Question


#1

Hello,

Again, no one else to talk with this about, so I am posting here:

I went out to lunch with a group of guys who I work with. I knew beforehand what conversation would probably steer towards – sinful topics, such as strip clubs and getting drunk – but I’ve been feeling so lonely lately and rather than feel somehow acting spiritually arrogant (as I have tended to in the past), pretending that I myself don’t have my own vices, I decided that I would brave the conversation and just enjoy their company and a few other laughs. And, of course, conversation steered toward strip clubs and getting drunk – but I didn’t laugh, break a smile, or join in. I just said a series of Hail Marys, and prayed for mercy on all of us.

I feel guilty, though. I feel guilty by association. I feel guilty because I wasn’t the voice crying out in the wilderness. Then I reflect, ‘Could I have been?’

I’m concerned because my own sinfulness is so apparent anymore, and temptation has been beating me over the head as of late. I know that I sin, even when I don’t want to, but am just curious if incidents like the above increase my culpability. There is, of course, the whole “avoid occassions of sin” thing, but if I did that I might as well kill myself or join a monastery in the Alps.


#2

I wouldn’t feel so guilty if I were you. It is hard to know how to act in those types of situations. I have many situations like that. I think it was St. Francis that said “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” So sitting back and praying and not joining in in the conversation is the right thing to do. For one, if you were to tell them out right that what they talk about is wrong they might get upset and never want to associate with you again. I believe it is better for them to approach you. When they see you sitting there quietly they might ask you why you are so quiet or not participating in the conversation. Thats the perfect opportunity to “plant a seed”. You can just give them a simple explanation such as “These types of conversations do not interest me” or “I don’t enjoy participating in these types of conversations”. This way they are the ones that asked you and they don’t feel threatened by you trying to evangelize and they will be more likely to associate with you in the future. And the more you associate with them the more they will see how you act in those types of situations. And hopefully (if they are smart) will see the good in your lifestyle and wanted to be more like you.


#3

Thank you – I felt that was the case, but I am paranoid. :slight_smile:


#4

I think that you did the best for the circumstances. Further thoughts on a course of action, much from St. Maria Faustina’s Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul :o :blush:

This thread may help: Gnashing of Teeth forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=298829 If someone else is wrong, when to speak up and when to stay silent :eek:

1549 I want to live in the spirit of faith. I accept everything that comes my way as given to me by the loving will of God, who sincerely desires my happiness. And so I will accept with submission and gratitude everything that God sends me. I will pay no attention to the voice of nature and to the promptings of self-love. Before each important action, I will stop to consider for a moment what relationship it has to eternal life and what may be my main reason for my undertaking it: is it for the glory of God, or for the good of my own soul, or for the good of the souls of others? If my heart says yes, then I will not swerve from carrying out the given action, unmindful of either obstacles or sacrifices. I will not be frightened into abandoning my intention. It is enough for me to know that it is pleasing to God. On the other hand, if I learn that the action has nothing in common with what I have mentioned, I will try to elevate it to a loftier sphere by means of a good intention. And if I learn that something flows from my self-love, I will cancel it out right from the start.

1550 In cases of doubt, I will not act, but will scrupulously seek clarifications from the priests, and in particular from my spiritual director. I will not give explanations on my own behalf when someone reproaches me or criticizes me, unless I am directly asked to bear witness to the truth. With great patience, I will listen when others open their hearts to me, accept their sufferings, give them spiritual comfort, but drown my own sufferings in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will never leave the depths of His mercy, while bringing the whole world into those depths.

#??? There is nothing little in the spiritual life. Sometimes a seemingly insignificant thing will disclose a matter of great consequence and will be for the confessor a beam of light which helps him to get to know the soul. Many spiritual undertones are concealed in little things.

#1356 When I hestitate on how to act in some situations, I always ask love. It advises best.

Excerpt from #1486. Jesus: True, My child, all that is painful. But there is no way to heaven except the way of the cross. I followed it first. You must learn that it is the shortest and surest way.

1728 Write: I am Thrice Holy, and I detest the smallest sin. I cannot love a soul which is stained with sin; but when it repents, there is no limit to My generosity toward it. My mercy embraces and justifies it. With My mercy, I pursue sinners along all their paths, and My Heart rejoices when they return to Me. I forget the bitterness with which they fed My Heart and rejoice at their return.

Tell sinners that no one shall escape My Hand; if they run away from My Merciful Heart, they will fall into My Just Hands. Tell sinners that I am always waiting for them, that I listen intently to the beating of their heart… when will it beat for Me? Write, that I am speaking to them through the remorse of conscience, through their failures and sufferings, through thunderstorms, through the voice of the Church. And if they bring all My graces to naught, I begin to be angry with them, leaving them alone and giving them what they want

Maybe individual circumstances are extremely and most important. If you may or may not be saved and your friend is a devout Catholic who lunches with you and listens to you talk about strip clubs and drinking, what would you want your friend to do? Would you want him to refrain from making a well-intentioned comment that might stir you to defensiveness and anger so you cut off the friendship and some other time when you are in an open mood, it may be hard to be led to Christ through this relationship? Or would you want him to take you aside later, in a private location and speak to you about how he overcame his own emptiness, struggle with strip-clubs, drinking, and recklessness? Only Jesus and Mary know.

