21st JUNE 2024

Why Shame and Guilt Are Functional For Mental Health



Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga


2 Kgs 11:1-4,9-18,20             Ps 132:11-14,17-18                Mt 6:19-23


In the Gospel passage today, the disciples were debating amongst themselves, as to who among them was the best. When asked about their discussion, the Apostles “stayed silent” because they were overcome with remorse right away. They were embarrassed to acknowledge that they were engaged in a ridiculous quarrel about who was the best of them. They realized the absurdity of their conversation.

Jesus continues on with a lovely discourse about authentic humility. Let us examine the lesson that the Apostles experience of guilt teaches us, nevertheless. Is guilt a negative trait? Is guilt a bad thing? Regretfully, it appears that most types of shame are gradually fading in our society today, and many individuals are growing more persistent in their disobedience of Gods rule because they feel “guilt free.” However, the truth is that guilt is frequently advantageous! Its beneficial when our sense of guilt stems from a clear recognition of your moral failings. In this instance, guilt is a sign that our conscience is at work. Of course, there are those who are extremely pious and experience extreme guilt when they ought to have less shame. Alternatively, individuals experience shame not because of a transgression they have done, but rather because of a conflicted conscience. This is not healthy and must be remedied. However, in our day and age, a lack of healthy guilt is often the more common problem.

After Jesus gently reproved the Apostles, He then taught them the meaning of true greatness. Reflect, today, upon how well your conscience works. Is it, at times, overly scrupulous? Is it unscrupulous, tending to the opposite extreme of failing to see sin for what it is? Or are you blessed with a balanced, good and healthy conscience that does experience appropriate guilt as needed so as to guide you when you go astray?

Response: The Lord has chosen Sion; he has desired it for his dwelling.

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