And they turned their eyes from Heaven: Susanna Part 1

Earlier I posted the story of Susanna from the book of Daniel, usually listed as Daniel 13.  This story is considered canonical by Catholic, Orthodox, and other Christians, but not by Protestants or Jews.  Nevertheless, it is a beautiful story about justice and purity.

I would like to post a few short reflections on some salient verses.  Today, verses 9-11:

And they perverted their minds and turned away their eyes from looking to Heaven or remembering righteous judgments. Both were overwhelmed with passion for her, but they did not tell each other of their distress, for they were ashamed to disclose their lustful desire to possess her. And they watched eagerly, day after day, to see her.

At the beginning of the story we see that the two judges, who were pillars of the community both in legal and religious settings, were gradually becoming infatuated with the daughter of a wealthy and powerful man.  Neither one acted immediately on his lust.

First, they neglected their prayers.  Rather than occupy their minds with prayer, they “perverted” (which means turned, changed, or distorted) their minds.  Once in confession, I mentioned that I committed X and Y sins, and then I stopped praying.  The priest asked me if I was sure it was in that order.  Of course, it wasn’t.  We are much more likely to act out when we stop communicating with God, our Higher Power, than the other way around.

Second, their work suffered.  The judges put their law work aside in favor of their lustful desires.  How many of us sex addicts have acted out at work?  How many hours of productivity have been lost?  How many of us were caught and perhaps even lost our jobs?  We lose sight of our relationship with God, then we lose sight of the important matters of the world.

Third, they turned inward. One of the greatest virtues of the twelve-step programs is accountability.  We share at the meetings.  We call on our sponsors.  We examine our consciences regularly.  Here the two judges became silent.  Their shame drove them inward to themselves.  They didn’t talk or admit their problems.  Instead, they spent the day fantasizing rather than judging, ogling rather than praying.  It drove them to obsession.

Next, as we shall see, the consequences are all-too-familiar.

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