Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Grieving over sin  

We are all called to grieve over our sins. Our sins are acts of rebellion against God who is very good. If we recognize what it is that we are really doing when we sin, than repenting and grieving are much easier. For me that is the key that needs to be there--the recognition of what my sins are and what they have done.

The Catholic Church teaches that there are two parts to sin. There is the sin against God that separates us from Him. And there is the effects of sin that have an impact far beyond what we often consider. These effects compound over time unless something is done about them because the habit of the sin begins to impact who I am.

In confession, we have the opportunity to be absolved of our sins through the infinite mercy of God. Also, through confession, we can begin to work on the temporal effects due to our sins. We open ourselves up to have our wounds examined by Christ. We allow Him to pour grace into those areas that are so wounded we do not even feel the pain from them directly anymore. Instead, we experience some things indirectly because we have buried the scars so deep.

Today is the feast of St. John Fisher, a martyr for the faith. He once wrote, in From Expositions of the Seven Penitential Psalms:

Would God every one of us willingly remembered the trouble of his own soul, what the inward conscience suffers, so that we might all say with the prophet what follows, anxiatus est super me spiritus meus, I know indeed by the search made in my conscience how grievously I have trespassed against my Lord God, and with this my soul is deeply grieved.

This is the attitude that our Lord wants us to foster. We are called to grieve over our sins recognizing the evil we have done in order that we might allow our Lord to raise us to new life.

From my religious background prior to converting to Catholicism, I received a sense of easy forgiveness of sins. Sin was a big deal until you prayed a prayer that marked your conversion. After that, sin was not so important because the one-time event had taken care of my sins. The Catholic Church teaches that sin is really important. It exists and it must be dealt with constantly. In my struggle to fully integrate this truth into my life, I find that words from others such as St. John Fisher are very helpful. They point to the message of our Lord who took sin very seriously.

Even in today's Gospel, Jesus teaches that the way to follow Him has a narrow gate. It is not easy to get into the city of God. The crowds might be pouring through the wide entrance, but our Lord's call is to exert serious effort to make into His Kingdom. Grieving over my sin is one of those areas where I need to follow the Church's teaching ever so closely because it will lead to true conversion as St. John Fisher writes:

This remembrance doubtless is the beginning of the sinner's true conversion to almighty God. For the truth is, when he calls to mind (as we have declared) his miserable errors in which he has been wrapped by his continuance in them for a long time, and when he keeps that remembrance continually in mind, he cannot but greatly repent his own foolishness, particularly if he remembers whom he has forsaken and into whose clutches he has fallen, also if he calls to mind how great his loss is and how unprofitable his winning is.

Posted by David at 7:14 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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