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Getting On My Own Nerves

September 7, AD2013 16 Comments


When I became Catholic I had a lot of questions and a lot of issues with the things that the Catholic Church teaches; I spent 9 months going through RCIA and wrestling every one of them along with the demons I had been carrying. It was not easy for me, but I found the Truth. I found that He had a face and a name. A name above all names: Jesus. I met Him and fell head over heels in love with Him. Jesus is my best friend, my Lord, my Savior, my Love, my heart belongs to Him. What could go wrong with that? Well, I am one of those people who defends those that I love to the death. I always have been. I am sure it comes from my Hispanic blood. Family means everything and you defend your family at all costs.

The problem is that I have become a bit self-righteous, prideful, impatient and strident because of it. I have always had an issue with teaching people how to do something. When I waited tables I was made a trainer and then quickly demoted because I would lose my cool with my trainees. I just didn’t get how they didn’t understand how to wait tables. It’s not rocket science.

The evil one has a bag full of tricks and I just realized that the one I’ve been falling for is the one where I sit around and be the queen of snark to everyone I come in contact with. And I justify it by saying that I’m just that way. I’m a blunt person, I tell it how it is, people don’t like that… etc. etc.

Then I read these posts on about the Catholic Virtual Wars and I had a moment of clarity. It actually began on Sunday with the reading from Sirach and the Gospel Acclamation which was “Take on my yoke and learn from me for I am humble and meek.” (Matthew 11:29) I knew God was telling me something because my husband and I had been fighting for nearly a solid week. I felt as if the world was on my shoulders and I really needed to hear those words. It was obvious to me that the theme of what God was telling me was humility. At the end of Mass I took the advice that a friend had given me awhile back and asked God to help me be the wife that my husband needed. I had gotten in a bad habit of praying a list of things that God needed to get my husband to change. I know that doesn’t work, but somehow I got in that habit anyway.

Then one day my husband told me that he felt that maybe I was too extreme in my faith. At first that really made me mad. I really didn’t understand how he could say that to me. It wasn’t like he married me when I was a pagan or anything. He had been with me from the beginning of my conversion. He had struggled with me and he has seen what God has done in my life. So, my prideful self just blew off what he said as a bunch of crap.

Then I read this post in the series on the Catholic Virtual Wars about strident Catholics. Everything the author wrote hit me hard. I have become that person. I am constantly on a soap box about something. In a chronic state of anger, because, well, just look around us. There is plenty for a Catholic to be mad about. But what I had failed to realize is that it was making me exactly the opposite of what I want to be. It was also clouding my judgment about things and making me an unpleasant person to be around.

As I said, I am the kind of person who defends those that I love to the death, and that is what I really thought that I was doing. I was defending my faith and my Lord. I never stopped to see that I was doing it completely wrong. It’s so easy to feel justified in the snark, anger and name calling. I have known for a very long time that Jesus doesn’t want to be defended that way. The story of Peter cutting off the ear of a soldier on the night he was arrested makes that very clear. I needed the reminder.

I really did try to avoid reading those posts. I knew they would put me in my place because I already knew that I was getting out of hand. I was getting on my own nerves. I have been a real jerk to my husband and I knew it. I played the classic human trick on God and hid from Him. I knew He was looking for me and I pulled an Adam and Eve and hid from Him. But God always finds me because He is my Father and a Father always finds his child.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Leticia is a convert who came into the Catholic Church at Easter 2010. She is the mother of 4 kids and has 3 stepsons. She is also a grandmother to a beautiful two year old. Leticia sat on her Pastoral Council, blogs at Catholic Stand as well as her personal blog, is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree of Philosophy, is a wife, and helps with her parish’s “Jesus is Lord” adult faith formation class and RCIA. Leticia has a radio show at Real Life Radio and is a volunteer with an organization that helps women in prison come to terms with their past and gives them the tools to cope with life when they are released. In her spare time she sleeps.

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  • Mary

    Yes, I have also been strident in my zealousness for the faith and have actually caused more harm than good, Faith comes through hearing, and what my loved ones heard from me was harshness, and I thought it was charity. It had the spiritual effect of cutting off their ear to hear the Faith I wished to pass to them. Jesus humbled me, and I fervently pray that He tenderly restores our ears to hear Him, our eyes to see him, and gives us hearts of understanding with which to seek Him and love Him and one another in Him.

  • stoney

    I hear ya, I can’t read Shea’s blog anymore. I’ve never seen someone so self-righteous, angry, strident and hypocritical. He causes nothing but division.

    • enness

      Was that information…necessary?
      I don’t recall seeing him mentioned or singled out, not by name anyway, in this article or the one linked.
      I criticize him plenty on his blog, but at the moment I think he could use a little empathy and encouragement for being candid about his temper (or at the very least, not be used gratuitously for a trampoline).

    • stoney

      Sorry, I just assumed that’s who we were talking about with all these posts on stridency.

  • Maggie Goff

    This was wonderful I can so identify. Getting on my own nerves! Ha! That was me this week.

    And I have learned to always listen to Diane since I came back to Mother Church in July 2008 after decades away. Her writings have always helped me. This particular series is like looking in the mirror.

  • I just realized that the link which says it’s to a post on Strident Catholics, was actually to the first post in the series which touched on that. Following this label here will get you to all posts in the series, and the one which dealt more deeply with stridency, was post 02: Strident Catholics. Use this link then scroll for all posts

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  • Leticia – my “epiphany” some years ago was not unlike yours. I’m not married, but I pushed other family members away through the ugly face I put on the faith with my strident defense. With all new things we come to learn, give thanks to God. The pain associated with looking inward is part of the Cross we carry. God knows of our flaws better than we do. He’s just waiting for us to acknowledge them. Over the years I have found Sacramental Confession most healing. What a merciful thing God gives us in that sacrament! The Angel of Darkness would rather we dwell in the imperfections and flaws that become visible than to pick up our mats and move forward with joy and gratitude. Wonderful post and thanks for sharing.

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  • Greg

    Love your blog post. Also a 2010 convert, I have worked to bring some of the ideas you touch on – like humility – to the conversation, while not settling into apathetic appeasement. Saint Francis helps….

  • John Darrouzet

    Now you’re on to something! Keep up the good work!

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  • Allison Grace

    You say it better than I, but it’s interesting and wonderful and right in line with this article, that all I’ve come up with personally this stressful week is that God loves me. He is love. He is enough. Love and blessings to you and yours!

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