are sinners. It is an ineradicable part of
our human nature as the patrimony of Original Sin — and all its deleterious
vestiges — passed on to us from our first Parents, Adam and Eve. In
a word, it has its “hooks” in us, specifically concupiscence
(our inherent inclination to sin), and try as we may, the barbs remain
deeply embedded. They cannot be removed. This inclination to
sin remains with us all our lives. That primal poison, Original Sin
itself, is cleansed from us through our Baptism, but the wound remains
... and remains open to the infection of sin. It must be kept sterile,
free from the pathogens that surround it, awaiting the first opportunity
to breach the barrier of grace and metastasize, to spread
the deadly infection into every area of our lives. This requires Actual
Grace — and Actual Grace depends upon our cooperation with God in avoiding
sin and the near occasion of sin, much as we would avoid a virulent
bacterium that we know, once exposed to, is perilous to us. God calls
us away from it — from sin — and we must cooperate with that divine
call to avoid what will seriously harm us, and may likely kill us. It
is quite that serious.
are fallen in our nature, and lifelong heirs to that dangerous patrimony
from Adam and Eve. We fall. Despite the clear admonition by God and
even the canons of reason, we sin.
who comes to his senses and realizes that the beautiful Belladonna was
deadly — and turned out to be “Deadly Nightshade” — we seek the remedy.
We are not slow in doing so, but act at once, in fact, instantly
when the realization is upon us that our very lives are now in very
case of mortal sin, no worldly doctor or hospital will avail us anything.
There is one and only one antidote and its stages unfold progressively.
Let us look at them:
we cast away the deadly nightshade and flee from the copse! We run from
it as if our lives depended on it — and they do. We flee from the
occasion that introduced us to it and with all our hearts we are
determined to return to it no more. We place distance between ourselves
and the peril.
we seek the remedy, imploring the Actual Grace that will bring us to
forgiveness by God. The longer we wait, the more the poison of sin courses
through us and the deadlier its consequences, the uglier its blight.
We do not have the time or the leisure examine it in retrospect or to
dispute its causes. It is imperative that we act at once!
to our knees (literally, not figuratively) and at once
implore God’s forgiveness — never presuming it! To comfortably
presume the forgiveness of God is itself a sin — the sin
of presumption; in other words, the presumption that God
must and will forgive us no matter what. If we approach
God with the mistaken notion that He is obligated to forgive
us because He is God, we are quite wrong: God is not our
debtor: we are His! We cannot approach God to seek what we mistakenly
believe is ours — in this case forgiveness — by right!
This is nothing short of compounding sin with insolence!
in the greatest anguish possible ... our sincere sorrow for what
we have done and to Whom we have done it! We do not plead excuses!
That is another poison altogether. We do not lay the blame on others,
or appeal to “mitigating” circumstances: we completely and justly assume
it ourselves: totally and in absolute humility. It is
our fault — no matter the circumstances and no matter
our weakness or susceptibility to the sin. God knows far better than
we do, and any “attenuating circumstances” (if any) He is well aware
of — far more than you are.
in the Name of Jesus Christ and through Jesus Christ and
plead for the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy. Call upon
the Saints to plead your cause! Invoke the Holy Company of Martyrs
to pray with you and for you and to assist you
in your prayer, that it be absolutely sincere and acceptable to God,
the Father of Mercies.
make the “firm resolution” — the genuine and heartfelt resolution to
sin no more — especially in the sin for which you now express your sorrow.
If you are “ashamed” that is quite beside the point. That is selfish
self-love: you have disappointed yourself ... and this is far
removed from recognizing that you have sinned against God Himself! You
feel yourself a fool. That, too, is beside the point, even though you
have behaved like a fool and deserve the derision due a fool.
may ask, do you know that your resolution to sin no more this way is
real? A pretty good test is to be found in the answer to this question:
If you could go back in time and encounter that temptation to sin exactly
as you had when you fell into it, would you really “not
do it again”? Only you can answer that, and the likelihood of your forgiveness
by God very much depends upon it. It is a fairly good test of
First and foremost
Your first act is
to immediately recognize and acknowledge that you
have sinned against God ... the instant that the sin
is committed or enacted.
Go to your knees before your God, confess your sin
and express your sincerest sorrow.
You MUST go to Confession! God’s priest is
the only person on earth able to absolve you of your sin through
the Sacrament of Penance.
It is true that perfect sorrow is conducive
to God's forgiveness. He is a loving Father. But Christ gave His
priests the sacramental ability to forgive sins in Him and through
Him and His Church. If it was given, it must be used.
Rise up! And sin no more!
Avoid sin as the most horrible, despicable, and mortal
enemy that it is. There is no greater atrocity in this world than sin.
None. It is the province and allurement of the evil one.
Look upon a Crucifix and contemplate the price for your sin: see
how it marred Him Who is the “Innocent of the Father”. It literally
cost Christ His life!
If you fall again, get up again. The last sin is
despair: it is the last sin for it is the second death. However
often you sin, it is never the excuse for sinning again, but
do not despair: neither is the mercy of Almighty God to be outdone by
our proclivity to sin! Indeed, “The mercy of the
LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on them that fear him.”
Remember, man, that God is merciful
... and that God is also just. For this reason
Saint Paul tells us that we work out our salvation in fear and trembling.
Do not presume upon God’s mercy. “I will have
mercy on whom I will have mercy.”
(Exodus 33.19 and Romans 9.15)
Christ is the propitiation for our sins. Love Him. Adore
Him. Serve Him. And cleave to Him Who alone is the Way, the Truth, and
the Life. He died for your sins. At the very least you
must own up to them.
Away now to Confession …!
Boston Catholic Journal
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