Love does not brood over injuries!

As I was preparing to pray the rosary at 3:30 today with EWTN, Fr. Clifford was ending his brief talk using the “love” verses St. Paul is so famous for. You and I have heard them perhaps hundreds of times, but the one the jumped out at me with an incredible grace for the moment was “Love does not brood over injuries.” I could see in a glance, as it were, the pattern in my past life that has been so much a hidden part of my personality. This must be what people who have come back from a death experience try to tell us. You see yourself in a clear light that reveals your entire history.

Has anyone received insights into how to overcome this? Maybe I just need to pray about it and ask God to continue to open my mind to what He wants to teach me.

I realize some folks become abrasive and defensive when an injury is peceived. Others withdraw into solitude so that nobody will be able to hurt them again. Perhaps they even abandon a friendship and carry silent resentment whenever they see the person again. A pattern of rejection that causes one to feel injured may cause each person to react differently to cover and heal their wounds.

Immediately following the rosary, Fr. Gallagher began his program on St. Ignatius’s “examen.” He mentioned, of all incidences, St. Therese’s extreme sensitivity that she overcame through a special grace that God gave her on Christmas Eve when she overheard a remark from her Papa that would have normally sent her into a bout of tears. It seemed like God was working overtime today to speak to me.

Anyone have a comment or thought?

ai have been thinking over some very similar thoughts myself lately. Now when I find myself brooding over that sort of thing, I mentally jostle myself and remind myself i am not supposed to think negative thoughts. If i have trouble getting away from them, I pray to St Michael, Mary, and Christ to help me, each in their own way.

Why is thinking about these things detrimental to one’s spiritual life and relationship with God?

That is a tough question, but I think for me it seems to mess up my “acceptance of what God sends.” IOW, I need to see the bad things that happen as a part of God’s plan for me, right? Well, if I am brooding over them, I am actually not accepting them as something God permitted for my own good. I am not “thanking and praising God in **all **things.”

I have also had to fight a battle of years with brooding over things which hurt me. I am finally beginning to see that these things certainly don’t change the people who did the hurting, but do mess up my spiritual life by brooding on them! I have started with forgiving each one which comes to mind. Doesn’t mean I FEEL all friendly toward them suddenly, in fact the things which hurt still hurt. But I make a beginning. Gradually the hurt goes away, and I can look at those incidents without any feelings of hurt or resentment or anger. God has been very gradually teaching me to just let them go. It takes awhile, and sometimes I have to start over again with especially deep wounds, but eventually even those fade and I can leave them behind. It just takes some work and a lot of prayer. I may even (hopefully) live long enough to be free of the hurt and anger so that none of them bother me anymore! God knows what we need, and provides it when we are ready to receive His Wisdom and learn to act upon His teachings.

Sirach2, profound thoughts. Thanks for sharing, and may God continue to bless your journey.

St Francis, perhaps God doesn’t send all ‘bad things’. Sometimes the bad things are consequence of our own unwise choices and sometimes also due to our own failures to live in God’s love and goodness or by others’ failures to love God and to treat others, including us, with respect and love. God’s grace works with us to overcome these consequences and to grow humanly, spiritually.

Our focus upon what is good and what is gift is important, as was evident from the beginning when God’s spirit was given to the first humans. Adam and Eve’s, (our?) greatest sin was of ingratitude, of focusing upon the one negative. God gave all things to them (us?), but instead of rejoicing in all the good gifts, they focused their attention on obtaining the one thing they were denied.

Perhaps the best antidote to our negativity and focus upon the hurts and the deprivations, is to give genuine effort each day to recognition and gratitude of all that is good in God, in other, in our world, and in the gift of life, faith, soul, redemption that God offers us. Then we may learn to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”* Philippians 4:4*
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This is so true! Sirach2, thank you for bringing this up today. I’ve had a renewed struggle with this recently.

I didn’t start to appreciate the poetic spiritual wisdom of Fr. Leo Clifford until after he passed away. May he rest in peace.

