When we think of renewal we think of sitting in a beautiful setting contemplating the scene. Of course that is one of the aspects of renewal and it is an important aspect, but there is one that is even more important, it is to look into yourself and find what causes you to do something harmful to yourself and others and make concrete effects to change.
For many of the Catholic moms who read this blog, saying that something is an occasion of sin or leads to an occasion of sin will be familiar. As I get older, and became a mother, I came to understand that statement more and more and it was helpful to me when trying to understand who I was and how God was calling me. When I became a mother it has been very helpful in guiding my children. When something is an occasion of sin it is that something you know is wrong but you do it anyway. For me it is teasing. I am not proud of this trait, it is one that I must check, which means I must stay away from the person and situation that will trigger this sin, check my tongue, look at my motives, as well as going to the person and confess my sin of hurting them.
Look at this very Catholic tradition, it is the basis of the Twelve Step program of AA. When Bill W. started to understand that his alcohol caused him to do such horrible things he sought out help, and found a priest battling his alcoholism and its effects on his life. Together they worked out the process that become AA.
The priest knew that to continue in the occasion of sin that was drinking, was soul destroying for him, for everyone. This is because we are the hub of every relationship no matter how causal. It is not just you and the person but everyone else, ripples that will extend far beyond us, we should understand this from our experience of social networks like Twitter, Facebook; for how can I love God if I am doing things to deliberately hurt my neighbor?
So, to that end, I make a public apology to the man who styles himself Pope Michael I