Is The Spirit So Willing?

TBM Topic 30: Forgive Offenses Willingly

“Is The Spirit So Willing?” by Julie Robison
Trista at Not a Minx, Moron, or a Parasite
Elizabeth at Startling the Day

We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We’re here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion on Facebook and Twitter!


During Lent, we will be discussing the Spiritual Works of Mercy.

As I write this post, I begrudgingly admit I am working on forgiving someone for saying something that hurt my pride. I am currently working on cleaning out my room. I am getting married in less than nine months and, in good conscience, I cannot bring into this marriage my very own section of some rain forest.

I have books. Hundreds of books. Then there’s the one box from grade school, and two boxes from high school, the huge bin of magazines, and the multiple drawers and boxes of college papers I have yet to go through. Then there’s my research, for current and pending projects, and five shoe boxes of epistolary correspondence. I just started on my sixth this past Christmas.

A member of my family, the Purger, said he’d help me, as long as I sign a contract saying I would not get mad about what he threw away.

Writing messages long gone, unlike my letters. (far L)

“Never!” I protested. “What if you threw away my letters?”

“Why are you saving them anyways? It’s not like you’re Flannery O’Connor. No one is going to read your letters in 50 years.”

“I’m not saving my own letters,” I huffed. “I’m saving responses to my letters.”

The comment stung. Stings. We had to stop the conversation and part on civil terms. I am now typing, depressed in spirit, in my room. Fortunately, I kept cleaning too. I had a church bulletin from the beginning of Lent, and, wouldn’t you know it! Fr. Ed says it best:

I have often thought that it would be nice to have a special name for the final Sunday before the Season of Lent begins. As a culture we have the traditions of Mardi Gras and Carneval during these days, during which people celebrate and eat and “party” before Ash Wednesday. But perhaps the Gospel for this weekend gives us a better tradition to follow: forgiveness. 

We have all heard the old saying, “To err is human, to forgive divine,” and actually it is quite correct. Who alone but God has the power to forgive sins? Who else but God sees all there is to us, both good and bad, and love, understands and absolves? When we were able to forgive one another for the hurts against us, we are, in effect, showing the face of God to those we forgive. Because we are forgiven first by Him we are able to give that gift to others. 

In the Gospel this weekend, a paralytic is brought to Jesus for healing. Little does he expect the first words to him from Jesus: “Child, your sins are forgiven”. After this Jesus says the famous words: “Rise, pick up your mat, and walk”. Why is the other statement first? Because Jesus heals the deepest wounds first. He shows that the physical paralysis of this man is not as important as the spiritual paralysis that can happen when we fall into sin. He heals this first, and does so with great love, even calling the young man “child” as he does. 

What a gift this is for him, and for all of us who have heard the story for the last 2,000 years. Jesus forgives, heals and loves us. Perhaps this gives us an indication of what this final Sunday before Lent can be about: forgiveness, healing and love. In a word, it’s about Jesus.

And in like fashion, I went downstairs and apologized for overreacting, and then told the Purger I forgave him for hurting my pride. And I mean it. If Jesus can suffer death to redeem my sins, then I can swallow my pride, admit I was wrong, and forgive, just like Jesus. Because it really is about him, not you.

Besides: if Anne can forgive Gilbert, anything is possible!

Early in the morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots. Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God. Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him.Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours. When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions. (Mark 11:20-25)

I’m Sorrey, Anne!

TBM Topic 25: Literary Crushes

“I’m Sorrey, Anne!” by Julie Robison
Trista at Not a Minx, Moron, or a Parasite
Elizabeth at Startling the Day

We three are from the oft-mentioned, widely-speculated upon demographic of young, twenty-something Catholic women. We’re here to dispel the myths and misconceptions- please join us for the discussion on Facebook and Twitter!


Top 5 Reasons Why Gilbert Blythe (from the Anne of Green Gables series) Is (and will forever be) My Literary Crush:

5. He was great at nicknames.

Gilbert called Anne “Carrots” for her red hair.

This is before Anne breaks a slate over his head.

“Gilbert Blythe was trying to make Anne Shirley look at him and failing utterly….she should look at him, that redhaired Shirley girl with the pointed chin and the big eyes that weren’t like the eyes of any other girl in Avonlea school.” (Anne of Green Gables)

4. He gave Anne a challenge (they were fiercely competitive in school, he critiqued her writing style for the better) and always looked out for her (gave up his teaching post for her so she would not have to leave Marilla or Green Gables).

3. He apologized when he was in the wrong… and pronounced “sorry” as “sorrey”!



2. Gilbert loved Anne for who she was, not who he wanted her to be, and more importantly, accept her wholly (temper and all!).

“There is a book of Revelation in every one’s life… Anne read hers that bitter night, as she kept her agonized vigil through the hours of storm and darkness. She loved Gilbert–had always loved him! She knew that now. She knew that she could no more cast him out of her life without agony than she could have cut off her right hand and cast it from her. And the knowledge had come too late–too late even for the bitter solace of being with him at the last. If she had not been so blind–so foolish–she would have had the right to go to him now…. If Gilbert went away from her, without one word or sign or message, she could not live. Nothing was of any value without him. She belonged to him and he to her. In her hour of supreme agony she had no doubt of that.” (Anne of the Island)

Gilbert Blythe: It’ll be three years before I finish medical school. Even then there won’t be any diamond sunbursts or marble halls.
Anne Shirley: I don’t want diamond sunbursts, or marble halls. I just want you.
(Anne of Avonlea mini-series)

1. Gilbert wanted Anne to be happy, even if it meant it was not with him.

Except that it was.

“I’ve loved you ever since the day you broke your slate over my head.” (Anne of Green Gables)

This last point is what really clinches it for me: throughout the THREE books leading up to their engagement, they became the best of friends and never specifically dated each other. All the while, however, Gilbert was courting and wooing her, because he loved her enough to let her freely choose him. And let me tell you: there were a lot of proposals in the third book.

There are “Anne and Gilbert” moments online. Do yourself a favor and indulge:
Chapter One – School Days
Chapter Two – College Days
Chapter Three – Teaching Days
Chapter Four – Things Change

Honorable mentions: Captain Wentworth from Persuasion and Char from Ella Enchanted.