We are not required to pursue a person in friendship if they manipulate, belittle and gossip. If a person shows that they are obstinate in toxic behavior, leaving them to stew in their own juices is appropriate. I am going through this currently. However, I make it a point to acknowledge my sadness and then set it aside. I avoid them when I can, but am civil if I cannot avoid them. I choose to be kind, even if they aren’t. But I no longer seek them out in any way. That is how I apply this passage of Scripture in my life with regards to injured friendships. I am also praying that God will help me to love them anyway, but from a distance, with a more disinterested love, that doesn’t rely upon any sort of kindness from them.

Oh my, so many good thoughts to reflect upon! Thanks everyone!

I became pretty good at accepting most of the time, but inwardly, I see that in some circumstances, I carry sadness due to the actions of others. It is difficult to get these remembrances out of my head, especially when they come in bunches upon bunches, like a heavy rain. These distractions DO mess up my spiritual life, as Judy noted, because they interfere with my focus in prayer. Right?

This gives me much peace, too, Trishie. I am soooo aware of God’s many gifts that I can never thank Him enough for all of them. At each mass, I remember to add gratitude for His gifts in my intention. I suppose the poignancy of these “broods” could be lessened somewhat if I could remember to thank Him for these troubles. :shrug:

I heartily agree with this, since it is the fruit of wisdom. I honestly believe I have forgiven those who offend me and I even pray for them – with fervor – but it doesn’t completely stop me from remembance and sadness, which I am calling “brooding.”

Why do we have trouble ridding ourselves of these thoughts? Why can’t we turn the remote in our mind to a better channel? Maybe God, who brought this to my attention today, will give me more insight as we approach the start of a New Year. Perhaps this will be a priority for my NY resolutions. :smiley:

Livingwordunity, Yes, Fr. Clifford can really send a punch if we are truly listening. I remember seeing you on OBOB. How nice to meet you here.

AgnesTherese :wink: Maybe we can both benefit from this. Let’s trust God to teach us.

I am at this point too. I should not stew in resentments forever, but I used to think if I knew someone from my community that I had do just stay close friends no matter what, even if they were doing the above actions or worse leading me astray. A lot of people like having me around because they need someone to take out their anger on. I realized I dont have to get mad or fight but I also dont have to stay. It hurts my soul and theirs to stay in something toxic. Of course this is not people I have made commitments towards. But I acknowledge the hurt and try to forgive. Jesus forgave his killers for their crimes. He said they did not know what they were doing and forgave them. He did not pretend they did not do anything wrong.

I try to stay close to my loyal and Godly friends who I trust to have my soul’s best interest at heart. Mommamaree I wish I could be good at setting boundaries like you mentioned. I get lonely and unable to say no when people want to hang out. I need to be better at that. It is just fear of being alone.

Hi Sirach –

You’ve hit upon one of the most difficult aspects of our spiritual life … the purification of our memory. As I’m sure you know, I’ve always been fascinated by St. John of the Cross’ treatment of this in Book 3 of The Ascent. And each time I read these chapters I see something new … for I see so much of my own walk in the spiritual life is wrapped up in these matters.

Your post brought some thoughts to mind that might help some who are following along. First, our memories have two principal powers: the capacity to remember … and to forget. And what is stunning to me reading St. John is that our tranquility of soul is directly tied to our ability “to forget” and mentally walk away from situations that rob us of our recollection and peace … precisely the type of things you mention in your post. He uses very specific words to describe the state of rest we are to seek in the depth of our souls so that we can remain continually in His presence. Two in particular come to mind: oblivion and void. For the longest time I had an incomplete understanding of what those two words mean until I saw a literal translation from Spanish to English. No, it is not some sort of blanking of the mind as a superficial reading might lead one to believe. Rather, oblivion simply means “to forget” … and void means “to disengage” ourselves from that which preoccupies us. In my own simple way of thinking I’ve always called this “changing the channel of the movies that run in our minds.”

Second, I’m beginning to see in reading (and living) St. John of the Cross how emotionally laden our memories are. Like a movie sound track, our memories capture and store not only “what” happened in the past … but how we “felt” about it. So when our memory recalls an event to mind … it is our will that latches on to it and clings to it. And what the will is doing is savoring and rehashing “the feeling” of the past … the joy, sorrow, hurt feelings … whatever.

