Catholics catch a lot of flak about guilt. Supposedly, we’re much more susceptible to it…something about the nature of the faith. I don’t know that I buy that, anyway, but I’ve been thinking lately that guilt really gets bad rap, unfairly so.
Guilt, after all, is the sign of an active conscience. It’s generally the first alert that I’ve done something damaging to myself or to another person. It makes me uncomfortable until I do something to remedy the damage. It keeps me humble, keeps me honest, makes me a better person.
Of course, it’s possible to use guilt as a weapon. I’m sure we’ve all seen that in action—I certainly have. But I am grateful for the guilt that prevents me from assuming I’m always the right—that sends me in search of help, human and divine, in discerning the right course of action. I’m grateful for the check it provides…even when it makes me uncomfortable. Better to be uncomfortable in the short run, and become a purer reflection of what God intended me to be.