Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Fighting the sin of mental murder

CCC #2303: Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."

Have any of the rest of you ever noticed that there are near occasions of sin in the virtual neighborhoods of Bloggsville, just like in our real-world neighborhoods? That the virtual world actions in Bloggsville can plop one into real-world contrition?

I've been there. Repeatedly. For me, it's running into the professionally outraged and the veteran faction fighters. I'm extra sensitive to them, living in a real city that's been a favorite battlefield for them all my adult life, in fact, since at least the Great Depression. I read or hear the ongoing tongue torture, the detraction and rash judgment and harsh judgment and gloating, that goes on, and I get steamed, and start pondering how many different ways I can string up the Professionally Outraged Faction-Fighting Idiot of the Day (TM) --- and attempted murder is no less a sin for only going on inside my head. I catch myself, and cease and desist --- until the next vicious backbiting or stupid tittillating slanderous tidbit comes by.

I've found three ways of attack to fight this one:

First, avoid the near occasions. There are some sites in the Christian internet world, and some Christian blogs, that specialize in detraction, backbiting, and related activities. Since I have no business with or interest in professional outrage, and it's so bad for me, then why even go to sites such as Spiritus Christi, or CWN, or Diocese Report, or MagesterialFidelity, or Novus Ordo Watch. Let strong people like Mark Shea and Bill Cork and Father Rob and Shawn McElhinney wear the flak jackets and blue helmets and deal with the armed idiot fringes.

Second, wait before doing. Don't grab the bait so often planted in some people's comment boxes. Go away. Do something else. Make some rosaries. Elevate the feet. Come back in a few hours. Whatever it was might not need refuting any more. And, if it still does need refuting, I will do a better job of it by cultivating peace and patience.

Third, redirect my mind. An urge to string someone up by the toes is a sign that they belong on my God-Bless list. It's not possible for me to hang, draw, and quarter Diogenes or Podles while I'm pleading before God for their good, or gag and strangle Padovano, Dan Maguire or Joe d'H while begging grace for them. Keep the mind busy with good, and it'll have no space for mischief.

Lord, keep me mindful.
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