... because they offend
Thee, oh Lord, Who art all good, and deserving of all my love..." What can I
say? It helps. Ive been uttering what Catholics call the Act of
Contrition for days, and every so often my pain (no fooling) subsides. I dont
know why. Whenever it happens I try to repeat the prayer exactly: same cadence, same
intonation, same sincerity, same everything. But I seldom succeed. 'The Ugliness' is
always waiting; that's what I've begun calling this insane torment. If I could
honestly say it was better, I would, but it's not, except for the all-too-brief
respites—which almost make matters worse by reminding me of painlessness, by taunting
me with a promise that's never kept, by refusing to let me sink (as I would prefer)
into a numbskull's oblivion.
Yayuk once told me that prayer accumulated grace. Then you have
something when dead, she explained. Like life insurance? I quipped, smug
in my contention that reiterating phrases—be they Muslim, Jewish, or
Christian—was as likely to win salvation as reiterating ads: Crest has been
shown to be an effective decay preventive dentifrice that can of significant value...
blah, blah, saved!
Bullshit. Besides, I tried all those, dredged up every label,
commercial, and jingle from my earliest recollection, and not a one provided the least
relief. Only that prayer—an imprint from early childhood. Yes, a Roman Catholic
upbringing; Sebastian Arnold Lazarus stands debunked. Not that it took. I was
indoctrinated, First Holy Communion through Confirmation, programmed, as it were, before
things made sense—at which point 'Arnie' Lazarus and the Church parted company.
Imagine my confusion at the fix Im in now.
... I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no
more... WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?! "... and to avoid the near occasions of
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