Two women at my church said the same thoughtless comment to me on separate occasions and one of them was a nun. They both said I must not be coming to church anymore because they hardly see me. The nun went so far as to say, I started wondering if you’re even Catholic anymore. I am at my church all the time, behind the scenes, teaching classes, creating newsletters, leading evangelization, starting new outreach ministries, organizing special evangelization events, coordinating book clubs, hosting movies nights, using my creative talents to evangelize, etc., etc. I just don’t thump my chest about it. And yes, I never miss Mass. I guess what really angered me was that no one within earshot of this comment, who knew what I contribute to this parish, bothered to defend me. One of those people was my own spouse, who didn’t want to “rock the boat”. By the way, both women also said, I see your spouse at church all the time but not you. Although I had a shocked reaction both times, neither woman bothered to apologize. One of them said she was kidding, but frankly it came off rather flip and she didn’t admit that it may have been a stupid joke. This comment ruined my day because I expend my time, talent, and treasury toward evangelization at my church, and this is the thanks I get. It’s times like these I feel under-appreciated.
. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt …
I can understand your distress. What snarky things for folks to say.
You could point out to that person that you don’t always go to the same Mass each week. You could ask them why they weren’t paying attention to Mass, instead of looking about them to do a head count. I’ve had friends ask if I hadn’t seen them at Church, and I tell them that I was taught that it was a sin to be turning around in the pew to check the people out.
Mostly, you need to pray for them, because they are in need of help.
This prayer was written by Blessed Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), the secretary of state for Pope Saint Pius X. It is a very good daily prayer, especially when recited in front of a crucifix so that we can recall the humility of Christ.
You should recite the italicized responses (“deliver me, O Jesus” for the first two thirds of the prayer and “O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it” for the final third) after each line of the litany.
Litany of Humility
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
That others may be loved more than I, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That, in the opinion of the world, others may, increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That is a beautiful litany. We should all be so humble–but boy is it hard!
They are probably jeolous of all the work you are doing in the church and this is their immature was of getting your goat. If you know what your are doing and it is for the Lord, then don’t let these busy bodies bother you or ruin your day, especially a Nun who is working for the Church. You don’t answer to them and when your go to Mass with or without your spouse is none of their business.
Those kind of catty comments just destory a parish. These are narrow minded busy bodies. Don’t pay any attention to them. Your own conscience is what you have to live with. You are doing fine, ignore the ignorant.
Every parish, and every large human groups, always have a few really MEAN people. I suspect these comments were not thoughtless, but were INTENTIONAL twists of the truth made for the purpose of wounding you. But why would they do such a thing? I have noticed that some people feel competitive with others in groups and so, when they think a person is weak and defenseless, or when they think they can get away with it, will strike out to wound others as a way of advancing their own status in the group. But why would Christian people do such things? Sadly, many church attending people don’t practice “love thy neighbor” very much. That’s my perception. I don’t practice it all that much myself! Well, at least, there are people who will say that. I fall down in the “love thy neighbor” department all the time. What should you? Don’t be shocked when others in a parish say wantonly cruel and false things to your face or about you behind your back. EXPECT IT. Just brush it off. Even Mother Angelica, the founder of ETWN, had a never-ending line of severe critics and rumor mongers. Of course, everyone needs some true friends and allies, and I hope you can find those. But don’t expect everyone in a parish or anywhere to be decent, fair, or on the side of Good. Remember Jesus has his Judas.
God bless us all.
“Gosh, you haven’t seen me?? I guess I will just have to wear brighter colors then, because I am here a LOT!!” (with a smile!)
“You say you haven’t seen me? Good, I’m training to be a Catholic Ninja!”
Yeah that did sound mean. Next time say “Why are you looking at my husband? I’m always here.” LOL That should shut them up.
Dear sister in Christ, you ought to realize that the Beloved is sharing a bit of cross with your. Be humble before such unjust remarks, and do not seek human consolation, neither in the form of you defending yourself (unless their remark are reason for scandal among other faithful) nor in the form of others defending you: God alone suffices. What you do, you do for Him. What you are, you are in His eyes, and you certainly do not seek worldly recognition. Seek indeed to be underappreciated, for many of us seek this blessing yet few find it.
