The Deadly Predicament of Sin
So Easy to Enter — so Difficult to
image above is perhaps not simply the most graphic, but probably the
most apposite depiction of the predicament of sin.
It is chilling.
Examine it carefully: the smooth involuted
teeth, tapered to infinitely fine and absolutely unyielding points.
Bending in along polished surfaces, the teeth allow their unwary prey
to enter without effort.
But once in, escape — if at all possible — is unimaginably painful:
rending flesh, piercing, scoring, tearing, the teeth leave none unscathed
who are caught within. They scar, maim, and deform for life. Even if
escape is quick it is only at great cost and immense suffering. Yes,
that image of a Python’s skull is the most appropriate image for
danger of sin … that crouches at the door and voraciously awaits us.
cannot toy with this demon!
We cannot deceive ourselves
that we are more clever, stronger, and
capable of eluding it. It is far stronger than we are.
Like all serpents, its jaws can only
be held shut — for clamped down upon, it does not have the strength
to open — but once open, it seizes upon us with a ferocity and force
that betrays the innocuous flicker of the slender forked tongue that
intrigues us as it encroaches upon us. We cannot allow it to. We
must not allow it to!
Our greatest safety lies in distance — and vigilance. Not simply the
sin itself, but as Holy Mother Church teaches, from “The near occasion
Perhaps that is why Satan is depicted
as a Serpent in the Garden of Eden:
Sin is first and foremost a liar. Given
that Satan is “the father
of lies and a murderer from the beginning”
it is not surprising that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were first
seduced into sin by the lies of the serpent, by the alluring
deception that they could be like God.
Sin is always
Were it not — and could we clearly see
the destructive, fatal, even eternal consequences of sin — we would
panic, and instantly flee it! It is deadly.
Time and again we are warned that
“the wages of sin is death”
2 But let us be candid: the reality is that we like to
toy with sin — to “sin … just a little”.
However, since its consequence is death,
the obvious question is inescapable: can we be “dead … just a little”?
Likewise, you are
either alive to God (in a state of grace) — or you are not.
There is no middle ground.
Moral of the story? Next time you are mesmerized by something as remotely
sinuous and intriguing as a snake — it probably is a snake. And
if it appears to be a sin, and your conscience screams at you that it
is a sin — THEN IT UNQUESTIONABLY IS A SIN.
If you think that you can contend with the devil himself — giving him
just your little finger, believing that he will not rip off your
entire arm — and your immortal soul — then you are a fool.
1 Saint John 8.44
2 Romans 6.23
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
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