“Thanks …… I Needed That”

In the movies from the ’40’s & ’50’s, subtle correction was usually not present. If someone was losing a grip due to some trauma, John Wayne would slap him across the face and say, “Snap Out Of It …slap,slap,slap…..Snap Out Of It”….. and the recipient would say, “Ahhhh, thanks, I needed that.”  

Depending on the circumstances, the remedy to getting us out of a funk can vary quite a bit. Sometimes we need the drastic bucket of cold water or slap in the face and other times we need a more empathetic medicine. Jesus applied “different strokes for different folks”…..different remedies…..a quiet explanation to a disciple who messed up (e.g. Thomas, Peter) , or a “turn over the tables of the money changers or blasting of the Pharisees as white washed sepulchers ….” The goal in each case was to get them back on the right track. At times we really do need something drastic to get us back on track…..sometimes “stupid deserves appropriate consequences so we don’t do stupid again and again.” (Jim Langley, 4th Quarter Strategies) 

I found a meditation by Mother Agnes of Jesus († 1951), the sister of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, helpful when we need other than a “kick in the pants”. She writes:“They were going up to Jerusalem and Jesus walked ahead of them, and his disciples followed him trembling (Mk 10:32). Does not that happen to us sometimes; we follow Jesus trembling when we know he is leading us to Calvary? But we need not worry, we do not offend him by trembling; we would offend him only if we refused to follow him…. may we always follow him step by step; and if we are so weak that we run away for a time ….. may we come back to him without delay. 

Never doubt his love and mercy, ….. God only asks to overwhelm us with grace. …. Remember that our sweet Savior has promised us the Holy Spirit under the title of Comforter. He must therefore know that we are weak, that our exile is painful, that even the most strongly established virtue can fail, and that often everything around us seems to combine to make us weep, seeing that we no longer have the strength to row because the wind is against us. He comes to us in the night of trial. We must do our best simply and humbly. You have only to acknowledge in the depths of your heart that you are unworthy of so many blessings and immediately you will be pure. “O my God, make me more and more aware of my weakness, but at the same time of your divine strength.” (ref. Magnificat, 1-21-23)

What beautiful thoughts from Mother Agnes. I have to admit I prefer her approach more that John Wayne’s “kick in the pants” approach. Yet I have needed both over the years. Truly sometimes “stupid needs a kick, so I don’t do stupid again.” 

Whichever approach the Lord is currently implementing on our behalf, it’s based on his perfect love for us. We are precious to our Lord. He is about rescuing us and getting us ready for our home in heaven. So Lord, whichever approach you are currently using on my behalf, “thanks, I needed that.” And that is very good news. 

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