Meditate on Our Lady, who in Egypt was treated as a foreigner, and in her own land was despised by many who despised the Lord, and later by many who considered her to be the mother of a criminal condemned by the teachers of the law and put to death by the Roman authority. Think of all she had to suffer, how many such remarks she must have heard throughout her life. Think of how many amidst her very children in grace still despise her, not only those who do not know her, but also those who, being Catholic, are supposed to know her and still treat her harshly. What would she do? What does she do? Imitate her
I do not know if you are familiar with Story of a Soul, the diary of the little flower and Doctor of the Church s. Therese of Lisieux. It is a nice reading that may help you bear with kindness and humbleness these little thorns that are just part of the roses the Beloved sends you from heaven.
Amen, although difficult to do,Jesus wants this to be our attitude. Start also by praying for these who made the comment and ask His blessing on their lives. Forgive them and if you lack feelings to forgive ignore feelings just say something like “I forgive ____(name) in the Name of our Blessed Savior and commit them into His care, for they know not what they did”. Prayer for their good is very important. It will help change you also and help you to see others through His eyes. The evil one would have us respond differently. Remember who you serve and trust in His healing by loving Him enough to love your neighbor. He will heal you as you forgive and pray for them. My prayers too.
Love in Him,
This is so good, thank you for sharing it:)
Thank you for this beautiful reminder. So difficult to do, yet it is our training in holiness.
Love the Litany of Humility as well.
I just looked that up before reading this thread, it came to mind. I will take it as a nudge that I should be reading this daily as part of my birthday gift to the Christ Child Who was so humble that He took on flesh and was born in lowliness.
The insults are only words. We have not been asked to shed our blood for Christ. Yet.
We must find how to manage our little thorns in the meantime! The grace I wish for all of us!
This is what I’d reply to the busybodies:
I am at my church all the time, behind the scenes, teaching classes, creating newsletters, leading evangelization, starting new outreach ministries, organizing special evangelization events, coordinating book clubs, hosting movies nights, using my creative talents to evangelize, etc., etc.
How come I never see YOU, Sister Nebby, doing any of those things? How is it that the only time I ever see you is at Mass? Sister, if you were spending more of your time working on church activities, you’d see a lot more of me.
Those are some very catty remarks. And one from the Lord’s “chosen”. I’ll admit to being hurt (and shocked) by remarks made by some CAF posters, the remarks being in the “I’m holier-than-thou and entitled to throw stones at you” category. I need to say the Litany of Humility to acclimate to such things. A beautiful prayer.
I think you need to re-evaluate your purpose for serving the Church. We are not supposed to do it because of praise or the recognition of others. We serve because we love Christ and want to serve His Church. Christ sees all that you do and will reward you for it in heaven. It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks of you here or that they don’t notice (that’s a good thing!). Christ said:
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:5-6
Seek your reward from your heavenly Father!
Awe, Sorry to hear this. In my experience with Nuns, is they are wonderful but not much in the personality department. I think our Nun in our Church is great when you talk to her on the phone or email. In person she comes off as curt and a little rough around the edges. Is there a chance you could of misinterpreted her sense of humor. Merry Christmas BTW. I hope you don’t let these comments detour you from Gods work. Its not him but the people that ruin our works in the Church.
Believe me, I know where you’re coming from! There used to be a parishioner at my church who used to do this.
When he said to me, “Hey Bezant, I noticed you came to Mass late,” I replied, all in good humour, “Tsk-tsk-tsk…you weren’t paying during attention to the Mass, I see!”
After that he shut up and minded his business as he well should have.
Bottom line: it’s their problem, not yours, and they’re not worth the anxiety. Your parishoners and spouse appeared to recognise it and that likely is the reason no one spoke out.
Remember that God counts our good deeds even if no one else does. Continue to do what you do and don’t forget to smile.
…Perhaps not a very pastoral response to someone who has already been injured by another?