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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sin: Call It Whatever You Like, It Is Still About Evil

Mosaic in the northern tympanon depicting Sain...Image via WikipediaThis is sin, right? That is immorality. We know right from wrong. We have to justify abortion to make it right. We have to justify all sin to make it right. But we do it…because sin is easy…it is comfortable…it is, many times, fun. 

Night Time Scares: Working at the Abortion Clinic After Dark, Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson was once a promoter of women's rights for abortion and worked in an abortion clinic. Then she had a conversion of heart and now she assists in and is a promoter for pro-life. However, this is not so much about her life and her change of heart and attitude on abortion and related issues. It is about what she had mentioned above about sin.

It is about this manner we justify a wrong to make it a right because it is easy, comfortable and, well, fun.

Hence, our dilemma, sometimes, as to why we can have habitual sins that doesn't seem to be able to get rid of. We are not too convinced that they are really wrong. These days we are, also, very clever in finding a lot of ways and reasons to justify "... all sins to make them right." It doesn't help that many prominent Catholics who are in positions of power use this power to further their own agenda to serve their needs and preferences rather than fulfilling their prophetic role to speak out against the dubious values and structural sins that are prevalent in the world, which affects the dignity of the human persons.

Sin, a word that seems to have become antiquated, harmless and a footnote in history. Now, everything is being measured by how good we feel and the pleasure derived from any circumstances.

That is why one of the Office of Readings entry (Tuesday, 21st Week of Ordinary Times) from St John Chrysostom homily concerning The Five Paths of Repentance would form an insightful reminder for all of us who profess our believe in God, that sin is anything but harmless. There are 5 paths listed out altogether and "... all of them lead to heaven".

The first path is that of the condemnation of sins. This is saying things as it is and for what it is. No fudging or justifying, "... condemned the sins you have committed... Stir up your own conscience to be your accuser - so that when you come before the judgement seat of the Lord, no one will rise up to accuse you."

The next is no inferior to the first: "It is to forget the harm done to us by our enemies, to master our anger, to forgive the sins of those who are slaves together with us... As the Lord says, Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive yours." I can't disagree with that.

The third is prayer - "... fervent prayer, sincere and focused prayer, prayer coming from the heart." Much of what we usually bring into our prayers, assuming we ever pray at all, can be rather superficial and sometimes border on being self-centered, self-serving with not much thoughts for the reality of sins in our lives. Thus the need and importance to pray in standing firmly by God and not give in easily to the influences of the Evil One.

The fourth is almsgiving. According to St John Chrysostom, it "... has great power". In Greek, which the New Testament is written, when this word, power, is used, especially to refer to that of Christ, it is 'dunamis'. It is also from this Greek word that comes the English 'dynamite'. So, in almsgiving, the eficacious effect is liken to being mind-blowing and life changing, provided this is done in the right spirit, i.e in tandem with prayer.

The last one, "... if someone acts with modesty and humility, that path is no less effective as a way to deprive sin of its substance." That is what we want, don't we? To loosen and eventualy get rid the hold and bondage of sins on our lives that we can once again walk in confidence with the Lord as his children.

Now, I am very sure, after all this said and done, we can still turn all this around and justify our continued wallowing in sin by pointing out that it is difficult and no ordinary human can do it and it will be back to the same old again, so no need to bother with all this frivolity.


But this was from the homily of St John Chrysostom, whose main title was, On Resisting the Temptations of the Devil. By giving a lazy, cop-out excuse like above, one is already submitting oneself slowly to the wiles and deceit of the Evil One. I strongly recommend that we allow the following instead to take place, as St John Chrysostom says it, "Let us apply these remedies. Let us regain true health and confidently receive the blessings of Holy Communion. Thus we may come, filled with glory, to the glory of Christ's kingdom, and receive its eternal joys through the grace, mercy and kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ."

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