A PSN Lenten retreat, Part 2

IN MY LAST Monday’s column, I talked about fear of the Lord — timor Domini.

I said it’s not really “fear” in the sense that God will punish me.

No more than a fear of losing a loved one.

In the sense that God will be tired of forgiving, and loving, the sinful me.

Sure, it is beyond God to be exhausted in loving and forgiving me.

But it is a gift to have this very human fear.

It serves as my personal check and balance.

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I know that God loves me.

I know that I can be whoever I want to be, and God will still love me.

And I can sin, and God will forgive me.

But it is the knowing in my guts that God will do all these loving and forgiving that I don’t want to exhaust God.

I love God so much that I don’t want God to get tired of loving me.

And I think this speaks of the virtue called Hope.

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I have Hope.

I am hopeful.

I am living with hope that God will not abandon me.

That if I do some good, God will not abandon me.

That God will love me more.

I have hope that even when I sin, God will not abandon me.

That God will still love me.

And how can I not fear losing such a God?

How can I not fear offending such a God?

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So yeah, I have fear of the Lord.

But it is a fear based on hope, and love.

I cannot just be afraid of the Lord.

If I am to fear the Lord, it has to be because I understand, and I hope, that God can be persuaded not to abandon me if I try to be good.

If I make an effort to be good and perfect.

Because how can God not be attracted to the good and perfect?

And I love God so much that I am afraid to lose God.

I am afraid I will lose God if I continue doing evil.

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And so you can see that I am really genuinely religious in spirit.

I have total reliance on God.

I do good because I love God.

And the evil that I do, I kind of calculate to amount to something that God can forgive.

I do have reverence.

I do have Piety, pietas.

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Most people think that I am an arrogant prick.

And if you think about the society I live in, maybe they are right.

How can I not be arrogant if the people around me are so stupid?

And stupid in the self-righteous way?

Stupid in their own selfish way?

If you come to think of it, people who call me arrogant are themselves arrogant.

It’s just that I’m better at arrogance than them.

Better because I can back up my arrogance.

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I am smarter.

More experienced.

More educated.

More empowered.

More self-actualized.

More philanthropic.

More kind.

More loving.

And while at it, let’s throw in “sexier”.

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It is true: I am not likely to submit to anyone.

I do not believe anyone is better than I am, everything considered.

Sure, some people may probably be more moneyed, but they lack more sex, or something.

Some even lack sophistication.

Or for their money, a sense of nobility.

Some people may be more educated, but they lack charity and worldly experience.

Some may have all the knowledge, but they lack wisdom.

So there, how can you expect me not to be the better arrogant if the game is called arrogance?

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But you see, I’m not in competition with arrogant pricks.

I don’t need to feel superior than anyone because I already know that I am.

And still, I have humility.

And still, I submit.

But only to God.

I know that compared to God, I am nothing.

In the presence of God, I am just a speck of dust.

But what a speck of dust I am.

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I am God’s beloved speck of dust.

I know that God loves me.

I belong to God.

And I am empowered by that knowledge.

Empowered, but also with understanding.

Enlightened that I am an extension of God.

I am nothing but just an extension of God.

I am humbled before God.

I rely upon God.

Without God, I am nothing.

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And that is a true religiosity of spirit.

That is true Piety.

That I recognize my dependence on God.

That I can only be arrogant because God backs me up with so much love.

And forgiveness.

Now, if the stupid people around me cannot see how spiritual that is, you can understand why I can afford to be arrogant.

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Bottom line, I do not want people to run me over.

Because I am an extension of God.

Now, if people all submit to God like the way I do, I see no reason for any display of arrogance on my part.

If people see that I am an extension of God, I don’t even have to say anything.

They will know that I am God’s beloved speck of dust.

If they recognize that, who needs arrogance?

Obviously, not Peter Solis Nery! ([email protected]/PN)

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