Compounding matters, our memory in this regard has a hair trigger … it doesn’t take much to set it off and breaking the pattern of mental preoccupation with matters that draw us away from God’s embrace is exceedingly difficult to do once we let it take root for even the shortest of time. The satisfaction of the emotion (be it good or bad) can be quite addicting. And it is all so self-serving. Ever notice how often we embellish in our mind or edit out uncomfortable facts in our interior monologue with ourselves based on whatever emotional need we have at the time of recalling?

This passage from The Ascent sums up what I’m trying to say:

[quote=Ascent 3.5.1-2]The soul is incapable of truly acquiring control of the passions and restriction of the inordinate appetites without forgetting and withdrawing from the sources of these emotions. Disturbances never arise in a soul unless through the apprehensions of the memory. When all things are forgotten, nothing disturbs the peace or stirs the appetites. As the saying goes: What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t want. We experience this all the time. We observe that as often as people begin to think about some matter, they are moved and aroused over it, little or much, according to the kind of apprehension. If the apprehension is bothersome and annoying, they feel sadness or hatred, and so on; if agreeable, they experience desire and joy, and so on.

Or to put it more simply in the words of Brother Lawrence: “Thoughts spoil everything; that’s how trouble starts!

Or to illustrate in the form of parable, I came upon this little story that hopefully captures the subtle danger we place ourselves in when we latch onto past experiences and cling to them … especially when the dominate emotion involved is brooding over past hurts, nursing wrongs or indulging anxieties.

[quote=Ascent Reflections, Fr. Foley]Once, two monks came to a river where a young woman, wary of crossing, was standing. The older monk offered his assistance and carried her across the river on his back. After he set her down on the other side, the two monks continued their journey in silence. The younger monk was very disturbed and preoccupied regarding what he had just witnessed. Many hours later he erupted with indignation: “How could you do such a thing! Our training tells us to avoid contact with women, but you picked her up and carried her.” The old monk replied, “Yes, but I set her down at the river bank. Why are you still carrying her?”

That story really hit home for me for the simple wisdom is so readily apparent!

Lastly, I’ve posted this link before but do so again since this thread speaks of matters so near and dear to my heart. The “Our Carmelite Promises” talks #7 and #8 are my own personal testimony on how the Holy Spirit has taught me to handle such matters:

I share these talks here Sirach since it was you who first encouraged me to put them down in writing in the first place.

I hope something here in this rambling post is of help to those reading along!


I have always found comfort in praying for the people who hurt me. Maybe there was someone in their life that hurt them so badly that they have become so embittered. They need my prayers more than I need the comfort from there hurt to me. God bless all.

Your words are like a golden beam to light my path, as always! I haven’t read your link yet, but just in case you are still around before bedtime, I wanted to send my deepest thanks. Of all people, I can count on you to understand, since we both are students of St. John of the Cross.

Yes, the memory is a troublesome part of our intellect, and this is where I think God is calling me to stop rehashing. You and I have shared some difficulties experienced within our families, and I sense that coming today, the Feast of the Holy Family, God’s timing with this precious insight is spot on! How beautifully He orchestrates everything to help us “see.”

More tomorrow after I read your link. My very best to you, dear friend.

Dave: Thank you for the Carmelite Formation Lessons!! I joined the Third Order Secular Franciscans in 1990 after completing my novitiate with them. I was then required to move to this state, and there are no Secular Franciscans here. I did have a Franciscan Priest nearby for awhile, but he has retired and moved to a retirement home in Texas, so I only see him every few years. I have considered being released from the Secular Franciscans and joining the Carmelite Seculars, since there is a group in the largest city in my State, but I fear driving in the large cities after so long in a rural area and not used to much traffic, and getting old now (I’m 72) driving in heavy traffic worries me.

I finally decided that making a Consecration to Jesus through Mary and following the Teachings of St. Teresa of Avila as well as what I have learned from St. Therese the Little Flower might meet my needs for more spiritual direction. Unfortunately, my current priest doesn’t seem to be very good at Spiritual Direction (at least not with me or other women). So, I am looking for a Spiritual Director in a city about 40 miles away which I feel more comfortable driving in, since I am familiar with it. Is it possible to obtain the lessons of the Carmelite Novitiate and Spirituality for Seculars, or is what I am doing sufficient? I feel the need for a good spiritual direction and formation of my heart, mind, will and soul.

