Sunday, March 13, 2011


Thomas Merton by jimforest

Thomas Merton a photo by jimforest on Flickr.

I've been reflecting on the medication from Thursday now for three days.  First, I haven't heard the word "compunction" for years!!!  And then I tried to remember how it was that I had learned about it.  Well, I can't remember.  So, I'm thinking this is a new lesson I need to learn.  

According to Thomas Merton...

Compunction is a baptism of sorrow, in which the tears of the penitent are a psychological but also deeply religious purification, preparing  and disposing him for the sacramental waters of baptism or for the sacrament of penance.   

He goes on to say...

The acceptance of reality is always a liberation from the burden of illusion that we strive to justify by our errors and our sins.  Compunction is a necessary sorrow, but it is followed by joy and relief because it wins for us one of the greatest blessing: the light of truth and grace of  humility.

The question posed for the reflection asks, "What are the illusions in my life that I accept as my reality?"

I tried considering things in my life that I see as reality that are just illusions.   An analogy came to mind this morning.  I was reminded of the time I had a facial.  My goodness it was wonderful and relaxing.  It lasted an hour and I really felt better afterward.  The illusion, to me, is that I really look so much better and that I might indeed just look a few years younger.  The reality is I am still 64 and younger I am not.  The reality too is that I did feel better.

So compunction is the facial.  Time must be taken to cleanse and refresh.  This may not be as pleasant as the facial had been but it is required of me if I am to experience the joy of true penance for my sins.  This means I must be serious about my sins...Yes, admit it you SIN, Cathy.  You are not so holy!  In many ways I am the Pharisee  In the front of church thanking God for my "holiness," when I should be the sinner in the back asking for forgiveness.   

I'm still sure I understand it completely but at least I've spent time seriously reflection on it.  More time in reflection might just bring about even more understanding!

Thanks be to God! 


  1. This was a very contemplative and also humorous post.;) I love the way you draw your analogies.;))
    Now I know what compunction is.;)
    Have a great Monday Cathy,

  2. You are so right... it is a word that has gone out of vogue...and one that never should. I too so often feel least several times a day. Thoughts, words, actions, missed encounters, not doing what I should do... compunction - that's it exactly!
    Cathy, you are such a dear and I am always so happy when you pay me a visit!
    have a lovely week!


This has become a new adventure. One in which I will try to express my journey with providence.