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.
But we 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.
As one 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 real danger.
In the 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:
First 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.
Immediately 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!
We fall 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!
We express 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.
Ask forgiveness 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.
And then 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.
How, you 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 sincerity.
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
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.” (Ps. 103.17)
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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