict says, in Chapter 4 of his Rule, (41) To put one’s trust in God. (42) To refer what good one sees in himself, not to self, but to God. (43) But as to any evil in himself, let him be convinced that it is his own and charge it to himself. Satan tries to convince me that evil is just the mouthings of old men and that I should be fulfilled and be in charge of my own body and my own mind. What I hate is that the Devil won’t leave me alone. Like mosquitoes around a Summer picnic, they won’t go away.
ROBO PHONE CALLS. I hate robo phone calls and unsolicited or scam phone calls. Have you received the one from the IRS (a scam, of course) that says you owe money and they will take steps to garnish your wages and sue you? I just put the number on block. What I hate is that it is annoying and takes time to do. These calls just don’t stop.
PEOPLE WHO SAY, “BLESS HER SOUL!” I hate people who are so inconsiderate and rude to tell people bless your soul. It has nothing to do with blessing people but is actually a discount. An example of this hits close to home. My wife keeps telling me how lazy I am not to do things about the house, such as cutting grass, cleaning the pool, cleaning my bathtub and toilet, and keeping my bed made. I tell her that I have just come off chemotherapy (2014) and am tired. Bless her soul!