Today has been a very busy day for me. Tonight begins the first of a four-part teaching series at my parish on Understanding Suffering and Illness. I’ve been preparing for this since last term and alongside all of the other work I’ve had to keep up on it’s kept me busy. Today was full of last minute preparations, and so I offer a saying and a commentary by Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.
A brother asked one of the fathers, “Are you defiled by having wicked thoughts?” There was a discussion about this, and some said “Yes”, and others “No.” The brother went to a very experienced old man and asked him about what was being discussed. The old man said, “What is required of each person is regulated according to his capacity.”
And the commentary:
Sin is sin, but people live with different degrees of pressure and temptation. … No one knows for sure how hard temptation might bear on another. It is like Augustine exclaiming in exasperated compassion, when faced with Pelagian teachers who insisted that all sin was a fully conscious rejection of God, “Most sins are committed by people weeping and groaning.” A temptation that might seem trivial to you could be crushing to another; an obsession that haunts you day and night may be incomprehensible to someone else. … everyone comes from a different past, with different memories and abilities.” (Where God Happens, p 40)