I have struggled with the “forgive and forget” philosophy, possibly due to dealing with repetitive and addictive behaviors around some relatives and friends. The “forget” part feels as if I would be welcoming and abetting more repetitive and destructive behaviors.

Through the years I have come to the awareness that the difficulty in “brooding over injuries” or not forgetting, is very human, especially amongst those who are overcoming past traumas and injuries. Jesus stated that we should forgive “seventy times seven” and it is clear to me that in these words, He sees and addresses very clearly our human difficulties in letting go of past hurts and how to do so in an active way…not once, but hundreds of times.



I listened to the first talk so far. It is so full of spiritual wisdom that I need to spend lots of time digesting it. This is the paragraph that jumped out at me:


But this is exceedingly difficult work … true interior asceticism that places us in the path of all sorts of traps that trip us up. As St. John teaches,** the devil uses our memory to prey on our weaknesses.**
So the key here is to know – really know – our dominate fault; which of the seven deadly sins most easily draws us away from His presence. Passions are one of the ways the devil does his work:** he stirs our feelings and emotions until they run amok**. When we dwell on these in our mind we’re clinging to an attachment and allowing our appetites to control us.

Recently, when the mental attack was most severe due to a circumstance inflicted on me by a family member, I had a terrible time trying to obliterate it from my mind. I kept praying Jesus’s name, over and over. The jabbing, from what I came to believe was Satan, was incessant. St. Catherine of Siena came to mind. She asked Our Lord about the filthy movies in her mind that plagued her. He told her that He was right there in her heart helping her to dispel them. It was meritorious for her to fight against them, but it did not prevent the battle from taking place. :frowning:

I am beginning to see that our spiritual enemy does not wish us to enter into silence or recollection and will do everything in his power to thwart us. The grace I received yesterday afternoon tells me Our Lord is helping me to discover my weakest point and become strong through constant effort to “silence” it. Purification of the memory and using the “will” to return to silence.

What a wonderful meditation, Dave. It is just what I needed to read. More after talk 2.

The D-R Bible does not use the phrase “it does not brood over injury”.
It says “thinketh no evil”. I find that easier to understand.

4 Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up,

5 Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil,

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth:

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth; whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed.

That may be true, Thistle, but Fr. Clifford used the exact words “brood over injury” in his talk. It suggested to me a sadness that replays over and over in one’s mind. Had he used the wording as it is recorded in D-R, I would probably not be attuned to it at all. :wink: God used Father’s words to get my attention, for I don’t normally listen to Fr. Clifford, other than having the channel ready in preparation for the rosary to follow.

What I find praying for those who have wronged me is that it helps me heal from being angry, hurt, bitter, resentful and it helps to curb the feelings of wanting to seek revenge for it. It is like everything just melts away into Jesus’ Divine Love and Mercy. Hopefully it helps them in some way too!

I have to thank my priest for suggesting it. I believe it helps so much when I start struggling from detachments of anger and hurt.

I could be wrong but I beleive what makes this very tricky and dificult to navigate is that in our forgiving and forgetting we still have the moral obligation to protect the week and vulnerable and in taking actions to do this you are having to try to explain why you are taking these actions and it is like not only reopening the wounds but having salt being poured into it and rubbed around because others tell you that because you are taking the actions you are taking to protect the week and vulnerable that means you have not forgiven and forgotten and are harboring anger and hate and that is really the reason you are taking the actions you are. It is something I am currently struggleing with and trying very hard to navigate through it all. If it was not for my husband, three priests and a brother reminding me that I have a moral obligation to protect the week and vulnerable and God’s Divine Grace and Mercy to remember exactly why and what I have to protect the week and vulnerable from and I am sure that if it was not for remembering and thier many prayers I would have subcummed to subjecting myself and others to more abuse. Sometime I really do feel like I suffer from a form of battered wife syndrome.
My prayers are with everyone please keep me in yours as I try to navigate through some really trough rescissions I am seeing myself facing these days.
Sirach- thank you for this thread. In a way it is helping me to keep focuse on a balance I am really struggleing with keeping these days.

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