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Keje Bose wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Without ignoring the fact that we are saved by the suffering and death of Christ Jesus on the Cross at Calvary, how can we continue to lament as poor banished children of Eve?


  { How can we continue to lament as poor, banished children of Eve, when we have been saved by Christ? }

Eric replied:


Lamentation comes naturally with the trials and tribulations of life. There is plenty to lament in ordinary life. Of course, the mature and wise Christian will not be ruffled by the sufferings of life and may not be moved to lament at all because of their steadfast trust in God, seeing all things as "working for good for those who believe", (Romans 8:28) but such a person is very rare.

There is a form of lamentation that we are bid to do, as the Desert Fathers tell us, and that is to lament for our own sins. There is a moving prayer called the General Confession in the Anglican tradition that goes:

"Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honor and glory of thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

This I think captures well the attitude we should have before the Lord in lamenting our sins.

Eric Ewanco

Keje replied:

Dear Brother Eric Ewanco,
I agree about the attitude in the Confession, and that is how we should feel about our sins and human frailty and there's nothing wrong in lamenting when we are sorrowful, but with the right attitude.
My issue is this:
Accordance to the promise given to Adam and Eve and their generations in the garden of Eden, GOD did everything, and The Messiah (our Lord Jesus) is now seated at the right hand of God Almighty because He has completed the task entrusted to Him (to save the world). Jesus will be at the right hand of God seated until His enemies should be placed as a footstool for His feet.
We, the Church, is the Body of Christ and under whom the enemy should come as a footstool. But the enemy is still roaming around like a roaring lion thinking whom to devour. We are Christians by faith. Our faith is that we are in Christ and Christ is in us, and such Christians with the right attitude cannot be scared by the fake roaring of the defeated enemy, hence definitely the true faithful cannot be devoured.

Eucharist is very evident and the assurance for our communion with God.

  • When God is with us, who can be against us?

We are the image of Christ with the Holy Spirit as our Counsellor with direct access to the Throne of God in the security of our Guardian Angels always around us, with Mother Mary, the Apostles, and Saints in company for our prayers. Spiritually, this is our redeemed position in Christ Jesus. And I am sure that the devil is so scared to see this firm position given to us by the Death and Resurrection of our Lord.
Attitude comes from what we believe, and it is reflected in our words. Our words are our testimony. Even in the Old Testament times when David (a mere shepherd teenage boy) used this kind of words affirming his position with God before he went against Goliath and killed him. This is the key for battle written for success in the book of Revelation Chapter 12, verse 11 to overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

  • How would a person constantly made to believe throughout his life that he is still a poor banished child of Eve, obtain courage and right attitude to overcome the enemy?
  • Would Jesus or Mother Mary like to see us with such low esteem of who we are in Christ Jesus?
  • Can't we still cry as redeemed children of God?

So many Christians are suffering with psycho-somatic diseases and autoimmune diseases. And the root cause of these diseases is identified as fear, guilt, condemnation, anxiety and low self esteem. Unfortunately, I am one among them and trying to come out of this dilemma through mindfulness of who I am in Christ Jesus.
I am still looking for a proper explanation to justify this prayer and this kind of attitude. I couldn't find much help with my direct contacts and started to search on the Internet. I hope you can clarify, and help me with, any other views that I am missing out on in my spiritual journey.



Eric replied:

Dear Keje,

Sorry for the delay in replying.

You have summarized very nicely the attitude we should have. But saying we are "poor banished children of Eve" is not a statement of low self-esteem and it doesn't conflict with our status as redeemed children of God. All it is saying is that all suffer in this life, and we are deprived of our full potential.

I think you're projecting too much on it. Another part of the prayer refers to "mourning and weeping in this valley of tears". That makes an assertion about the fallen state of this life, not about ourselves. Suffering is endemic to this life; it just is, precisely because we are "poor banished children of Eve". It makes us mourn and weep. Fear, guilt, condemnation, and anxiety, for those who are in Christ Jesus, come from the devil.

With all gentleness, I would suggest that because of where you are coming from, you are reading into the prayer something that isn't really there. You're accustomed to fear, guilt, condemnation, and anxiety, and so you see things through that lens. But these phrases have nothing to do with you or me — they pertain to our life on this Earth, our exile from heaven, and our inability to escape suffering.

You asked:

  • Can't we still cry as redeemed children of God?

. . . and I answer: Surprised, of course that's what the prayer is all about, how this life on earth makes us weep.

I am confident that you have the right attitude. I hesitate to offer a diagnosis, but it sounds like the demons are having a field day with you, making you feel all sorts of things you need not and should not feel, trying to keep you down and convince you of lies.

Yes, you are redeemed!
Yes, you are a son of God!
Yes, you are becoming by grace what Christ is by nature!

