IT'S YOM KIPPUR AND WE'RE SENDING SAINT CHARBEL TO ISRAEL!
There’s a first time for everything and today is no different. We just sent our very first hand-painted saint medal package to Israel. Yacov in Haifa ordered Saint Charbel, a Miracle Worker! Our story comments about the miracle of finding cures from paralysis and asks for Saint Sharbel/Charbel’s help.
Thank you, Yacov, for reminding us! Saint Charbel just doesn’t get out and about as much as we’d like. Mazel Tov!
Speaking of Israel, It’s Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Although I’m not Jewish, I like the concept of a Day of Reflection and Redemption. It seems to be similar to Confession in Catholicism.
With Atonement, you are revisiting the things that are troubling you that no one knows about besides you. Baring your soul and seeking forgiveness for past mistakes in judgment. We all make mistakes. We all fail. This is reconciling!
Cancel Culture is the more common, prominent phrase these days. That’s the ever-present 2020’s notion that misdeeds must be punished, forever etched, or tattoed, for all to see and remember every single day, evermore. What about redemption, though?
Yom Kippur. A Day of Atonement. Trying to “Right the Wrongs,” or, at the very least, acknowledging mistakes and then trying to make amends to move forward.
There is something similar in the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. One of the 12 Steps has the alcoholic listing all of their mistakes and misdeeds, all the way back as far as can be recalled. The person in Recovery writes it all down and then tells another actual, living person, all of it. And if the Alcoholic’s Sponsor is playing their role properly, they listen. And listen. And care. Forgiving and Forgetting.
Apologies. Making Amends. Putting it All Out There. Reconciling with yourself and others you may have harmed. Recognizing you are making mistakes through your fault, in words and deeds, in what you have done but also what you failed to do. Surely this is a well-known refrain in Catholicism. Jews and Catholics are not as far apart as some may think.
In the 12 Step Program, you can put your own name on the list of those you have harmed, and rightfully so. In a broad sense, that is what it’s all about with Confession and Atonement. Finding the inner and outer strength to forgive yourself. It’s not supposed to be easy.
A Senior Rabbi at Sinai Temple, David Wolpe, wrote about the Day of Atonement the other day in a newspaper. He was discussing apologies, forgiveness, and atonement. Or that’s what I understood he said; he was offering atonement advice for those who have done wrong and for those who can’t forgive. You Know, “Holding Grudges”.
The Beauty of the Apology and Atonement measures in Judaism is clear, straightforward, and fresh. Every year you have Yom Kippur, the Most Holy Day. A Day of Atonement. It’s a “Thing.” And every day throughout the Jewish Year, a Jew is reminded that the Day of Atonement is coming along within 365 days. That’s what Jews can call a Day of Freedom to Purge. Getting the “Things Off your Chest.”
I did not even realize, I have been copying these concepts. Except I called it “Removing Clutter.” Acknowledging and addressing the things that are weighing heavy in the mind. I’m still working on it, but I have started. And, “Who Knew!?” Yom Kippur and the Day of Atonement offer a Guide Book. It’s three-fold, according to Wolpe:
Here’s how you atone, in 3 Easy Lessons:
1. You must apologize to those you’ve hurt, and sincerely, and as many as 3 times! All resentments must be shelved. All. It sure does sound arduous but that’s a little easier than the part of The Bible that says you must forgive your trespassers. That too seems simple enough. Except you have to forgive, not 3 times, but 70 x 7 times. Now, that’s what I call forgiveness. Golpe goes on and talks about Part II of practicing the Day of Atonement.
2. Serious and sustained reflection is the next order of the day. And with some sorrow, being sorry, and remorseful for your actions. Wolpe adds, “slow, careful restoration takes time.” And that the “one who is sorry and expects to stride right back, unblemished, is naïve or conniving.”
3. The third part pushes with expectations. You must change your ways. The sage Maimonides teaches that one who says,” I’ll sin and then repent” is off track. The Laws of Atonement do not allow this sleight of hand.
I have many confessions. I seek atonement, though in a clumsy way. I know that my words and deeds and writings have steered off course. I’ve been driving outside my own lane. I’m sorry for showing too much irreverence. I’m sorry I’ve acted cavalier. Insincere. Cold. That’s not the me I’m supposed to be, with “Cor Cordium,” my heart of hearts.
I will be mindful, living in the moment, and remember the theme for SaintsforSinners or SaintsforHope and stay away from misguided attempts to be clever, funny, brash. I know I have steered off course lately, seemingly forgetting that I’m supposed to be offering saints to sinners, for reflection and spreading hope through the lives and histories of the old age saints. It’s not always as easy as it sounds. I fail.
Saying “I was wrong “and saying “I’m sorry” are bold ways to reinvigorate oneself. That takes us all the way back to the practice of Confession. Another way to atone. The Catholic Jew, Edith Stein, who was also a Carmelite Nun could have written eloquently about atonement and confession. She followed the writings and examples of Saint Teresa of Avila, the saint we have always described as the patron saint of honest communication…. It’s all so very circuitous. And it always has been.
For my Jewish friends and my fellow Catholics, and everyone else, my wish is for Our Reconciliations on this Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Thanks for reading to the bottom line!
P.S. I'm happily sending out those free antique medal and vintage prayer cards. I love it. If you want me to send one to a friend or family member, you know what to do. Go for it! You know I love mail! :)