Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I've oft been told by learned friars,
That wishing and the crime are one,
And Heaven punishes desires
As much as if the deed were done.
If wishing damns us, you and I
Are damned to all our heart's content;
Come, then, at least we may enjoy
Some pleasure for our punishment!
- Thomas Moore, Irish Poet, born
on this day, 1779
DTSLJ. This is my version of the popular WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) It means, “Does This Sound Like Jesus?” Unhappily, it is unpronounceable – though perhaps in Welsh???
So, here we go. Jesus is reported to have said that if we think some sin, it is as if we actually committed. So, what do I understand that to mean. What the “learned friars” seem to have taught Thomas? Nope.
We all think amazing things. But the critical thing is, do we act on them! Being human, we are going to fantasize, etc. It’s a given of being human. God, I have often thought of horrible ways to kill those I despise (and that’s another issue of moving towards conversion – a life-long Journey!) If Jesus said it at all, I do not think He meant that thinking sinful things was the same as actual sinning. He was simply trying to warn us that if we nurture thinking unloving things, we are likely to be led to do unloving things. But thinking and doing are different. It’s a version of “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.
Thomas Moore was making the same point, I think, that I’m making. And he was also saying that we human beings are meant to wish that we might have “some pleasure” in our lives. Especially in the gift of love given to us. God wants us to have pleasure! Boo hiss on those who have made God out to be the divine version of Cotton Mather and all those souls look like a desiccated prune!!
“Heaven” loves the desire for joy and pleasure and enjoyment of God’s blessings.
Listen to Thomas Moore!