The demons know you have the victory and are trying to drag you down and discourage you. Don't let them. Persevere! The Holy Mother of God is most powerful against the power of the demons. For all I know they are trying to prevent you from praying that prayer because they know if you do, they will be defeated. If the prayer discourages you, find another prayer to the Mother of God.

One virtue that can really defeat the enemy is the virtue of humility. I've struggled with some of the very same issues you are struggling with, including low self-esteem. By God's grace and many years of prayer, I have emerged into a much better place free of those things. Ironically, I think a lot of my self-esteem was rooted in pride and vainglory: considering myself something greater than I was, and being unhappy that I wasn't what I wanted to be or thought I should be. In reality, without Christ, we are absolutely nothing. Without Christ, we are zero, zip, zilch; "without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). The more I realized this, the better off I was. With Christ, of course, we are everything. I had to learn to accept myself, warts and all, as God intended me to be. It takes a long time, but we have to learn to trust entirely in Christ and realize our nothingness before him. If this is hard to hear, it's all the more reason to cultivate humility. I'll recommend a couple of books to you:

Anxiety is often rooted in a failure to trust God. We think that what God allows to happen is not for our good, but it is. We need the courage to accept what happens as something God allows for our good and not let it disturb our peace. Scripture says, "Perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:18) If we cultivate perfect love for God, we will no longer have a servile fear of him, or a fear of what he allows to transpire, but will trust him implicitly as a child trusts his father.

We should not allow ourselves to feel guilt after repenting and confessing our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is another tactic of the devil. Much less should we feel condemnation. If we live our lives for God first in repentance in a sacramental way, and it sounds like you are, anything negative we "hear" comes from the devil and should be ignored and disregarded. God is good, gentle, kind, peaceable, and merciful to those who fear him; any guilt, condemnation, anxiety, or anything else does not come from God.

Another thing that I struggled with was my image of God. I expected God to nab me on technicalities or not forgive me of long-forgotten sins. My God was a perfectionist God. If I wasn't completely virtuous, I felt he'd be unhappy with me. What I didn't realize is that God was more patient with me than I was being with myself. I did not trust that things would work out in his time but feared my lack of virtue. Scripture says,

[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness.

(Galatians 5:22–23)

— this is our God, not the god of guilt, or of condemnation, (Romans 8:1). There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus), of fear, or of anxiety.
He does not catch us on technicalities; he is not impatient with men of good will. So, I invite you to evaluate your image of God, and see whether your God manifests the fruits of the Spirit, or whether someone else is getting into your brain.

I encourage you, if you haven't already, to study the Diary of St. Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul, and to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, especially the "Jesus, I trust in you" prayer frequently throughout the day.

An excellent and life-saving resource I found in my journey is

and I recommend it to you.

I hope this helps!


Eric followed-up later:

Dear Keje,

I found the following story on Face book and thought you might be encouraged by it:

St. Jane Frances de Chantal spent most of her life plagued by anxiety, doubts, depression, and anger.

After her husband was killed in a hunting accident (when 28-year-old Jane had 4 young children and had already buried 2), Jane was overcome with grief and anxiety and began her lifelong struggle against "suggestions of blasphemy, infidelity, and unbelief."

In the midst of this, Jane heard St. Francis de Sales preach and was finally able to forgive her husband's killer after 3 years. De Sales counseled her as she dealt with single motherhood, an over-zealous suitor, the pain of living with a cruel father-in-law, the decision to delay entering religious life to care for her children (and then the decision to enter [religious life] in spite of their opposition), and the anguish of scrupulosity.

Jane also lived through the Bubonic Plague, through calumny and opposition, all while experiencing chronic depression and constant doubts. Late in life, she wrote,

"I've had these temptations for 41 years now —

  • Do you think I'm going to give up after all this time?

Absolutely not. I'll never stop hoping in God. Most often, there is a confused sort of strife in my soul. Between feelings of being plunged into impenetrable darkness that I am powerless to do anything about, I have a kind of spiritual nausea that tempts me to give up trying."⠀

Her friend St. Vincent de Paul wrote,

"She was full of faith, and yet all her life long she had been tormented by thoughts against it. Nor did she once relax in the fidelity God asked of her. And so I regard her as one of the holiest souls I have ever met on this earth."

This is so important: Jane Frances de Chantal was a Saint not *in spite of* her struggles and temptations and doubts and fears, but because of them.

Your struggles do not disqualify you. You are being called to be a saint in your doubts, fears, anxieties, and darkness, in this time of sorrow and confusion and turmoil and anger.

This is your path to holiness, and when (by God's grace) you persevere, you will become a far greater saint because of these struggles than you ever would have been without them.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal, pray that our suffering would make us saints!

Meg Hunter-Kilmer - Speaker



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