I had an IM conversation this weekend with a friend where he referred to himself as a hypocrite. It's stuck with me ever sense, his self-flagellation. He is a person of very deep faith who never ceases to impress me on his walk with Christ. He loves and fully embraces the Catholic Church and all of her teachings. He's a great person and his family is lucky to have him.
He slipped this week and went against his own very high moral standard and was so upset with himself for having done so. I can understand the disappointment he felt in himself and his feelings of failure. The standard he has set for himself is incredibly high, and I am in awe at how often he is able to meet it.
I'm not sure I said the right things to him, and that's why it has haunted me. I don't like leaving things unsaid. What I wish I had said was:
My sweet friend, I know how disappointed you are in yourself and how far you feel you have fallen. In your own regrets, I think you have lost sight of how far you have come. Your burden is heavy and can never be laid down and yet you carry it with such strength and grace. You refer to it all as "my cross", and I think you are right, it is. (You are forgetting that even Jesus fell under the weight of his cross, not once, but three times.) Everyone falls. There is no perfect way to bear the weight which you are carrying, and so "falling" is understandable. The trick is in being able to stand up again and continue on. Turn your eyes to the Cross of Christ and let Him be your example. Unite your sufferings to His own, and seek out the healing peace of Confession. Remember that you are not completely alone on your walk. I am praying for you every day.
That's what I wish I had said. I went with the ever more eloquent "I'm sorry. That sucks. I've been there." I'm not always as quick on my feet as I'd like to be. It happens.
Will you do me a favor? Will you say a quick prayer for my friend? An Our Father? Something? Will you consider taking him to Mass or Adoration with you this week? His burden is very heavy and he could use some lifting up.