Though feelings are untrustworthy - it might help me to both analyze the situation logically and also discern how I feel. Do I feel guilty like Judas, wanting to return the gold (benefit I receive from silence) and go to Confession or do I feel patient, endurant, and suffering like Christ when people tried to condemn him using his own words in order to accuse him for the Crucifixion

You are in my prayers. :slight_smile:

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee and those who do not!
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#5

Everything is spiritual warfare so some words for the struggle. :slight_smile:

#1760 My daughter, I want to teach you about spiritual warfare. Never trust in yourself, but abandon yourself totally to My will. In desolation, darkness and various doubts, have recourse to Me and to your spiritual director. He will always answer you in My name. Do not bargain with any temptation; lock yourself immediately in My Heart and, at the first opportunity, reveal the temptation to the confessor. Put your self-love in the last place, so that it does not taint your deeds. Bear with yourself with great patience. Do not neglect interior mortifications. Always justify to yourself the opinions of your superiors and of your confessor. Shun murmurers like a plague. Let all act as they like; you are to act as I want you to.

Observe the rule as faithfully as you can. If someone causes you trouble, think what good you can do for the person who caused you to suffer.

Do not pour out your feelings. Be silent when you are rebuked. Do not ask everyone’s opinion, but only the opinion of your confessor; be as frank and simple as a child with him. Do not become discouraged by ingratitude. Do not examine with curiosity the roads down which I lead you. When boredom and discouragement beat against your heart, run away from yourself and hide in My heart. Do not fear struggle; courage itself often intimidates temptations, and they dare not attack us.

Always fight with the deep conviction that I am with you. Do not be guided by feeling, because it is not always under your control; but all merit lies in the will. Always depend upon your superiors, even in the smallest things. I will not delude you with prospects of peace and consolations; on the contrary, prepare for great battles. Know that you are now on a great stage where all heaven and earth are watching you. Fight like a knight so that I can reward you. Do not be unduly fearful, because you are not alone.

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee and those who do not!
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#6

The monastery in the Alps doesn’t sound like such a bad idea!:smiley:

Seriously, it doesn’t - but it does seem as if you might withdraw for a time from these particular friends (could they or their discussions, unknowingly of course, be an occasion of sin for you?). Not a big rejection of either society in general or of these people, but sometimes we need some space just to “get our heads on right again”.:shrug:


#7

I don’t do much with these guys as is, in all honesty. I work with them, of course, which can’t be avoided since we work in the same department, but conversation there is typically sparse but that isn’t to say that similar conversations don’t happen. This is how I knew what I was getting myself into. My logic is: Are they sinful? Yes, but so am I. And, as already stated, I don’t do much with them on a social basis, as is – for a number of other reasons. It was just this one occassion where, feeling lonely and not having anyone else willing to do anything, I took my chances with these guys knowing what to expect. The trick, I knew, was practicing self-control…which was difficult because I’m horrible for giving in to peer pressure…but I’m proud of how I acted, but nonetheless walked away concerned. Certainly I could have made better choices in my lunch mates…but because I didn’t, am I culpable? That was and is my concern.


#8

I wouldn’t really worry about it. It sounds as if you handled yourself pretty well. If it helps (and I can’t imagine when it wouldn’t :wink: ) say a Hail Mary and/or a Divine Mercy chaplet, as a personal penance (but for what I don’t know - I guess, in case you said or did anything to make Him unhappy?).


#9

I wouldn’t really worry about it. It sounds as if you handled yourself pretty well. If it helps (and I can’t imagine when it wouldn’t :wink: ) say a Hail Mary and/or a Divine Mercy chaplet, as a personal penance (but for what I don’t know - I guess, in case you said or did anything to make Him unhappy?). Remember, we are called to be in the world, but just not of the world.


#10

Yes, it is true one should avoid temptations. Just as I don’t want to watch many rated R movies because I don’t want to fill my mind with sinful ideas. But when it comes to social situations, it is a little different. With the example of a movie, you are not socializing with the movie. When it comes to human beings they are people that I believe need to be exposed to good Christian people. Otherwise they will be lost forever. So instead of looking at in a way that you are putting yourself in a spot that could lead you to sin, look at in away that you are putting them in a spot to see the goodness in the world. Of course, only do this if you are certain you can resist temptations. And since this was just a conversation I believe (at least in my case) it is easier to avoid temptation by just not talking than it would be if you were in a situation where they are trying to get you to do something sinful. Remember Jesus would go into the house of a sinner. But he still did not sin. He did not participate in there sinfulness. Pray often. And don’t expose yourself to these types of people all of the time. But, as in your case with coleagues at work, I think it is good to converse with these people once in awhile. But the main thing is to pray. And be certain you can avoid temptation. Which is exactly what you did. And I think what you did was awesome.


#11

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